The Office of Personnel Management (OPM), in a just-issued human capital review (HCR) report covering 2019, emphasized hiring and retention obstacles for employees in STEM fields, and how to strategically develop the workforce and close the skills gap.

OPM asked Federal agencies to provide their human capital management concerns, and said that “a number of significant trends surfaced” including:

  • “Administering compensation and benefits that lack flexibility;
  • Identifying and closing skills gaps;
  • Providing continuous learning and employee development;
  • Recruiting and retaining employees;
  • Adopting shared services and advanced systems;
  • Implementing effective performance management systems;
  • Adopting robotic process automation (RPA) and AI;
  • Advancing human capital data analytics; and
  • Achieving a strategic human capital management evaluation system.”

“Most agencies agree there is a need for pay systems that permit agencies to react more quickly to changes in labor markets for hot jobs, i.e., positions for which the demand is great, but that are difficult to fill because of the competition from private industry,” OPM said.

OPM said that while many challenges and skills gaps persist, signs of progress in human capital management are emerging, and OPM is helping agencies deploy new strategies based on mitigating skills gaps.

OPM said seven agencies noted successful use of RPA, while all expressed excitement about its potential to handle transactional work that will free human resource professionals and other to focus their expertise elsewhere. While RPA and AI adoption remain a challenge, OPM said that agency leadership has taken a “slow and steady approach that includes gradual incorporation” makes the most practical sense.

“Outdated Federal pay systems and closure of skills gaps in occupations related to IT and cybersecurity present significant challenges to many agencies as they move forward,” OPM said. “Agencies are enthusiastic about the growing potential for enhanced efficiencies in using RPA and AI in diverse operations, including HR.”

Read More About
More Topics
Jordan Smith
Jordan Smith
Jordan Smith is a MeriTalk Senior Technology Reporter covering the intersection of government and technology.