Publication:
Optimal Long-Run Talent Management of the Department of Defense Acquisition Workforce in Response to COVID-19: A Dynamic Programming Approach [video]

Authors
Ahn, Tom
Menichini, Amilcar
Subjects
Advisors
Date of Issue
2021-05-19
Date
05/19/21
Publisher
Monterey, California. Naval Postgraduate School
Language
Abstract
As the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic lingers, with the speed of recovery still uncertain, the state of the civilian labor market will impact the public sector. Specifically, the relatively stable and insulated jobs in the Department of Defense (DoD) are expected to be perceived as more attractive for the near future. This implies changes in DoD worker quit behavior that present both a challenge and an opportunity for the DoD leadership in retaining high-quality, experienced talent. We use a unique panel dataset of DoD civilian acquisition area workers and a dynamic programming approach to simulate the impact of the pandemic on worker retention rates under a variety of recovery scenarios. We find that workers will choose not to exit from the DoD while the civilian sector suffers from the impact of the pandemic. This allows leadership to more easily retain experienced workers. However, once the civilian sector has recovered enough, these same workers will quit at an accelerated rate, making gains in talent only temporary. These results imply that while the DoD can take short-run advantage of negative shocks to the civilian sector to retain and attract high quality workers, long-run retention will be achieved through more fundamental reforms to personnel policy to make DoD jobs more attractive, no matter the state of the civilian labor market.As the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic lingers, with the speed of recovery still uncertain, the state of the civilian labor market will impact the public sector. Specifically, the relatively stable and insulated jobs in the Department of Defense (DoD) are expected to be perceived as more attractive for the near future. This implies changes in DoD worker quit behavior that present both a challenge and an opportunity for the DoD leadership in retaining high-quality, experienced talent. We use a unique panel dataset of DoD civilian acquisition area workers and a dynamic programming approach to simulate the impact of the pandemic on worker retention rates under a variety of recovery scenarios. We find that workers will choose not to exit from the DoD while the civilian sector suffers from the impact of the pandemic. This allows leadership to more easily retain experienced workers. However, once the civilian sector has recovered enough, these same workers will quit at an accelerated rate, making gains in talent only temporary. These results imply that while the DoD can take short-run advantage of negative shocks to the civilian sector to retain and attract high quality workers, long-run retention will be achieved through more fundamental reforms to personnel policy to make DoD jobs more attractive, no matter the state of the civilian labor market.
Type
Video
Description
Department
Identifiers
NPS Report Number
SYM-AM-21-121
Sponsors
Prepared for the Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey, CA 93943.
Naval Postgraduate School
Funder
Format
Citation
Distribution Statement
Approved for public release; distribution is unlimited.
Approved for public release; distribution is unlimited.
Rights
This publication is a work of the U.S. Government as defined in Title 17, United States Code, Section 101. Copyright protection is not available for this work in the United States.