OPM flexes hiring rules to recruit, retain cyber talent


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The Office of Personnel Management has issued guidance for flexibilities in the federal compensation system that allow agency managers to recruit and retain cyber talent.

In a notice slipped out last week, Acting Director Beth Cobert said the guide was one of two tools OPM had “developed … to support agency cybersecurity recruitment and retention efforts,” fulfilling its mandate under the Obama administration’s Federal Cybersecurity Workforce Strategy issued on July 12.

The guide provides a listing of the existing flexibilities in pay levels and leave allocation for new hires and existing staff, and a checklist of how to take advantage of them for human resources specialists and hiring managers in federal agencies.

Hiring managers can offer recruitment bonuses up to a year’s salary, if the post is deemed “difficult-to-fill,” and the candidate is prepared to make a four-year commitment. Student loan repayment up to $60,000 is also available and employees can be given credit for years of service outside the federal government when it comes to calculating their annual leave entitlement.

The second tool is a fact sheet titled “Federal Employee Compensation Package: It’s More than Just Salary.”

It’s a hand with information for prospective federal employees on salary and benefit packages that agencies can offer, and is designed to be used in recruitment.

“I encourage agencies to explore these new resources and consider existing compensation and other human resources flexibilities as you develop strategies to address recruitment and retention difficulties in your cybersecurity workforce,” said Cobert.