Career Insights with Upasana Gupta

Wage Freeze Won't Cool Fed Options

People Work in Government to Serve Their Country
Wage Freeze Won't Cool Fed Options

A two-year pay freeze for civilian federal workers, announced by President Obama this week to help tame the national debt, is not likely to hurt agencies in recruiting and retaining cybersecurity professionals.

The freeze intends to save the country $28 billion overthe next five years and $60 billion over the coming decade. It applies to all civilian federal employees, including those at the Defense Department, but not to military personnel.

Hiring new and retaining existing cybersecurity professionals shouldn't be a problem because of the wage freeze, federal Chief Performance Officer Jeff Zients told reporters in a conference call before the president's announcement. "We do need to continue to recruit the best and brightest to the federal government, and I care about that deeply," he said. "I'm confident we have an overall value proposition that's quite strong and that this effort will not get in the way of our efforts to get the best and brightest."

Unlike any other sector, people often choose to work for the government for a higher cause, to play a vital role in addressing issues related to national protection and security. And there is no other bigger stage for making an impact and giving something back to the country. "People work in the government not for the money, but to serve the country," said John Rossi, professor at the National Defense University.

Professionals also choose to work for the federal government for greater breadth of experience, enhanced training opportunities and unmatched job security. In lieu of salary increases, the federal government will continue to hire top talent for its IT security roles and perhaps offer other benefits to attract cybersecurity candidates, such as telecommuting, flexible work hours promoting work-life balance, as well as additional opportunities for certification and training.

Critical security roles, such as an agency chief information security officer, may prove to be exempt from the pay freeze, as these positions are the most difficult and crucial to fill.

Also, the U.S. Cyber Challenge, as well as other government programs and scholarships, will continue to fill the demand and shape the security profession within the federal sector.

Share your thoughts. How do you think the federal pay freeze will impact - if at all - information security careers in the public sector?

About the Author

Upasana Gupta

Upasana Gupta

Contributing Editor, CareersInfoSecurity

Upasana Gupta oversees CareersInfoSecurity and shepherds career and leadership coverage for all Information Security Media Group's media properties. She regularly writes on career topics and speaks to senior executives on a wide-range of subjects, including security leadership, privacy, risk management, application security and fraud. She also helps produce podcasts and is instrumental in the global expansion of ISMG websites by recruiting international information security and risk experts to contribute content, including blogs. Upasana previously served as a resource manager focusing on hiring, recruiting and human resources at Icons Inc., an IT security advisory firm affiliated with ISMG. She holds an MBA in human resources from Maharishi University of Management, Fairfield, Iowa.

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