February 13, 2023

A surprising way for government agencies to attract and retain elite-level Gen-Z technology talent

After two years of the COVID-19 pandemic and its numerous and varied challenges, economic realities are starting to hit many of the world’s most well-known technology companies. As shown in the stats below, these companies are laying off thousands of employees.

  • Amazon: 18,000
  • Twitter: 7,500
  • Facebook: 11,000
  • Microsoft: 10,000
  • Salesforce: 8,000

Many smaller technology companies are also initiating redundancies. It’s never easy for employees and their families when this happens, but there is a silver lining. The market for people with technology skills has been extremely tight, and now it will be easier for growing companies, government agencies, and non-profits to find technology talent.

An opportunity for government agencies

Government agencies looking for people with elite-level technology skills can also benefit from this turnaround in tech. However, it’s a mistake for these agencies (and private sector organizations) to think, “We will only get the best people by offering more money than anyone else.”

Private sector companies can, and will, win bidding wars if salary is the only consideration. The public sector can rarely compete against the private sector when it comes to base compensation. However, attracting and retaining elite-level Gen Z technology talent is about more than salary and benefits.

By adopting a robust learning platform, coupled with a training program that prioritizes employee advancement and ongoing skill development, government agencies can attract and retain top Gen-Z employees. Through the use of a modern Learning Management System (LMS) platform, government agencies can provide a learning track of skill development training that progresses from early career to more advanced roles and is easily monitored by both the employee and HR.

Gen-Z has no official demographic definition, but the general age range is individuals born between the mid-to-late 1990s and the early 2010s. Gen-Z is the first generation to have grown up with internet access as a constant. As a result of this online literacy from an early age, Gen-Z employees are equipped with technology skills their predecessors learned later. However, that time online, perpetuated by the COVID-19 pandemic, has resulted in a soft skills gap. Digital training programs that are coupled with in-person small groups and mentorship programs can help bridge this gap.

A study by The Varkey Foundation attempted to identify professional traits in the Gen-Z demographic. Interestingly, when it came to their career, 24% said “honing skills” was the most important factor while 23% cited income as the most important factor.

A government agency can offer exceptional opportunities for career growth through a strong training and development program.

What should this training program look like?

  • Built to develop relevant high-level skills
  • Designed by true tech experts with the user experience in mind
  • Helps employees develop in-demand skills that might otherwise require years of expensive and time-consuming education
  • Easily digestible through a mix of online and in-person training
  • Created for employees who have a growth mindset and are genuinely interested in building a stronger skill set

A strong and well-designed training program, built on an LMS platform that supports agency and employee advancement goals, can become a benefit that helps attract and retain Gen-Z technology talent.

How to develop and maintain a robust training environment

Many government agencies have a stand-alone training department. Other agencies have some training and development specialists on staff. Some have almost no internal training capacity.

Whatever the nature of the training capabilities, it’s essential to partner with a technology company that has extensive experience designing and developing training programs in the private and public sectors. The company behind the learning management system should also offer expertise from professionals with a background in academia and academic technology. Blackboard® Learn is a proven choice by U.S. government agencies and the military. A team of experts is on hand to help government agencies find the training and learning solution that best meets their goals and mission. What are the characteristics of said company?

  • An established track record of supporting training programs
  • In-depth knowledge of pedagogy and technology needs for Gen-Z
  • Innovative and proven methods for the delivery of content
  • A team of experienced and talented training development experts
  • The ability to test and track the effectiveness of the training directly in the platform

When the right technology partner can also support training development, a government agency can provide all its employees, including Gen-Z employees, with programs that go beyond the basics of content and delivery.

Surprising additional benefits

Attracting and retaining talent is just one benefit of a fully developed training platform and program.

Additional benefits include:

  • Employees develop a stronger bond with the agency
  • Managers can focus on managing and not training
  • The agency becomes a stronger agency as employees build and develop skills
  • Strengthening hard and soft skills through holistic development
  • Less reliance on costly contractors because relevant skills are available in house
  • A significant reduction in employee turnover
  • Increased productivity and efficiency
  • Significant improvements in employee engagement
  • Stronger team performance and functionality
  • A significant reduction in skill gaps
  • The development of a talent pipeline

Over the next 24 months, the market for top technology talent is likely to change dramatically as large companies continue layoffs. Government agencies that want to hire and retain experienced and capable technology employees should strongly consider creating a top-level training and development program.

The best way to start is with a conversation with a training and development specialist at Anthology. Reach out to Anthology if you are ready to talk with a training expert.

Headshot of Celena Westlund

Celena Westlund

Senior Marketing Manager for Business and Government

Westlund joined Anthology in 2021, bringing nearly 11 years of government and marketing experience, including over 7 years at the U.S. Institute of Peace and 3.5 years at a MarTech company. In her role at Anthology, she works to create awareness and demand for our EdTech solutions in federal, state, and local governments, and within corporate entities. Westlund graduated from Washington State University with an M.A. in strategic communication and previously earned an M.A. from American University in international peace and conflict resolution, with a focus on conflict in the Southern Balkans.