Government jobs are going to suffer huge vacancies in light of an aging workforce that inhabits its senior leadership. The next generation must step up. It’s estimated that a large portion of government workers are set to retire within the next ten years.

Baby boomers are exiting the building, Generation X will take senior leadership and the millennial’s will become the management. This could be true for virtually every government agency. A generational shift is approaching and many businesses and agencies might transform in the process. It’s an interesting time. It’s also a good time to consider getting higher education under your belt and joining an agency as a civilian. It’s a pretty comfortable gig.

In most national security agencies the true wild cards have been the contractors. There’s a great many of contractors doing the same work as their civilian counterparts in intelligence and defense. But, government civilian jobs are difficult to get. Education, past performance, and references count for quite a bit in the government world. It’s a great way to validate your experience. It’s also a great job that allows you to contribute and collect a solid and decent paycheck.

Moving along in the “GS” or general schedule world is also a route to power, if that interests you. When you become a GS-15 you’ll have pull. The military isn’t sure how to deal with civilians and your days of being terrified of Generals will be a thing of the past. That’s because many civilians are specialists, SMEs (Subject Matter Experts), or doing something that’s critical; at least in national security, anyway. It’s interesting but you’ll be granted far more responsibility as a GS civilian than most of your career as an enlisted man. But, you might have to go to school.

Before you even consider taking this route, or getting out of the military think long and hard about what interests. Figure out what interests you and intersects commercial and intellectual value in the future. I know science isn’t for everyone but, there’s plenty within STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) that the layman can do – and those jobs aren’t going anywhere. In fact, they might commission computer science PhD’s to Colonel’s in the future as SMEs.

I think I went of a bit of a diatribe there. For this piece, consider it a WARNING ORDER – civilian jobs are going to be available. If you figure out what you might like and then seek higher education that complements it + previous service, you’ll have a higher success rate compared to your civilian counterparts. Also, please note that STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) and Research and Development jobs are difficult to fill, as are TS/SCI clearances. For some of the more scientific and technology development jobs self-learning and a proof of interest might be all you need.


Featured image courtesy of The Atlantic.