Academic journal article Public Personnel Management

Case Study: Pennsylvania's Changing Workforce: Planning Today with Tomorrow's Vision

Academic journal article Public Personnel Management

Case Study: Pennsylvania's Changing Workforce: Planning Today with Tomorrow's Vision

Article excerpt

The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania's has more than 12.2 million citizens, placing it among the eight most populous states. The number of state full-time salaried employees under the Governor's jurisdiction Consists of 75, 623 as o f July 1, 2004, and 321 salaried part-time and more than 4,800 wage part-time employees. The average age of the full-time permanent salaried workforce is 45 years, with an average length of service of 13 years. Seventy percent of state workers are covered by a merit system, and 83 percent are represented by one of 20 authorized unions. State workers under the Governor's jurisdiction work in 34 primary agencies and scores of smaller boards and commissions. Recent workforce-related awards include the National Association of State Personnel Executives (NASPE); Eugene H. Rooney, Jr Program Award of Merit for the Human Resource Management Trainee Program (August 2000); and the National Association of Chief Administrators 200I Outstanding Program Award for Creative Excellence in Human Resources for Pennsylvania Information Technology Retention and Recruitment.

"Did you hear the news?"

"What news?"

'After working for the Commonwealth for more than 30 years, John, Bill and Sue have announced their plans to retire."

"You're joking, right?"


"We are really going to miss them. Not only have they been here for so many years, but they have also assisted in successfully transitioning through several changes in administration. They have such a wealth of knowledge about the agency and operational activities."

"How will we function without them? Who will be left in the office? Who will be their successors, and what will be done to ensure a seamless transition of future employees into the workplace?"

These are just a few of the questions that are being asked as Commonwealth agencies address challenges resulting from the changing demographics of Pennsylvania's workforce.

This manuscript defines workforce planning and indicates reasons for its importance. It also outlines the environment and challenges the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania faces, as it implements various workforce planning initiatives. The framework and methodology used in Pennsylvania are outlined, as well as significant milestones achieved and lessons learned throughout the process. Pennsylvania has formulated a number of short and long-term strategies, and this manuscript provides information on each of them. The remaining intent of the article is to accentuate the deliberate action taken in planning today with tomorrow's vision.

What Is Workforce Planning?

Workforce planning is the "strategic alignment of an organization's human capital with its business direction. It is a methodical process of analyzing the current workforce, determining future workforce needs, identifying the gap between the present and future, and implementing solutions so the organization can accomplish its mission, goals and objectives." (1) More simply stated, in Pennsylvania state government, it is known as the process of having "the right number of people with the right job knowledge, diversity and skills working in the right jobs at the right time." (2)

Why is Workforce Planning Important?

Labor force projections have significant implications for workforce planners. While the labor pool and general population are aging, people are working longer, living longer and enjoying much healthier lives. In Pennsylvania state government, the average age of employees is 46 years old. (3) Conversely, the birthrate is at an historic low. "The Bureau of Labor Statistics indicates that while the youngest workers (ages 16 to 24 years old) are increasing by 15 percent, this decade will also witness the 25 to 34-year-old baby boomers' children entrance into the workforce at just half that rate. The employable workforce population between 35 and 44 years of age is actually declining, as the overall national rate of workforce growth faces a sharp drop. …

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