And interest among tech workers in government jobs remains strong. In late October, more than 3,000 people registered for a Tech to Gov career event, hosted by the Tech Talent Project, a nonprofit that helps the U.S. government recruit for tech positions. A thousand more had signed up for the waiting list.
“It’s not just about layoffs; what I’ve definitely seen is people taking a pause in the tech sector,” says Jennifer Anastasoff, executive director of the Tech Talent Project. “This has been a moment where people have started to pause and think about where they can make the biggest difference.”
a federal technology job portal it had 107 vacancies in mid-November. Salaries range from about $40,000 to nearly $240,000. The Office of Personnel Management, the human resources arm of the federal government, made a proposal to laid-off tech workers earlier this year, hoping to get some money. 22,000 people in technological positions in the public sector. That office did not respond to emails seeking updates on the hiring process for technology jobs. But smaller government agencies across the country have made progress in attracting high-profile workers from the private sector.
New York recently hired a former high-ranking employee of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts to be the state’s first employee. customer experience director. Shelby Switzer accepted the position of director of Baltimore’s new Digital Services Team earlier this year. Three new employees were hired under Switzer, all from the private sector. The group’s first project was to modernize permits; Instead of going to various offices in person to obtain permits for events and street closures, people can now apply for them online. It seems simple, but for the local government it is a big problem.
One of those benefits came from hiring a UX designer, Switzer says. “Having someone who is an expert in thinking about the usability of services in technology is totally new.” But working in government can mean that a tech team is trying to innovate while trapped in a larger, slower-moving group. “There’s a lot of organizational inertia,” Switzer says. “In reality, government was not designed to be efficient.”
These types of small changes are difficult to achieve in government, but there is a trend for more cities and states to invest in technological infrastructure. In early November in Pennsylvania, the Commonwealth Office of Digital Experience, or CODE PA, launched a system that allows residents, businesses, charities and schools to see if they are eligible for a refund after paying for a permit, license or certification . and then request a refund.
Pennsylvania is investing heavily in technology and artificial intelligence under the direction of Josh Shapiro, its new governor. He hired Amaya Capellán, who moved from Comcast to Pennsylvania government this year, swapping corporate life for the role of Pennsylvania’s chief information officer. Some initial priorities for Chaplain include finding ways for governments to use generative AI and updating permits and licenses.
Capellan says people may be realizing that tech companies treat them as replaceable, pushing them to reconsider their roles in tech. “It’s really inspiring to think about the kinds of ways you can impact people’s lives forever.”