In a recent conversation between Tom Temin, the host of the Federal Drive, and Larry Allen, the president of federal business partners, they discussed the rapidly increasing demand for government acquisition contracting officers. The state of government acquisition is stable but as we move forward in time the processes that were effective in the late 1990s and early 2000s are not adapted for the technological, sociological and economical advancements society has made since. There are several things that contractors can do to assist government contracting officers optimize their procurement processes. However, awarding, auditing and managing a government contract, are all different governmental functions, that have different requirements. To manage all the aspects of acquisition, the U.S. government requires a well-trained acquisition workforce to do that. One of the byproducts of the procurement reforms in the late 1990s was a substantial reduction within the acquisition workforce ranks.
To satisfy the growing demand acquisition officials and government are trying to be flexible and innovative in how they attract people to the acquisition workforce. And once the people are in the acquisition workforce, there is great importance on the workforce retention. Regarding the importance of retention Larry Allen said.
“there are a lot of options for federal employees and acquisition is one where I’ve personally have seen many talented people start only to have them shift out and go into other areas of government. So you really want to try to not just get people in, but keep them in the acquisition workforce, which means they have to have some obvious career goals and some opportunities for advancement”
It is tough to recruit people today, whether it’s to acquisition workforce, jobs, or just about anything else in employment. Contractors need to knowthat they’re using innovative ways to hire candidates who are probably going to need a little bit more training than a traditional acquisition workforce member. Patience, and awareness on the part of the industry is going to be crucial regarding employment retention. One acquisition executive in a large agency said, in his experience, federal acquisition, federal procurement jobs are attractive to business majors that are leaving the colleges looking for jobs. There is certain personality that really likes federal procurement. It’s like a giant puzzle, or a big Rubik’s cube to solve, given the many procurement requirements. Tom Temin suggests that the government may not realize how to advertise what an interesting industry government acquisition can be.
Working in government procurement offers everything you might imagine. It offers the opportunity to negotiate a good deal on the part of the government. It also requires that you have substantial knowledge of what’s going on in different industry segments and requires that you keep your knowledge up to date. There’s a lot going on and government acquisition, and the people who stay in it long enough and have the opportunity for career advancement. They advance and they become household names. They are people who make the system work, they maintain the successful operation of the U.S. government.