2 April 2009
New NASA Hiring Policy
Posted by Ryan Anderson
The NASA workforce is, on the whole, old. Yeah yeah, I know I think everyone is old because I’m just a young whippersnapper, but it’s true. The average age of NASA employees is 47. That doesn’t mean that there aren’t young folks (said the young’un who’s currently working at JSC) but we’re a minority. Back in the Apollo days, most of NASA was young. The average age of the people that got us to the moon was something like 27.
Apparently the aging of the NASA workforce has caused some concern because NASA just announced a new policy that 50% of all new civil-servant hires will be fresh-out hires. (Fresh-out is defined as being within three years of graduating from your highest degree)
I’m not sure what effect this will have on the agency beyond the obvious. It seems to me that hiring should be based on skills, especially for a place like NASA. Still, as someone who will likely be applying for a NASA job in the next few years, I can’t say that I mind this new policy…
For more information, read about the details of this new policy over at the Open NASA blog.
Edit: NASA Watch is skeptical that this is actually official policy yet… stay tuned.
Wow – 47!
Take them out and have them shot immediately!
Am I the only one who is more than a little concerned about the abilities of this new generation? Sure, they’re surrounded by technology, but do they know how their iPods actually work?
I’m not concerned. But then, I’m just a kid who doesn’t know how iPods work.
(actually, for full disclosure, I don’t own an iPod)
Is that “47” average including contract employees? At this NASA center a couple of years ago I was shown a histogram of the ages of the civil service workforce. The peak of the bell curve was over 60!
ALL government agencies have “aging workforces.” NASA is not the exception. The major reason for this: the last 5 presidential administrations, from Jimmy Carter onward, have attempted to constrain the federal government payroll by freezing civil service hiring and outsourcing (“privatizing”) as much government work as possible to contractors. The age-skewed employment picture at NASA and elsewhere isn’t the result of bad management or young peoples’ unwillingness to work there; it’s just statistics, a byproduct of 30 years of federal government hiring policies, much of them aimed at persuading voters that the Carter/Reagan/Bush/Clinton/Bush administration was reducing the size of government.