What’s Ahead for Public Pension Hiring?
NCPERS hosted a webinar—part of NCPERS Center of Online Learning—on October 19, 2022 to explore the key findings of the inaugural Public Pension Compensation Survey. Panelists also discussed how to address various workforce challenges and the current landscape for hiring in the public sector.NCPERS hosted a webinar—part of NCPERS Center of Online Learning—on October 19, 2022 to explore the key findings of the inaugural Public Pension Compensation Survey. Panelists also discussed how to address various workforce challenges and the current landscape for hiring in the public sector.
Panelists included Dan Cummings, EVP and Denver Managing Director, EFL Associates; Hank Kim, Executive Director and Counsel, NCPERS; Kevin Olineck, Director, Oregon Public Employees Retirement System; and William SaintAmour, Executive Director, Cobalt Community Research.
Key Takeaways from NCPERS 2022 Public Pension Compensation Survey
To kick off the session, SaintAmour shared key findings from NCPERS newly available Public Pension Compensation Survey. The survey features in-depth data from 153 public pension funds representing more than 9 million active and retired individuals and almost 12,00 staff positions. Notably, nearly 63 percent of respondents indicated that attracting and retaining skilled staff is a problem or is expected to become a problem soon.
The survey, available exclusively to NCPERS members, is intended to help funds benchmark their compensation and benefits packages against their peers. Also available is an online interactive dashboard where funds are able to filter data in a number of ways to help optimize the mix of funds to which they would like to compare themselves. Find out how to access the survey data here.
Responding to the survey findings on remote work offerings, panelists agreed that flexibility is key to being able to attract and retain staff. “We're really pushing remote hybrid work arrangements within Oregon PERS. And we're seeing, particularly in the last few months, some very good quality candidates that are applying for our jobs because of that,” said Olineck.
When searching for potential job candidates, Cummings said that one of the first questions he often gets asked is about flexibility and remote work. “If there was a silver lining in the pandemic, it's been proving that people will be productive and they can work remotely,” he observed. Often an added benefit, he said, is that managers may engage with their staff even more in a remote setting.
The conversation then turned to the potential impact of a looming recession on hiring. Olineck sees it as an opportunity for the public sector, which people tend to view as safer in comparison to the private sector, where many companies are already implementing hiring freezes or layoffs.
Work in the public sector can be very fulfilling, and mission-driven work is very important for many professionals, added Cummings. He suggested that public pension systems showcase their entire compensation and benefits packages when hiring, thinking more in terms of ‘total rewards' such as professional development, flexibility, retirement benefits, or public service.