Employment Trends and Grade Controls in the DOD General Schedule Work Force

Gao ID: FPCD-81-52 July 28, 1981

In response to a congressional request, GAO reviewed and summarized the changes in the grade structure of the Department of Defense (DOD) General Schedule workforce over the past 16 years.

During the past 16 years, DOD increased the number of its General Schedule employees by 9 percent and the average grade increased by over .5 percent. These employment changes were caused in large part by an advanced technology and increased complexity of defense work, which have combined to create the need for a more professional, technically oriented workforce. In addition, the following personnel policies and organizational factors affected the workforce and its grade distribution: (1) limitations on hiring reduced DOD ability to fill entry-level positions; (2) promotion actions coupled with reduced entry hiring caused the average grade to rise; (3) attrition rates were highest among entry level personnel, so that DOD retained a larger number of higher grade employees; (4) the number and mix of personnel (civilian, military, contract) which a service employs to perform professional, administrative, technical, and clerical work affected the grade distribution; (5) consolidations often permitted the merger of administrative support functions thereby decreasing the number of lower grade personnel; (6) for the past 16 years there has been a substantial growth in the number of Defense agencies requiring personnel with more specialized managerial and technical skills; and (7) the less complex and lower grade work was most easily performed by contract labor.


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