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RECRU ITMENT , RETENTION, ANDUTILIZATION OF FEDERAL SCIENTISTS AND ENGINEERS Emory to ~ e Carnegie Comm · ~ I~ 1~ on Science, Technology, and Government Alan K. Campbell and Linda S. Dix, editors Committee on Scientists and Engineers in the Federal Government Office of Scientific and Engineering Personnel National Research Council NATIONAL ACADEMY PRESS Washington, D.C. 1 990
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NOTICE: The project that is the subject of this report was approved by the Governing Board of the National Research Council, whose members are drawn from the councils of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academv of En~neenn~. and the Institute of Medicine. ~cow ~ This report has been reviewed by persons other than the author according to procedures approved by a Report Review Committee consisting of members of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineenug, and the Institute of Medicine. The National Academy of Sciences is a private, nonprofit, self-perpetuating society of distinguished scholars engaged in scientific and engineering research, dedicated to the furtherance of science and technology and to their use for the general welfare. Upon the authority of the charter granted to it by the Congress in 1863, the Academy has a mandate that requires it to advise the federal government on scientific and technical matters. Dr. Frank Press is president of the National Academy of ~ , sciences. The National Academy of Engineering was established In 1964, under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences, as a parallel organization of outstanding engineers. It is autonomous in its administration and in the selection of its members, sharing with the National Academy of Sciences the responsibility for advising the federal government. The National Academy of Engineering also sponsors engineering programs aimed at meeting national needs, encourages education and research, and recognizes the superior achievements of engineers. Dr. Robert M. White is president of the National Academy of Engineering. The Institute of Medicine was established in 1970 by the National Academy of Sciences to secure the services of eminent members of appropriate professions in the examination of policy matters pertaining to the health of the public. The Institute acts under the responsibility given to the National Academy of Sciences by its congressional charter to be an adviser to the federal government and, upon its own initiative, to identify issues of medical care, research, and education. Dr. Samuel O. Thier is president of the Institute of Medicine. The National Research Council was organized by the National Academy of Sciences in 1916 to associate the broad community of science and technology with the Academy's purposes of furthering knowledge and advising the federal government. Functioning in accordance with general policies determined by the Academy, the Council has become the principal operating agency of both the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering in providing services to the federal government, the public, and the scientific and engineering communities. The Council is adrrunistered jointly by both Academies and the Institute of Medicine. Dr. Frank Press and Dr. Robert M. White are chairman and vice chairman, respectively, of the National Research Council. Library of Congress Catalog Card No. 90 62688 International Standard Book No. ~309 043301 Additional copies of this report arc available from: National Academy Press 2101 Constitution Avenue, N.W. Washington, D.C. 20418 S070 Printed in the United States of America
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COMMI'l~l'~E ON SCIENTISTS AND ENGINEERS IN THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT Alan K. Campbell, chair Vice Chairman ARA Services, Inc. (Chairman, Civil Service Commission, 1977-78; Director, U.S. Office of Personnel Management, 1979-80) Ernest Ambler (Director, National Institute of Standards and Technology, 1978-1989) Stephen I. Lukasik Vice President for Technology Northrop Corporation (Director, Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, 1971-1974; Chief scientist, Federal Communications Commission, 1979-1982) Howard Messner Executive Vice President American Consulting Engineers Council (Director of administration, Environmental Protection Agency, 1971-1975; Assistant director, Congressional Budget Office, 1975-1977) Janet L. Norwood Commissioner, Bureau of Labor Statistics, 1979 Alan Schriesheim Director and Chief Executive Officer, Argonne National Laboratory, 1984 · · ~ Liaison from OSEP's Advisory Committee on Studies and Ana', Eli Ginzberg Director Conservation of Human Resources Columbia University Staff Officer Linda S. DO
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. PREFACE AND ACKNOWLEDGMENTS Early in 1989 the Carnegie Commission on Science, Technology, and Government-concerned with the use of science and technology in this country, particularly by government at all levels-asked the National Research Council's Office of Scientific and Engineering Personnel (OSEP) to conduct an exploratory study of the organizational and institutional processes that may affect the ability of federal government to attract and retain scientists and engineers. The committee established to conduct this investigation undertook specific activities to understand what those mechanisms are and their impact on the ability of the federal government to retain, attract, and provide a good working environment for scientists and engineers: A literature review was cOmniete] to determine previous examinations of this topic; Staff contacted the 13 distinguished scientists who have received the Alan T. Waterman Award from the National Science Foundation, asking them to comment on the factors that influenced their decisions not to seek federal employment after graduate school as well as factors that might affect their considerations about federal employment today. Directors of 22 federal laboratories-varying in mission, size, and geographical location-were asked to consider organizational and decision-making processes that may affect federal government recruitment, retention, and utilization of scientists and engineers. Placement officers in approximately 50 U.S. institutions- liberal arts colleges and research universities, both public and private were asked for data on the recruitment activities of federal agencies directed toward their students, the interest of their graduates in federal employment, and trends in the numbers of agencies visiting their campuses and graduates actually taking federal employment. Four papers dealing with topics that might shed additional light on the federal government's ability to recruit and retain scientists and engineers were commissioned (see Appendix B). · ~ O A worKsnop was nela in wasnlngton on February 23, 1990, at which representatives of approximately 25 federal agencies briefed the committee on the most influential factors relating to recruitment, retention, and utilization of scientists and engineers; organizational and decision-making processes that relate to them; and mechanisms undertaken to maintain a stable work force of scientists and engineer (see Appendix C). Information gleaned from these several sources led to the Committee's determination that several issues require further examination. It is hoped that readers particularly the Carnegie Commission on Science, Technology, and Government and those policy v
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makers in position to redirect the federal initiative for recruiting, retaining, and utilizing the scientific and engineering work force will find the information useful. For their many contributions to this exploratory study, the Committee on Scientists and Engineers in the Federal Government is grateful to the following individuals: David Z. Robinson, executive director, and Jesse Ausubel, director of studies, Carnegie Commission on Science, Technology, and the Government; William D. Carey, chairman, and Alan Fechter, executive director, OSEP; and Eli Ginzberg, liaison to this committee from OSEP's Advisory Committee on Studies and Analyses. In addition, providing useful information throughout the study were several staff from the Office of Personnel Management: rim 1 1 ~A ~cot _4 _ ~ _ ~ ~ _ ~_ _ Constance Berry Newman, director; Dona Wolf; r~p I.. or; Bonn ~urnow; Andrew Klugh; Paul Thompson; Leonard Klein; Sandra M. Payne; Martin Reck; Bark Shapiro; George Steinbauer; Barbara Fiss; ant! Ruth O'Donnell. We also appreciate the assistance provided by staff in the U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board- John M. Palguta, deputy director, Office of Policy and Evaluation, and Paul VanRiJn. Furthermore, the Committee learned much about the day-to-day experiences of those responsible for recruiting and managing the federal scientific work force from federally employed scientists and engineers throughout the country both through discussions at the committee-sponsored workshop and through correspondence. We are particularly appreciative of comments received from scientists and engineers who, although not contacted directly by the committee, had learned of this study and sent us pertinent information. Response to this exploratory study has been intense, confirming the belief of the sponsors and committee that the issue uncler study-the ability of the federal government to recruit, retain, and utilize scientists and engineers effectively cannot be determined in a simplistic fashion but requires a deeper investigation to verify the perceptions and findings reported here. V1
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CONTENTS EXECUTIVE SUMMARY INTRODUCTION II. I FINDINGS Availability and Relevance of Data on the Federal Science and Engineering Work Force Management Practices Relating to the Career Work Force Trends Regarding Presidential Appointments ISSUES REQUIRING FURTHER ANALYSIS BIBLIOGRAPHY APPENDIXES A: Related Materials B: Commissioned Papers . . Recruitment' Retention' and Utilization of Scientists and Engineers in the Federal Govemmenf: Results of a Literature Review by Linda S. Din, 77 Quantitative Inputs to Federal Technical P~r.~f~nn~! Mnnn~m~n by Charles E. Falk, 95 Meeting Federal Work Force Needs with Regard to Scientists and Engineers: The Role of the U.S. Office of Personnel Management by John M. PaIguta, Ill Differences in Recruitment, Retention, and Utilization Processes: A Comparison of Traditionally Operated Federal Laboratories, M&O Facilities, and Demonstration Projects by Sheldon B. Clark, 121 The Political Appointments Process and the Recruitment of Scientists and Engineers by James P. Pfiffner, 133 , O · · - C: Workshop on Recruitment, Retention, and Utilization of Federal Scientists and Engineers . Agenda, 145 List of Participants, 147 Proceedings, 149 · ~ V11 1 s 7 8 11 27 29 33 37 75 143
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ABBREVIATIONS CDC CPDF CSRA DOL ERL GAO IDA MSPB NBS NIST NOSC NRC NRL NSF NWC OMB OPM OSEP OSTP PACE PHS PMI S&E Centers for Disease Control Central Personnel Data File Civil Service Reform Act Department of Labor Environmental Research Laboratories General Accounting Office Institute for Defense Analysis Merit Systems Protection Board National Bureau of Standards National Institute of Standards and Technology Naval Ocean Systems Center National Research Council Naval Research Laboratory National Science Foundation Naval Weapons Center Office of Management and Budget Office of Personnel Management Office of Scientific and Engineering Personnel Office of Science and Technology Policy Professional and Administrative Career Examination Public Health Service Presidential Management Intern Scientific and engineering · · - vail