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II. FINDINGS Among the questions underlying this study were the following: What kind of information is needed to know whether the federal government is able to recruit and retain S&E personnel? Is there an analytical capability within the federal government to predict changes in the composition of its S&E work force and to ascertain whether it effectively recruits, retains, and utilizes scientists and engineers? Where are policy options developed? Who should make policy decisions and recommendations? Basic to understanding the ability of the federal government to recruit, retain, and utilize scientists and engineers effectively is knowledge of the federal personnel system in general. OPM, established as the successor to the U.S. Civil Service Commission with the passage of the Civil Service Reform Act of 197S, is the central personnel management agency within the federal government. As such, OPM has a broad mandate: to exercise leadership in Federal personnel administration . . . to concentrate its efforts on planning and administering an effective Governmentwide program of personnel management . . . to see that agencies are performing properly under civil service laws, regulations, and delegated authorities. . . . OPM will have the opportunity for innovative planning for the future needs of the Federal work force, executive and employee development, and pilot projects to test the efficacy of various administration practices.2 According to OPM director Constance Berry Newman, The Office of Personnel Management has been charged with devising an overall human resource system for the federal government that specifically addresses our recruitment and retention problems. Scientists and engineers represent one of the most difficult job categories for which to recruit, sometimes allowing essential government functions to suffer from staff shortages and a lack of clear management.3 2 "Legislative History of the Civil Service Reform Act of 1978," House Committee on Post Office and Civil Service, Committee Print No. 96-2, 96th Congress, 1st session (1979), p. 1470. 3 Letter to Frank Press, chairman of the National Research Council, December 3, 1989. 7

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However, OPM may, and has, delegated authorities to individual federal agencies to enhance S&E recruitment, retention, and utilization. Based on the activities that it undertook in the conduct of this study, the Committee focuses this report on the role of OPM and other federal agencies by examining three broad areas: the availability and relevance of data, management practices, and presidential appointments. In this section, findings within each of these categories are presented, along with elaborative information. Availability and Relevance of Data on the Federal Science and Engineering Work Force The Central Personnel Data File (CPDF) maintained by OPM from data supplied by individual federal agencies presents a general picture of the federal work force, including scientists and engineers, based on broad occupational cIassiffcations. A primary purpose of the CPDF is to provide federal employment information for government-w~de policy development and oversight. However, it is not now a management too! helpful to individual federal agencies. One question of concern to the Carnegie Commission on Science, Technology, and Government was whether any agency of the federal government maintains data on federal scientists and engineers that would indicate the degree to which their retention and utilization is effective. The Committee learned that data on each federal employee, not just scientists and engineers, are compiled in OPM's Central Personnel Data File (CPDF), which consists of descriptive and dynamic data (see Appenfdrx A, Table 2, for a listing of some information that can be obtained from the CPDF for all federal employees; see also Falk, Appendix B). The CPDF is used to analyze S&E employment in the federal government and to note trends in the areas of recruitment, retention, and utilization. Aggregated data are compiled quarterly but only published biennially in Occupation of Federal White and Blue Collar Workers; special tabulations can be obtained from the CPDF to make comparisons between agencies and between S&E fields (see Appendix A, Tables AS, for a sample of information obtainable from the CPDF). There is some confusion about the information contained in the CPDF as well as about the intended purposes of that data base: . Not all federal managers and data users understand the distinction made by OPM, and reflected in the CPDF, between qualification standards and occupational standards.4 Some agencies report that some of these standards are outdated and incorrect. However, a partially revised Quaiipcation Standard for 4 OPM has responsibility for the overall management of the federal government's classification and qualification systems, but "actual operation of these systems is carried out by individual federal agencies on a decentralized basis" (U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board, 1989d). 8

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. Two-Grade Interval Professional Positions was issued by OPM to all federal directors of personnel in March 1989, and OPM has completely revised the qualification standards for four broad occupational groups (professional, administrative, clerical, and technical) in order to have a generic approach that facilitates automation and accelerates the hiring process.5 Nonetheless, many federal scientists and engineers and their supervisors seem unaware of these recent revisions, perhaps because of the difficulties in communication between scientists and engineers and federal personnel specialists. Similarly, many federal managers of scientists and engineers believing that OPM equates the field of one's academic degree with his or her occupational classification-felt that misclassification occurred frequently. For instance, it was pointed out that most employees in the Water Resources Division of the U.S. Geological Survey are considered to be hydrologists, even though their degrees may be in different fields such as geochemistry. Although one usually works in the scientific or engineering field in which one has obtained a degree, that is not always the case. Thus, while OPM publishes CPDF data showing occupational classification, the CPDF could also provide tabulations by degree field (see Appendix A, Table 2~. CPDF data can indicate more stability and less diversity than that which a division within an agency may be experiencing. For instance, BLS, the principal scientific unit in the Department of Labor (DOL), employs both statisticians and mathematical statisticians, each having different kinds of training; but because data on them is combined with data on employees in other parts of DOL, the picture drawn from OPM data might reflect what is happening in DOL overall but totally miss what is happening in BLS. Aggregated data are sometimes used by policy-makers to indicate few problems of recruitment, retention, and utilization of federal scientists and engineers in general when, in fact, there may be significant problems for specific S&E disciplines, geographic areas, or programs. Thus, scientists and engineers with whom the Committee communicated believe there is a very significant need to disaggregate data on the federal S&E work force as much and as frequently as possible including by geographic area and by individual programs within an agency. Although the aggregate data on retention of scientists and engineers are not very alarming-showing that, on average, less than 5 percent leave federal government employment, with about half as resignations and about half as retirements-each agency manager must be concerned within the context of his or her own operation, for turnover varies at the agency level. This fact seems to have stimulated some agencies-for example, the Naval Research Lab (NRL), the Department of Defense (DoD), and the Public Health Service (PHS)-to conduct their own research and to define problems of employee turnover, based on their needs-which are so agency-specific, especially in 5 Leonard R. Klein, associate director of OPM's Career Entry and Employee Development Group, conversation with Linda S. Dix, June 26, 1990. 9

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critical areas, that aggregated data would be of little use to a single agency. Unable to make projections based solely on the data that it sends to OPM, NRL keeps more detailed, exhaustive information, enabling the agency to compare its 1,800 scientists and engineers with those in other agencies. DoD's central data base covers every civilian and military employee of the department and enables one to distinguish between "separations with quit" (which have low rates) and "overall turbulence"--for example, moves within DoD or to another federal agency or changes in occupational titles--whose very high rates reflect the numbers of people changing jobs year to year. The PHS Historical Workforce Data File-containing information on its 7,600 civil service employees in the scientific, medical, and engineering disciplines-enables PHS to analyze the effectiveness of its recruitment and retention efforts. 2. Managers of the federal science and engineering (S&E) work force have been unable to agree on what constitutes accurate measures of the quality of that work force. Some CPDF data can be used as proxies to input measures of quality such as the highest academic degree conferred on an employee. In addition, OPM has recently undertaken a study of work force quality, surveying a sample of non-DoD scientists and engineers. Although improving the quality of the federal science and engineering work force may be the most important issue for improving the way the federal government deals with science and technology, managers of the federal S&E work force have been unable to agree on what constitutes accurate measures of its quality. Because of the nonquantifiable nature of characteristics, it was suggested that quality assessments might be accomplished through peer review or external visiting committees. It is possible, too, to look at proxies for quality of input for example, academic grade-point averages (GPAs) and publications to determine whether the quality of the work force differs from that of the past, an issue of concern to many managers of federal scientists and . c ~ . . . ~ . ~ . ~ ~ . engineers.- lhls issue was examined at some length during a Conference on Workforce 6 At the Committee-sponsored workshop, participants were told that NASA field center personnel officers believe they are not having greater difficulties in hiring engineers of the quality they have had in years past. According to Ray Kline, president of the National Academy of Public Administration, "Average entry-level engineers, for instance, have GPAs around 3.2, just as they did at the height of the Apollo program. NASA has seldom attracted people with GPAs in the 3.6-4.0 range, although some people use numbers like that to show declining quality." However, staff in other agencies have indicated that this revelation contradicts their own experiences. For instance, managers in federal statistical agencies decry their "inability to attract bright young technical and professional staff into our agencies, those individuals who will make a career of federal service and who hall provide the basis for scientific and technical leadership and management in the future. Compared With a decade ago, we are no longer able to compete for high-quality talent being produced by the nation's universities.... The federal government is no longer in meaningful competition for the best and brightest. The economic basis for that is clear; it is what we hear from our applicants; and it is what we hear from faculty in the university pools of excellence from which we were able to hire in the past but cannot now" (Harry M. Rosenberg, National Center for Health Statistics, correspondence to Alan K. Campbell, March 12, 1990~. The Committee notes that the difference in outlooks may be resolvable by disaggregation by degree level, an analysis that could be based on selected CPDF data. 10

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Quality Assessment cosponsored by OPM and the U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB) on May 8, 1989, by focusing on three questions: . How can we best determine the quality of the federal work force? What measures of quality or methods of study are available? What problems can we expect in attempting to explore this issue? (MSPB and OPM, 1989) As a result, a joint OPM-MSPB Advisory Committee on Federal Workforce Quality Assessment, created in early 1990, will review projects designed to assess the quality of the federal work force, assist in data interpretation and analysis, and offer advice on "strategies in response to workforce quality assessment research" (OPM, 1990). In addition, according to Sandra Payne, chief of the Poligy and Analysis Division within OPM's Career Entry and Employee Development Group, "This situation has led OPM to track and to begin to build al data base that will provide answers to questions about retention and quality. Such data are expected to assist management and policy- makers in their decisions about interventions with pay or new programs enhancing performance management."7 In fact, in early 1990 OPM began a survey of a sample of 14,500 scientists and engineers (see AppendLx A, pages 70-76) in all federal agencies except DoD, which had begun a study of the quality of its own scientists and engineers in 1988.8 The OPM survey focuses on variables used in earlier quality assessments- GPA, highest academic degree earned, major field of study, institution from which one graduated, years of professional experience' and professional achievements (awards, publications, and patents)-as well as one's most recent performance appraisal rating and individual skills and attributes (technical knowledge in specialty field, ability to apply technical skill, cross-disciplinary skills, understanding of nontechnical factors, group interaction skills, management skills, oral communication skills, initiative, creativity and ingenuity, commitment to organizational goals and objectives, and service orientation). Management Practices Relating to the Career Work Force Perceptions about the factors affecting the federal government's ability to recruit and retain scientists and engineers have remained basically the same for the past 30 years, in spite of specific efforts by OPM and individual federal agencies to enhance such recruitment and retention. Many perceive that federal recruitment, retention, and utilization of scientists and 7 Comments to the Committee on Scientists and Engineers in the Federal Government, November 20, 1989. 8 Analyses of the data from the Study of Scientists and Engineers in the DoD Laboratories, conducted primarily by the Analytic Sciences Corporation and the Allen Corporation of America under contract to the Institute for Defense Analyses, have not yet been released. 11

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engineers are frequently ineffective because of "considerable bureaucracy and limited freedom." Among the factors cited are the inability "to establish overlapping pay bands, to pay above the cap, to pay recruitment and retention bonuses, and to implement accelerated hiring or promotion procedures."9 In addition, outside recruitment above the GS-ll level is constrained by the . . . lack of local direct-hire authority and the need for higher authority review and approval of advanced in-hire rates for individual candidates.' Furthermore, some believe that "the Civil Service with a few exceptions is not flexible on negotiation of salary options and recruitment incentives."', Still another lab director pointed out that the excessive degree of control imposed on the laboratory by external sources impairs the laboratory's management of its financial, personnel, and physical resources, which then threatens to diminish the vitality of the technical program. The effects of this excessive control can often be delays in facility and equipment procurement that, in turn delay R&D projects, some of which are critical to urgent national security requirements; excessive personnel processing time that exacerbates the laboratory's difficulties in recruiting high-quality scientists and engineers; and inflexible financial management mechanisms. These bureaucratic constraints can threaten work quality and employee morale to the point where a high-quality researcher decides that the bureaucracy of a company or a university may look more inviting.42 Reinforcing that procedural delays also hinder recruitment, another federal manager added, It is unrealistic to expect a highly qualified scientist or engineer at the GS/GM-14/15 equivalent level to wait 4 or 5 months after a job interview takes place before a firm job offer is made. There have been several instances in the past few years where we have made a selection . . . only to have the person turn the job down at the time when we were able to officially offer the position. . . . It is estimated that we lose 50-60 percent 9 William F. Raub, acting director, National Institutes of Health, to Alan Fechter, November 17, 1989. Actions available to federal agencies to counteract these negative factors are described later in this section. 4 Marvin D. Brailsford, former commander, U.S. Army Armament, Munitions and Chemical Command, to Alan Fechter, November 20, 1989. ~ ~ Edward Myers, program director in the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Environmental Research Laboratories, Boulder, Colo., to Alan Fechter, November 9, 1989. 1989. 42 Timothy Coffey, director of research, Naval Research Laboratory, to Alan Fechter, November 14, 12

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of all outside-hire S&E candidates to whom we make offers, while awaiting final processing of [their applications].'3 Still other factors include personnel ceilings, noncompetitive salary, inadequate fringe benefits, ethics laws, the working environment and its geographic location, and the public image of federal service (see Dix7 AppendLx B. and workshop proceedings, Appendrx C). OPM Initiatives The Civil Service Reform Act of 1978 gave OPM primal responsibility for managing the federal government's S&E work force including the effectiveness of both the relevant data systems and the administrative systems, which deal with the recruitment, utilization, and promotions of federal scientists and engineers. OPM's Central Personnel Data File can indicate the extent of turnover by government scientists and engineers as evidenced by the number of these employees who have retired or resigned and the number of new hires (see, for instance, MSPB, l989e, and Tables 6-8 in Appendix A). OPM has taken specific action to counteract what are deemed unsatisfactory vacancy and turnover rates among scientists and engineers, although remarks by some federal managers indicate that knowledge of these interventions does not flow regularly from agency personnel offices to line managers. Delegation of Examining and Hiring Procedures: According to MSPB (1989b), OPM is delegating exanii~iing and hiring authorities to agencies at an accelerated rate and for a wider range of positions than previously. 534 delegated examinations are in effect. On February 2, 1990, OPM offered to delegate examining for GS-9 through GS-15 positions to agencies so they could control timeliness. However, OPM reports that few agencies have requested this authority. In addition to authorizing agencies to develop examinations for specific positions, OPM has granted them direct-hire authority'4 (see Appendix A, Table 9). More widely implemented by OPM since July 1989, these changes "appear to offer increased opportunities to hire entry-level candidates . . . and may afford [agencies] a more competitive position in the college recruitment arena."' As a result of decentralization, 43 Brailsford, op. cit. 44 According to OPM (1990), "direct hire is based on the assumption that the limited supply of applicants and high demand for them assures that all qualified applicants will receive equivalent consideration with or without normal procedures. As an added refinement, direct hire is authorized only for applicants with numerical ratings above a predetermined score (PDS) when there are adequate numbers of basically qualified candidates but few well qualified ones." 45 Dallas L. Peck, director of the U.S. Geological Survey, to Alan Fechter, November 27, 1989. 13

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70 percent of all new federal employees are hired through delegation, as opposed to the 14 percent under a more centralized system in 1981. According to Palguta (see Appendixes B and C), 95 percent of scientists and engineers are employed through direct-hire authori~that is, the agencies find potential employees and hire them in order not to find themselves in the situation whereby desired individuals have taken employment elsewhere. Special Salary Rates: Since 1955, OPM has set higher rates than available under the General Schedule of Salaries "when the government is significantly handicapped in recruiting or retaining qualified individuals." The first step of a special rate range is ^^ ~ ~ ~ ~ Schedule. These special rates can be granted based on occupation, grade, and geographic location (see Appendrx A, Table 10~. OPM has established special rates,7 for most engineers in response to agency requests to make salaries competitive with those of the private sector. For most engineers, special rates are authorized worldwide; petroleum and mining engineers have nationwide special rates. However, some managers of federal scientists and engineers believe that even "the special salary rates for engineers and scientists are not competitive with the private sector, particularly on the East Coast and in large metropolitan areas,"'8 citing pay differences of 20 percent at the entry level and 10-15 percent for midcareer scientists and engineers. The disparity is even greater at the senior level: limited to ;3u percent more than the first step or the General . ~. . Agencies have some hiring flexibility at the entry level based on GPA, one can be hired at GS-7 rather than GS-S. However, when a GS-7 in a special salary rate can only be offered $27,000 by the government but can earn $40.000 in orivate industry, problems arise. 9 ~. . ~. ~.~ . . ~ Federal Pay Reform Act of 1990 (FPRA): Though not directed solely at scientists and engineers, this proposal of the Bush administration, introduced on May I, is designed to retain some across-the-government discipline while still granting greater flexibility within the system. It has five objectives: . . . Restructuring the pay system to reflect diverse labor markets; Increasing flexibilities in the pay system to adapt to special situations and circumstances; Strengthening the link between the performance of an employee and his or her pay; 46 Barry Shapiro, deputy assistant director for pay programs in OPM's Personnel Systems and Oversight Group, conversation with Linda S. Dix, March 25, 1990. 47 Defined as "rates which exceed normal General Schedule salaries for other employees at the same grades" (GAO, 1987~. ,8 Brailsford, op. Cit. 49 N. L. Howton, at the Workshop. 14

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Instituting a credible, effective, and enduring pay adjustment process; and Providing immediate relief for critical pay problems.20 The FPRA proposes to replace the General Schedule of Salaries with two white-colIar pay systems: (1) the Federal National Pay System (NS), with nationwide rates and the opportunity for added geographic differentials of up to 25 percent in exceptionally high labor cost areas with area-wide staffing problems, and (2) the Federal Locality Pay System (LS), with local rates.2, Key provisions of the pay reform proposal may enhance the federal government's ability to recruit and retain scientists and engineers: Geographic differentials of up to ~ percent for employees in New York, San Francisco, and Los Angeles; Pay banding of GS-16-18 positions into one senior pay range: rates will range from 120 percent of the NS-20 (current GS-15) rate to the rate for Executive Schedule, Level V; there are no steps, and progression through the rate range is based on performance; Staffing differentials (of up to 60 percent of basic pay) and recruitment and relocation bonuses and retention allowances (of up to 25 percent of basic pay); Exemption of up to 400 critical positions (in the scientific, engineering, administrative, and technical fields) from the pay ceiling: salary will be limited to Executive Schedule ~ ($138,900 in January 1991) unless the President, on a case by-case basis, approves a higher salary; Permission for agencies to hire all grades above the minimum rate, not just GS 11 and higher positions, as by the current authority; Waiver of dual compensation provisions on a case-by-case basis; and Granting of performance-based cash awards of up to 10 percent of basic pay for ratings of Fully Successful or higher, as well as awards of up to 20 percent of basic pay In exceptional cases. Other Recruitment Initiatives: In addition, to determine other actions that the federal government could take to recruit more U.S. citizens to its employ, OPM recently completed a comprehensive study of recruitment practices of federal agencies at four- vear colleges and universities. Among the survey findings are: . 50 percent [of surveyed agencies] have no college recruiting brochure; 20 "Key Features of the Federal Pay Reform Act of 1990," draft circulated to federal agencies, April 3, 1990, p. 1. 24 However, the findings of a recent study of locality pay indicate that these differentials may be insufficient to entice individuals to work for the federal government rather than for universities or private industry (Wyatt, 1989). 22 Information from Barbara Fiss, OPM's assistant director for pay and performance, June 26, 1990. 15

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58 percent have no money budgeted for college recruiting; and 49 percent have no advertising budget. (National Commission on the Public Service, 1990) As a result, OPM has recently implemented three new initiatives: . Career America College Hotline: Because many students do not know how to find a federal job, in September 1989 OPM set up a college hotline. By calling 1-900- 990-9200 and answering a series of questions about one's specialties, degrees, and colleges attended, a person learns how to apply for a job and is sent the appropriate federal forms for applying. A prerecorded voice explains the process and the basics of the system. If an individual wants to find out about specific agencies, he or she may call a given number to talk to an actual recruiter. Automated Applicant Referral System: OPM has replaced the SF-171 with an automated form processed within 24 hours at its Macon, Gal, facility. The rest is left up to the individual agencies. For example, if an agency wants to recruit an engineer, it enters a specific code into this automated system; after specifying the series, grade, and specialty wanted, within minutes the agency will receive either a particular application or a referral of all the candidates who quality for that job. . Federal Career Fairs: In March 1990 OPM organized job fairs in Washington, D.C., Boston, Chicago, Denver, and San Francisco to alert the public to the kinds of jobs available in the federal government and to enable federal agencies to publicize the types of work that they perform. As a result of these two-day fairs, approximately 87,000 individuals applied for federal positions (Causey, 1990~. Agency Initiatives In addition to OPM initiatives, most federal agencies have recognized that they themselves play an important role in the recruitment and retention of scientists and engineers (see Appendix A, Table 11, and Clark, Appendix B). They have learned not only that line managers and senior executives must go out and recruit but also that established relationships with universities continue between recruiting trips. Agencies are attempting to reach more potential employees by increasing the number and types of college campuses visited, no longer concentrating their efforts at the major research universities but pursuing candidates at other institutions such as the historically black colleges and un~versities.23 Polled informally by the Cormnittee, college placement officers revealed that 2- 20 percent of their graduating seniors are interviewed by federal agency representatives, but most placement officers expressed sentiments similar to the following: 23 The Committee was told that this is done at high costs to the agencies in terms of training staff to be recruiters, time spent by recruiters away from their "regular" assignment, and providing displays as attractive as those used by industrial recruiters. 16

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- Our graduates favor private sector employment. They are able to obtain higher salaries there and are generally impressed by the business-like approach of private sector recruiters. The regulations and paperwork involved in federal employment are seen as impediments to an easy contact: The SF-171 form is awesome to an undergraduate and it would expedite matters if an initial contact could be made on the basis of the resume alone. It is difficult to know how to direct students to contact federal agencies. Finding the correct person to talk with and obtaining any encouragement is hard. Usually the first contact with the student is with a recording machine, at a line which is continually busy! For all of the above reasons, it is certainly recommended that hiring agencies make on-campus visits and informal presentations. These humanize federal government employment, and we are pleased to see more federal agencies on campus in recent years than ever before.24 Some agencies including the Central Intelligence Agency, NASA, U.S. Air Force, Department of Energy (DOE), U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, U.S. Navy, and Army Corps of Engineers have not only increased their on-campus recruiting but also involved practicing scientists and engineers to describe the work done by technical personnel in their agencies. The more comprehensive recruitment strategy undertaken by hiring agencies often includes "advertising in appropriate journals and newsletters; contacts at conferences; and referrals by advisory committee members and merit reviews" (National Science Foundation, 1988) as well as career days. Other agencies develop their recruitment initiatives around educational opportunities. For instance, Morgantown Energy Technology Center (METC) has concentrated its recent efforts in this area on a cooperative education program, as have the Environmental Research Laboratories (ERL) of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Using a significant part of its budget, ERL has financed six joint institutes with universities. ERL not only supports postdocs and graduate students, thereby furthering research in line with NOAA's mission, but also encourages science and engineering students to choose atmospheric and oceanographic careers through joint institute funding.25 Thus, NOAA is trying to encourage potential environmental scientists by putting more money into the universities, where the training is available and these cooperative institutes are in place. As ERL's deputy director, Robert I. MahIer, pointed out, This effort has resulted in our scientists updating their knowledge base, allowed university researchers to work on NOAA science problems, and expanded the educational opportunities for young scientists at the university level. We find these cooperative programs . . . to be extremely valuable for attracting scientific expertise not otherwise available to federal 24 Louise Wildeman, careers services coordinator in Colorado School of Mines' Office of Career Placement, to Linda S. Dix, February 1, 1990. 25 The number of Ph.D.s awarded by U.S. universities in environmental sciences has been steadily decreasing since 1981, from 54 to 29 in 1987 (see Coyle, S. L., and D. H. Thurgood, 1989~. 17

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laboratories, for training future scientists, and for evaluating people before hiring them into Civil Service. Similar merits of cooperative education programs were revealed in the Study of Scientists and Engineers in the DoD Laboratories (IDA, 1989a). In addition, the Statistics of Income Division of the Internal Revenue Service, which has experienced difficulties in recruiting economists and systems analysts. also highlighted the education opportunities available to government employees: , ~O One of the most attractive features that we indicate when recruiting is that we pay for out-service college courses related to employee's work. This is a very big incentive to attract people. Many of the graduates want to pursue further academic training; the organization benefits because the individual brings something new to the job and has a more well-rounded perspective. . . . We watt lose some of the people we were able to recruit in the last two years if a way is not found to pay for train~ng.27 However, it was pointed out to the Committee that cuts to agency budgets often eliminate such education opportunities. Still other agencies have restructured their job classification system to have less trouble hiring at the entry level. For instance, the National Institutes of Health (NTH) uses a special authority of the Public Health Service Act, its enabling legislation, to bring in young scientists primarily in the biomedical area without being restricted by the civil service classification system. A tenure-Wpe system similar to that of a university enables NTH to keep these individuals for up to seven years in a temporary appointment, and because salaries are negotiated and set administratively, supervisors fee! they have more power at the entry level. At the end of seven years, either these individuals receive tenure, usually as a GS-13, or they leave; about 10 percent achieve tenure. Finally, some federal agencies have been able to recruit high-caliber Ph.D.-leve! scientists and engineers in most disciplines because of concerted efforts to emphasize the "psychic income" they can provide. Among the psychic income measures stressed at NRL are "the worId-renown reputation of the Laboratory, challenging R&D work, the freedom and time to pursue good research, unique facilities and equipment, opportunities for advancement, opportunities for continuing education in an area with several excellent academic institutions, a chance to utilize the skills the individual possesses."28 As the salary disparity with the private sector widens, it can become more difficult to offset real income with psychic income, especially at entry levels. 4. To fulfill the missions of federal agencies, science and 26 Correspondence to Alan K. Campbell, March 9, 1990. 27 Fritz Scheuren, director of the IRS's Statistics of Income Division, to Linda S. Dix, March 7, 1990. 28 Timothy Coffey, op. cit. 18

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engineering can be completed under a variety of scenarios including the traditional setting within an agency, demonstration projects, federal laboratories, and managed-and-operated (M&O) facilities. Demonstration projects authorized by OPM and the contracting out of S&E work seem to have provided agencies with the flexibility deemed necessary to overcome some of the difficulties associated with recruitment, retention, and utilization of scientists and engineers. An issue of concern to the scientific community is how to bring the best scientists and engineers to the federal government. In some instances performing S&E work in- house may be the most efficient and effective solution, but in other cases the government may gain the maximum benefit by contracting out all or part of its S&E operations. The health of the federal science and engineering and the R&D establishment centers around the question "How will federal agencies maintain the intellectual, managerial, and technical strength needed for government to do what watt be required of it?" This has led to congressional examination of how government work is conducted, to questions of the role of government R&D, and to discussions of what should be done in-house versus what should be done by contractors. This section primarily summarizes findings from the Committee-sponsored workshop and the paper of Sheldon B. Clark (see Appendixes B and C). Selected Civil Service Laboratories As noted by Clark, some civil service laboratories,29 tending to view the federal personnel system as a monolithic adversary that has little appreciation for the special needs of the research enterprise, especially its researchers and managers . . . have devised methods of overcoming particular limitations imposed by the civil service system. Based primarily on examinations of the U.S. Army laboratory system, Clark offers the following insights about the success of federal laboratories in recruiting and retaining scientists and engineers: To compensate for noncompetitive salaries to new hires, one lab offers the following incentives: support for participation in professional meetings, liberal sabbatical policies, 29 Clark defines "civil service laboratories" as "those government labs that are staffed by employees of the U.S. government who are covered by federal personnel law as contained in Title 5 of the U.S. Code." 19

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opportunities for advancement, awards programs, office refurbishing, and a "Care" program "designed to treat scientists and engineers with professional and personal dignity" and including such elements as flextime, alternative work schedules. work-at-home arrangements. and educational assistance. . ~, ~ Elements of the work environment for example, relatively stable missions and funding; national prominence; quality, quantity, and diversity of research services, equipment, and personnel; ability to focus full time on research activities; rewarding research; and freedom from grant writing-can enhance recruitment and retention (Institute of Medicine [IOM], 1988~. . Overcoming personnel ceilings, limitations on the number of full-time-equ~valent personnel a lab may employ, is another method undertaken to achieve the fulfillment of a laboratory's mission. According to Clark, such ceilings pose a particular problem during periods of retrenchment, little growth, and/or low turnover, especially given the civil service restrictions on the lab's ability to remove the least productive personnel. Effective personnel management is hindered, since the ceilings tend to grow slower than budgets. Managers, who are best able to make decisions about how to allocate money and personnel to meet their programmatic commitments, are prevented from making the most productive decisions (IOM, 1988~. Clark found that some civil service labs have circumvented personnel ceilings "by significantly increasing their personnel pools through the use of university-based programs to bring adjunct personnel into the lab." The study committee learned that the DoD Laboratory Demonstration Program proposes a variety of legislative and regulatory changes to enhance the recruitment. retention, and utilization of scientists and engineers in DoD. Demonstration Projects Under Title V! of the Civil Service Reform Act, OPM was authorized to conduct or approve alternative personnel management systems, under which certain civil service restrictions, including the following, could be waived: Qualification requirements; Classification methods; Compensation methods and incentive pay; Methods of assigning, reassigning, promoting, or disciplining employees; 20

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. . . Hours of work per week; Methods of involving employees, unions, and employee organizations in personnel decisions; and Methods of reducing agency staff and grade levels. (MSPB, 1989b) Demonstration projects enable OPM to determine the effectiveness of innovative personnel practices and have been used to test flex~bilities to overcome some of the difficulties associated with recruitment, retention, and utilization of scientists and engineers. The earliest demonstration project was implemented by the Department of the Navy in 1980 at the Naval Weapons Center (NWC), China Lake, and the Naval Ocean Systems Center (NOSC), San Diego). Begun as a five-year experiment, it was extended for a second five years and now has been extended until September 1995 by congressional legislation. The authority to grant recruitment bonuses has not been used at NWC but has been used sparingly at NOSC. Both NWC and NOSC have benefited from the clirect-hire authority available to any federal agency hiring in shortage categories and the authority to adjust beginning salaries within the broad pay band in order to be competitive in the marketplace. Assignment of position classification is the responsibility of line managers. with audits by the personnel clenartment after the fact my. . ~ a. . . . . . ~ . . . the personnel ottlce IS supportive rather than adversarial, helping to provide better training of staff and better personnel advice to managers. In addition, NWC and NOSC employ a dual-career ladder, whereby top technical people are promoted based on their technical skills and can earn as much or more than the managers. NOSC staff attribute its low turnover rate among scientists and engineers, less than 4 percent, to its ability to offer more competitive salaries and to the quality of its work environment. OPM has reported that the Navy demonstration project has had several measurable benefits: An increase in quality of people who have been recruited as indicated by managerial perceptions and increases in GPAs; Easier recruitment because of the ability to offer starting salaries reasonably close to the industry average; Adopting pay progression more similar to that employed in the private sector (start higher and advance sIower); Pay for performance: high-quality people often are attracted by a system that will reward them differently from people performing less well; Satisfaction with the revised job classification system, which is as accurate as and certainly more expeditious than the old system; Improved attitudes of managers, who fee] significantly more empowered to run the personnel system throu0gh the various flexibilities built into it; and Increased job satisfaction.3 As a result, other demonstration projects have been authorized. For example the 30 Paul Thompson, at the Workshop. See also OPM (1986) and GAO (1988~. 21

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National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST) began its personnel management demonstration project in 1988 with the following major goals: Improve hiring and compete more effectively for high-quality researchers through direct hiring, selective use of higher entry salaries, and selective use of recruitment bonuses; Better motivate and retain staff through higher pay potential and selective use of retention bonuses; Strengthen the line manager's role in personnel management by delegating personnel authorities; and Increase the efficiency of NIST personnel systems through simplification and automation. One provision of its authorizing legislation is direct-hire authority for the whole agency, except for blue-collar workers. For occupations that have a shortage of highly qualified candidates, even a division chief can make a hire, offering what he or she thinks the market demands up to the 75th percentile of the top salary stated in the DOE salary surveys. In addition, NIST can offer $10,000 recruitment and retention bonuses and begin a new employee at any salary in the approved range. The NIST project's higher pay potential is part of a pay for performance system. Another important aspect of the demonstration project is having line managers do the classification and the qualification check, with personnel officers authorized to audit the programs. As a result, entry-level problems experienced by the National Bureau of Standards (predecessor to NIST) seem to have been resolved, as have those associated with recruiting. According to NIST staff and others such as University Research Corporation,34 the project is successful: Overall, we believe the demonstration project addresses previous problems in staffing and hiring and has the potential to make NIST a better place to work. Many managers . . . feel that decentralization and streamlining of the hiring procedures enable NIST to attract individuals who might have otherwise been lost under the old, cumbersome procedures. NIST is able by and large to retain a majority of those individuals whom we recruit [because oil career advancement opportunities. . . . Our weakest area in retention is among the m~-level, m-career staff, who feel the effect of the salary ceiling imposed on the Civil Serv~ce.32 This year OPM granted the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) permission to participate in a special personnel demonstration project. The project will be conducted by two USDA research agencies, the Agricultural Research Service (ARS) and the Forest Service. The USDA demonstration is not a pay demonstration; its focus is on recruitment and selection and its only pay intervention is the authority to pay 3, Public Law 99-574, which established the NIST demonstration project, requires that an outside contractor evaluate it each year. The results of the first-year evaluation are contained in U.S. Office of Personnel Management, 1989b. 32 Raymond G. Kammer, acting NIST director, to Alan Fechter, November 20, 1989. 22

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recruitment bonuses. However, according to H. L. Rothbart, director of the ARS North Atlantic Area, A major obstacle in the recruitment and retention of scientists and engineers is the federal GS salary structure. For B.S. degree holders in chemistry and engineering, beginning salaries at the GS-5-7 level are not competitive with private industry unless the applicant lacks practical research experience. When such an individual (e.g., from a smaller school with limited laboratory experience) is hired, within one year these individuals gain a sufficient amount of experience that they may then move to private industry with salary increases of $S,000 to $~0,000.33 ARS expects the demonstration project to be flexible and responsive to local needs in order to "facilitate the attainment of a quality work force reflective of socieW."34 While sharing some of the goals of earlier demonstration projects, this newly approved project also attempts to: Increase the reliability of the decision to grant career tenure; Decentralize the decision to authorize direct hire in shortage categories; Establish an alternative candidate assessment method which uses categorical grouping instead of numeric score; Provide monetary incentives for recruitment purposes; and Reimburse travel and transportation expenses beyond those currently authorized for travel to first post of ~U~.35 M&O Contractor Facilities Based on his examination of 4 of the 67 M&036 facilities owned by the DOE but operated by a variety of contractors private-sector firms, universities, and university consortia37-Clark notes that "each of the operating contracts is negotiated separately with DOE [and] personnel policies and procedures vary significantly from one installation to another." However, he points out many recruitment and retention initiatives that they share: 33 Correspondence to E. E. Finney, Jr., acting area director, Beltsville Area, ARS, January 26, 1990. 34 Federal Register 54~162~:35134, August 23, 1989. 35 Ibid. 36 Management-and-operating (M&O) contractor scenario, formerly known as GOCO (government- owned, contractor-operated) facilities. 37 Argonne National Laboratory managed by the University of Chicago; Sandia National Laboratories by the Sandia Corporation; Oak Ridge National Laboratory by Martin Marietta Corporation; and Oak Ridge Associated Universities by a consortium of 55 colleges and universities. 23

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Developing and maintaining university ties: Labs engage in "faculty and student research participation programs, consulting arrangements, lecture programs, participation in academic professional societies, and equipment-sharing programs [to] enhance the image of the lab and also its ability to recruit and retain highly qualified scientists and engineers." Multiple occupation-based pay schedules to reflect market rates: Clark notes that "most of the alternative personnel systems have objectives-based performance appraisals very similar in design to those required throughout the civil service, but they are generally used quite differently . . . tied to the performance appraisal systems." Before their implementation, all salary schedules and benefits programs have to be approved by DOE, however, and "individual approval is required for each salary in excess of $70,000 (but these salaries are not subject to the federal pay cap)." Performance bonuses. "A wide variety of retirement programs, ranging from those typical of large private firms to those available to employees of colleges and universities." Exemption from government-imposed personnel ceilings: "DOE contractors in particular can better adjust to changing or diminishing funding by shifting researchers from one program to another or, if necessary, laying people off. Unlike civil service labs, these decisions can be made entirely on the basis of skills, abilities, and performance." As Clark concludes, Personnel systems need to be customized to the organizations they serve. It is not reasonable to expect that a single model will fit all organizations or that a system, once developed, can remain static. The organizations themselves and the environments in which they exist are dynamic. Every organization needs a uniqueness in its personnel system, an opportunity to mold it to its own identity, and the freedom to change it when change is needed. 5. The extent to which scientists and engineers are utilized effectively varies from agency to agency. NOAA administers the seven ERL sites within the Department of Commerce. Responding to the Committee's query, ERL staff explained that steps are taken to utilize its work force efficiently and effectively: It is rare to have a scientist leave his or her area of specialty. While the mission and direction of a particular laboratory may change from time to time, the expertise of the scientist is matched to address the new directions of scientific research. Similarly, according to Donald Feucht, former deputy director of operations, the Solar 24

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Energy Research Institute (SERT) attributes its low annual attrition rates to the effective utilization of its work force: Retaining qualified scientific and engineering employees has not been a problem for SERI. Once a scientist or engineer has been hired for a specific position, SER} strives to fully utilize the talent of the technical staff as well as to3grovide developmental opportunities in current or news areas of research. Some federal organizations are taking steps to ensure that the skills and knowledge of their scientists and engineers are fully utilized. For instance, the Naval Ocean Systems Center recently conducted a survey to determine the extent to which its scientists and engineers were using their knowledge and skills in their work: "Most of our technically trained people, even senior managers, spend the preponderance of their time on technical matters."39 Discussed at some length at the Committee-sponsored workshop, however, was the emphasis on contract management by scientists and engineers employed in-house by federal agencies. The federal government clearly needs technically knowledgeable people who can interact with contractors and manage R&D contracts, but several federal scientists and engineers felt that they were required to spend an inordinate amount of time on contract matters. They would prefer to be engaged in actual S&E work and reported that disillusionment sets in among entry-level scientists and engineers when they discover that they won't be doing technical work but, rather, preparing to be contract managers because so much federal work is contracted out. The Committee learned that positions requiring the application of a professional knowledge of engineering or other sciences in the development or evaluation of technical requirements in connection with . . . contracts are classifiable to the Engineering Group, GS-800, or other appropriate professional or scientific series. Positions in the GS-~102 series advise and assist in developing acceptable specifications and evaluation criteria, determine the method of procurement, issue the solicitation document, and conduct the contracting process. (OPM, 1983) Within the engineering and science groups' position classification standards, one finds that contract oversight is one of several responsibilities of scientists and engineers at the GS-~-15 levels. Thus, when disillusionment is attributed to one's being required to provide such contract management, the Committee urges that greater emphasis be placed on an employee's understanding of his or her job responsibilities before assuming a program manager's position, which requires such contract management. 38 Letter to Alan Fechter, October 24, 1989. 39 R. M.. Hillyer, NOSC technical director, to Alan Fechter, November 7, 1989. 25

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6 Many w~thin the broader scientific and engineenog community are concerned about the effects of the changing U.S. demography on the federal government's ability to recruit and retain qualified U.S. citizens, and several managers of federal scientists and engineers revealed difficulties In hiring women and minonties. CPDF data on the race/et~icity and sex of federal employees, used by agencies such as the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission to monitor a variety of federal affirmative action programs, could also indicate where the federal government nt pursue initiatives to respond to projected shortages of scientists and engineers, tapping groups currently underrepresented ~ the sciences and eng~neenng. The composition of the U.S. population has been changing dramatically since 1980. Of particular concern are the facts that the I8- to 24-year-old cohort that comprises our undergraduate population is expected to continue to decline until 1995, and the number of 16- to 24-year-old workers watt drop by nearly 2 million, or ~ percent. In addition, not only are the numbers decreasing, but for the past few years the percentage of students majoring in most fields of science and engineering traditionally, white males has been dropping. Furthermore, projections show that the increases in the U.S. population will be greatest among ethnic groups that have not heretofore participated significantly in science and engineering. In fact, between now and the year 2000, white males are expected to comprise only 32 percent of new entrants to the labor force (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, in White House Task Force, 1989~. Because the pool of talent for new scientists and engineers is comprised predominantly of females and ethnic minorities and because the federal government is the largest single employer of scientists and engineers directly and indirectly the White House Task Force on Women, Minorities, and the Handicapped in Science and Technology (1989) urged that the federal government pursue several actions to encourage those individuals to choose careers in science and engineering. Actions recommended to the federal government that could increase the supply of federal scientists and engineers include the following: Use federal R&D programs to bring about a more diverse, worId-cIass S&E work-force; Collect and maintain data to evaluate the participation of minorities, women, and persons with disabilities in their federal R&D programs; Continue to hire and advance talented scientists and engineers, including those from underrepresented groups; and Provide stable and substantial support for effective intervention programs that graduate quality scientists and engineers who are members of underrepresented groups. Another aspect of this issue is the ability of the federal government to predict its needs for scientists and engineers systemwide. The National Science Board publishes 26

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Science & Engcneenng Indicators biennially, but its focus is primarily the private sector of the S&E work force. For instance, the ninth report (National Science Board, 1989) presents detailed information on labor-market indicators for S&E personnel (labor force participation rates, unemployment rates, S&E employment rates, experiences of recent S&E graduates, and employer shortages of S&E personnel) and projected demand for scientists and engineers in industry. However, the Committee learned of no government-we mechanism by which the federal government plans to meet its own needs for scientists and engineers. Instead, some individual agencies collect and analyze their own data to make projections about their agency's needs for scientists and engineers. 7. Government policies that limit the hiring of foreign nationals may have adverse effects on the ability of federal agencies to perform S&E work. Restrictions on employment of foreign-born citizens and foreign nationals often prevent their employment in federal agencies, although they comprise about 20 percent of the total S&E labor force in the United States (National Research Council, 1988~. About 50 percent of engineering Ph.D.s graduating in the United States are foreign, but many federal government agencies cannot hire them as a matter of policy. The Senior Executive Service does not contain a citizenship requirement. However, separate controlling legislation of some agencies, as well as general appropriations act restrictions and individual agency restrictions, may prohibit the employment of foreign nationals. As emphasized by one college placement officer, and seconded by many workshop participants, At a time when so many of the nation's younger scientists are immigrants, and the government congratulates itself on its immigration policy, it is both hypocritical and absurd that the government won't hire them.40 In addition, this limitation skews comparisons of the federal work force With the national work force, because industry and academe generally are not prohibited from hiring foreign and foreign-born scientists and engineers. Trends Regarding Presidential Appointments 8. There is growing concern about the adequacy of the political appointments process and the impact of political appointees on the fulfillment of federal S&E work. Strong leadership both at the science and technology policy level and within 40 Robert K. Weatherall, Massachusetts Institute of Technology placement officer, to Linda S. Dix, February 8, 1990. 27

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those federal entities employing significant numbers of scientists and engineers is important to the recruitment, retention, and utilization of scientists and engineers with the goverrunent. As noted by Robert M. White, president of the National Academy of Engineering, "The general scientific community in the government is dependent upon the policy leadership of Presidential appointees,"4 who by definition are supportive of the President's policies. The nature of the technical work within federal agencies requires also that they believe in their organization's mission and in the value of the work performed to accomplish it. According to Pfiffner (Appendix By, there have been many unfilled positions at the top in departments or appointees who had no knowledge of or sympathy for science and engineering. The White House Office of Appointments attributes the vacant positions to noncompetitive pay, ethics requirements, financial disclosure, postemployment restrictions, short tenure in office, and lack of names of qualified individuals in the scientific community (see, for instance, Mackenzie, 1990~. However, members of the scientific community believe that recruitment of scientists and engineers to high-level government positions is further hindered by the President's staff establishing various ideological criteria for political appointees. The consequences can include a lengthy political appointments process42 and short tenure of political appointees. Two particular instances in which some scientists believe this has negatively affected an agency's productivity were pointed out to the Committee: NTH and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) have both experienced problems during the past year because of unfilled leadership positions (see Appendix C, Proceedings).43 In addition, the process of appointing the successor to Ernest Ambler as NIST director took 10 months and included an entire budget cycle. It is important for an agency to have as its leader an individual who wall serge as its advocate. However, the current system serves to deprive an agency of such advocacy. Because the average stay of a political appointee is 18-24 months, there is constant change at the top, with subsequent change in loyalty as well as reorganization. 44 Remarks to the Committee on Scientists and Engineers in the Federal Government, November 20, 1989. 42 According to the Democratic Study Group, U.S. House of Representatives, as of September 19, 1989, 178 senior positions in federal agencies had been filled by the Bush administration, but 219 remained unfilled (see Executive Shortfall II: Continued Slow Progress in Staffing He Bush Administration, Special Report No. 101-19~. 43 For instance, since passage of the National Cancer Act in 1972 the NIH directorship has become quite political, to the point that for almost a year NIH has had an acting director. Similarly, the directorship at the CD C, which became a political appointment about eight years ago, was unfilled for about a year, with the reported consequences including the lack of a person with the prestige of the Directorship to negotiate CDC's budget and reduced morale among careerists. As noted in Appendix A, Table 12, there have been long delays in the filling of leadership positions in other agencies such as the National Institute of Standards and Technology and Food and Drug Administration. 28