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  • 1.  Turnover rate of young professionals

    Posted 03-20-2017 12:49 PM
    I work for a State DOT, and my office has fewer young professionals then in years past due to budget cuts and the lack of competitive salaries. Quite often those that we do hire gain enough experience to sit and pass the P.E., and then quickly accept another position outside of the agency and leave. What questions can be posed during the interview process that would help identify individuals more likely to stay with the agency past the attainment of the P.E.?

    Aaron Frits P.E., ENV SP, M.ASCE
    Road Design Leader
    Lawrence KS

  • 2.  RE: Turnover rate of young professionals

    Posted 03-21-2017 01:19 PM

    The engineering profession competes in a free marketplace for talent.  When the economy is depressed in the private sector, the public sector can be more competitive.  Rather than trying to identify factors that might clue you as to whether a new hire applicant might stay or not, consider trying to sell the applicant on the benefits of a career in public service.  What is the value of the complete compensation package (salary, insurance benefits, retirement benefits, encouraged use of vacation time, etc.), not just the salary.  I spent the first sixteen years of my career in private consulting, thirteen years in municipal government and soon to be seventeen years in  state government.

  • 3.  RE: Turnover rate of young professionals

    Posted 03-21-2017 01:19 PM
    During my Federal career, I had the privilege of working with different state DOTs and when salary freezes hit and continued for multiple years, it was relatively easy for consultants, contractors, and FHWA to attract experienced employees from the state DOT. How can you fault an individual for deciding it's best for the family to make a career change with good benefits and a substantial salary increase that can make it much easier to pay for up coming college expenses for the kids?

    From what I saw, nearly all who left State service stayed in highways which benefited the whole industry. Those that returned to work on projects for the State they left were high on the learning curve and brought back their knowledge and skills to benefit the State as consultants.

    Questions on loyalty are useless as people's financial situations change quickly over time. You should be looking for the best and brightest individuals for the State DOT and explaining the non-salary benefits for working for a public agencies such as (1) the many challenges and responsibilities ahead in managing, rebuilding and modernizing the transportation system infrastructure, (2) the many possible and varied career paths, (3) possible special assignments and training opportunities, (4) potential for improving statewide (or national) standards and practices, and (5) opportunities for serving on technical or administrative committees and task forces...opportunities that are possible that will result in great job satisfaction.  

    In the long-term salaries will eventually cycle back up but if potential employees see the bigger career picture, you may be able to hire and retain them during a turndown or get them to return some time in the future with even more relevant experiences. 

    Allen Masuda P.E., M.ASCE
    Plainfield IL

  • 4.  RE: Turnover rate of young professionals

    Posted 03-22-2017 12:16 PM

    I often read the details for public works offferings and one attractive item I see is the time off allowed.  Here in the private sector, we get the requisite holidays and a few weeks' vacation, but the public sector gives additional time, at least in the executive positions.  That is more time to pursue outside activities, or spend with family.


    Dan Chase

    1327 Del Norte Road Camarillo CA 93010-9123
    Office Phone: (805) 981-0706 Ext 103

    Direct Phone: 805 322-1665

    Cell: 805 233 0900
    Fax: (805) 981-0251




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