Federal Employees Fleeing for the Door as Cuts to Pay, Benefits Take their Toll


Two-hundred and nineteen thousand, two hundred and twenty. That is the number of federal employees who left the federal government last year – more than 10% of the total workforce – according to Government Executive.

This paints a stark picture of the state of the federal government and the morale of the dedicated women and men who make it work. After three years of frozen pay, $15 billion in cuts to retirement benefits, hiring freezes, layoffs, mass-furloughs, and increased workloads, it appears many feds have decided to call it quits.

“Federal employees have been targeted relentlessly for years, and every day more and more are simply saying enough,” said NFFE National President William R. Dougan. “Unfairly targeting publicly servants is not just morally reprehensible, it is bad policy. The government has countless essential missions to fulfill, but every policy they pursue is driving them out the door.”

Of those who left, nearly 70,000 were retirees. Similar trends are taking root this year, as a larger-than-expected number of workers – 59,000 in just the past 7 months – have opted to retire. Many others are simply leaving the federal sector altogether to seek work opportunities elsewhere. This exodus of talent poses a serious threat to a government desperately in need of in-demand skills and experience.

Despite the hemorrhaging of federal jobs in recent years, certain members of Congress continue to advocate for even greater job cuts. In the House-passed FY2014, the plan calls for eliminating 200,000 federal jobs through attrition over the next several years. Were this or one of many other similar proposals to become law, the federal brain-drain would accelerate into overdrive.

“The federal government employs one of the most skilled and diverse workforces in the world,” said Dougan. “We can’t continue to pursue policies that undermine their livelihoods. The surest path to a second-rate federal workforce is to keep doing exactly what we’re doing today.”