I am pleased to inform you that the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) has established higher rates of basic pay for entry- and developmental-level computer specialists, computer engineers, and computer scientists covered by the General Schedule (GS) pay system throughout the Federal Government.
The purpose of these higher rates of pay is to help agencies address significant problems in recruiting information technology (IT) workers in today's highly competitive IT labor market. The new higher rates of pay will become effective in January 2001 and will apply to about 33,000 current Federal employees. The combined effect of these new higher pay rates and the anticipated across-the-board GS pay increase will produce overall net pay increases ranging from about 7 to 33 percent for most affected employees, depending on grade level. You will find more detailed information about OPM's approval of higher pay rates for IT workers in a separate memorandum for agency human resources directors.
OPM recognized the need for additional compensation flexibility to help agencies address recruitment and retention problems affecting the Government's IT workforce. In May, we initiated a review of this issue by asking agency personnel directors to provide staffing data and other related information to help us determine the feasibility of establishing "special salary rates" for IT workers. We also consulted with the Chief Information Officers Council, which agreed on the need for the study and assisted in compiling agency staffing reports. Please extend my sincere thanks to your human resources and IT officials for their assistance in supporting this important Governmentwide initiative.
The action taken today will go a long way toward ensuring that Federal departments and agencies will be able to attract high quality IT workers. However, this is only one part of our overall strategy for attracting and retaining these workers. I encourage agencies to use other incentives, such as recruitment bonuses and retention allowances, to attract high-tech workers into the Federal service and to retain current employees who have critical IT skills. Together, I am confident that we can continue to build an exceptional workforce that will have an immediate and lasting impact on the business of government.