A LESS QUALIFIED WORKFORCE? MEASURING THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN VETERANS’ PREFERENCE HIRING AND FEDERAL EMPLOYEE ENGAGEMENT
As veterans have returned from Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom, veterans’ preference hiring within the federal government has become a contentious issue. Some believe this policy reduces the quality of the federal workforce. This paper tests if preference reduces the efficacy of the federal workforce by using OLS regressions to measure the relationship between the percentage of an agency’s workforce with veterans’ preference and the engagement of that agency’s workforce. This paper draws on data from the Office of Personnel Management regarding the employment of veterans, and their preference status, in agencies, Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey Scores, and Fedscope data on agencies. The analysis shows that the preference given to disabled veterans does have a negative impact on employee engagement. However, standard preference has a mild positive effect on engagement and hiring veterans who do not qualify for preference has an even stronger positive impact on employee engagement. I recommend that the federal government reduce the preference benefit given to disabled veterans. However; hiring managers should not avoid hiring veterans who qualify for standard preference and should seek out high ranking officers who do not qualify for preference.
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