Now May Be a Once-in-a-Lifetime Chance to Work for the Federal Government

Now May Be a Once-in-a-Lifetime Chance to Work for the Federal Government
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A recent analysis of the federal employee landscape points to a possible larger-than-normal exodus of federal employees through 2022 – meaning right now is a good time for transitioning servicemembers and military spouses to get their federal résumé in order and start exploring opportunities in the federal sector.


While there are thousands of jobs open every day across the federal government, what may be different during the rest of 2022 is the retirement of an unusual number of employees. More than 325,000 federal employees are over the age of 60, according to the March 17 piece at by Ralph R. Smith – the largest number on record. 


While a few may not be eligible to retire because they had a late start in their federal career, we can assume 99% are eligible.


They won’t all retire at once, but with the additional factors Smith covers, many may elect to leave federal service. Their departure will create openings at many levels across agencies.




Another key factor: The 2022 pay raise of 2.7% that went into effect Jan. 1 was less than half of the increase in the cost of living (5.9%). Feds are losing buying power.


MOAA’s COLA Watch shows the 2022 cost-of-living increase at 3.9% through February, and while the president has proposed a 4.6% pay raise for 2023, we can expect the current 3.9% to increase over the coming months. The question remains for 2023 – will the pay raise cover the COLA? Smith bets not based on history, and we have to agree. 


Almost all federal civil service retirees receive a cost-of-living adjustment, just like retired uniformed servicemembers. Last year’s COLA was, for most, between 4% and 5%, beating the pay raise working feds received. In 2023, if the COLA continues to rise, retirees will receive a larger boost in their retired pay than current feds will receive in a pay raise. So, retiring now may be financially in their interest for some feds.


[2022 TRANSITION GUIDE: Unlocking Federal Jobs]


Smith points out that needs and values change with any aging workforce. For many, the focus moves away from advancing their career, increasing their net worth, and learning who they are. After reaching a certain age, instead of growing their net worth, the focus changes to financial stability for retirement.


Assuming there are about 2 million federal employees, 325,000 is 16% of the workforce. The question remains, are they ready to retire or not? And if they do, are you posed to grab the opportunity?


If so, MOAA can help. In addition to the general resources available at MOAA’s Transition and Career Center, specific guidance for navigating the federal sector can be found at Life members of MOAA also can receive a personalized federal résumé review.


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About the Author

Ralph Charlip, LFACHE
Ralph Charlip, LFACHE

Lt. Col. Ralph Charlip, USAF (Ret), DPA, LFACHE, is a retired member of the federal Senior Executive Service and the president/CEO of his own company, Inspiration Creek Management Consulting LLC, a Small Business Administration-certified, Service-Disabled Veteran Owned Small Business.