Agencies are bracing for what could be a mass exodus of seasoned federal contracting professionals.
Of the government’s 36,208 acquisition professionals, 13 percent — or 4,611 — are eligible to retire, according to 2012 data from the Office of Personnel Management. Another 6,386 employees, 18 percent of the workforce, are eligible to retire in one to five years.
At agencies with smaller staffs, such as the Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board and Small Business Administration, those percentages are much higher.
“Our challenge is we don’t have a crystal ball … to know how many are going to retire next year versus the year after,” said Jan Frye, the deputy assistant secretary for acquisition and logistics at the Veterans Affairs Department. “We certainly have to plan on a good share of our workforce, and these are all seasoned people … departing in the next year or two.”
The number of retiring acquisition professionals jumped from 805 in 2009 to 1,239 in 2012, according to OPM’s FedScope site.