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USGS Workforce Planning Desk Guide

Step Two – Supply, Demand, and Discrepancies

2A. Analyze Supply

Step 2: Supply, Demand, Discrepencies

Understand the scope of the study in terms of information that will help develop a full workforce plan.  Begin by identifying the scope of data and scope of the organization as outlined below:

  • checkmark bulletDecide the focus — the entire organization, sub-unit, specific occupation or functional area. 
  • checkmark bulletIdentify baseline human resources and financial data, as well as annual and projected budgets that will be used for the analysis.  
  • checkmark bulletAssess the total workforce mix including permanent and/or temporary employees, contractors, volunteers, etc.  Look for organizational de-layering and/or restructuring opportunities.  Also look for opportunities to leverage with other internal organizations, in-sourcing, details, cross-training, or outsourcing.  It is recommended that, if feasible, all “workers” be considered in the planning to create a multi-sector  approach  including all positions required to accomplish the work, whether permanent, temporary or term, contractor or volunteer.  Multi-sector workforce planning is the holistic look at what it will take to accomplish the work.
  • checkmark bulletExamine EEO/diversity and cultural issues in the current state of the organization.

You will need a variety of information and data in order to conduct a comprehensive workforce plan that will determine future work as well as the projected workforce needed.  In order to paint the picture of the future, you should begin by examining:

  • Planning documents (DOI strategic plans, USGS Science Strategy, etc.)
  • Current budget and sources of funding
  • Current workforce demographics

Addressing each of these issues will assist you in defining the current state of your workforce.

2B Analyze Demand

In this stage, consider the workforce that will be needed to accomplish future functional requirements and carry out the mission of the organization. To assist in analyzing the data you have collected in Step 2A-Analyze Supply, answer the following three groups of questions using the information you have collected.  This examination of the data will allow you to determine the future needs of the organization.

1. What changes are anticipated over the next 3 to 5 years regarding:

  • Mission, base functions, strategic goals and objectives, operational goals, etc.
  • Budget, including anticipated increases or decreases in reimbursable funding, trends and patterns
  • Impacts of internal and external environment (legislative changes, Departmental initiatives, social and economic trends)
  • Planned permanent full-time employee reductions or increases (by specific occupational series or skills, how many, etc.)
  • National trends in the labor force
  • Changing skills and competencies needed
  • New technology or innovations
  • Changes in organizational structures
  • Multisector initiatives, contractors, partnerships, volunteers
  • Contract costs and policy changes related to commercial activities
  • Partnering with other federal agencies, state agencies, colleges and universities, etc.
  • Opportunities to leverage resources with other internal organizations Use of retirees, volunteers (where permitted)
  • Use of retirees, volunteers (where permitted)
  • Duration of the projects and programs

2. How will these changes affect:

  • Volume, type and location of work to be performed
  • Organizational structure and design. Is there an opportunity to delayer?
  • Work performed through contract
  • Mix of skills
  • Supervisor/manager to employee ratios
  • Increasing/decreasing/mix of workforce staffing levels (Full Time Permanent and non-FTP)

3. What is the planned organizational outlook for the future and how do you plan to meet those goals? Examine the workforce by analyzing:

  • Skills and competencies needed by the organization by occupational series and level of expertise, by number of employees needed at each level, and within what timeframe (expert/professional, mid-level, trainee, student)
  • Number of types of teams
  • Number of supervisors/non-supervisors required for each level or team
  • Number of employees by type of appointment (permanent, temporary or term) and work schedule (full time, part time, or intermittent)
  • Diversity data reports (available from Office of Equal Opportunity)
  • Diversity objectives
  • Hiring initiatives and flexibilities
  • Employee developmental needs (training)
  • Positive education requirements
  • Certifications, licenses

This information will be needed when you determine your gap and analyze strategies to address those gaps.

2C. Analyze Gap (Discrepancies)

There are various methods to analyze gaps, also referred to as discrepancies, between the current state (supply) and future state (demand) of the workforce. The two main approaches to analysis are quantitative and qualitative. The quantitative approach looks at supply and demand data, while other the qualitative approach examines the workforce and discrepancies from a more strategic or thematic approach. Both are important approaches to use in achieving a comprehensive strategic workforce plan.

The example below describes a method to analyze gaps in occupational series from a quantitative perspective.

A
B
C
D
E
F
G
 
Occupational Series or Series Groups Current Workforce Short Term Expected Losses (0-3 years) Current Workforce Less Short Term Expected Losses (B-C) Short Term Expected Hires (0-3 years) Short Term Future Workforce (3 years out) (D+E) Long Term Workforce Needs (4-5 years)

5 Year Future Workforce Gap or Surplus
(G-F)

Wildlife Biologist 50 10 40 3 43 60 (17)*
               
               
  Enter data
  Calculated
* Negative value ( ) reflects shortage. Positive value reflects surplus
  1. Occupational Series or Series Groups  NOTE: Data inputted into Column A is determined based on the level of analysis the organization chooses to perform – specific Occupational Series (i.e. Wildlife Biologist 486) or Series Groups (i.e. Professional Science Series, Technical Science Series).
  2. Current workforce - number of employees in that Occupational Series or Series Group
  3. Short Term Expected Losses (0-3 years) –number of employees the organization expects to lose in the next 0-3 years due to any type of attrition
  4. Current Workforce Less Short Term Expected Losses –number of current workforce minus short term expected losses
  5. Short Term Expected Hires (0-3 years) – number of employees the organization anticipates hiring for the Occupational Series or Series Group within the next 0-3 years
  6. Short Term Future Workforce (3 years out)– addition of current workforce less short term expected losses plus short term expected hires (0-3 years)
  7. Long Term Workforce Needs (4-5 years) – number of employees the organization forecasts it needs for the Occupational Series or Series Group in the next 4-5 years
  8. 5 year future workforce gap or surplus – subtraction of short term future workforce from long term workforce needs . A negative ( ) workforce gap value reflects the number of ADDITIONAL future employees needed. A positive value, or surplus, means an expected surplus-to-needs situation of employees.

The completion of the Occupational Gap Analysis Form will reveal the gaps in meeting future workforce requirements based on the current workforce. A negative ( ) workforce gap value reflects the number of future employees needed. A positive value, or surplus, means an expected surplus-to-needs situation. Once the gap or surplus between future needs (demand) and current workforce (supply) is identified, prioritize the most significant gaps that have the greatest impact on the achieving the strategic direction of the organization. This analysis and prioritization leads to the development of an action plan to address the gaps.

While the above example demonstrates a gap analysis for occupational series, the same table could be modified and used to analyze gaps for series groups, i.e. Science – Professional, Science – Technical, Non-Science - Administrative

A
B
C
D
E
F
G
H
Occupational Series or Series Groups Current Workforce Short Term Expected Losses (0-3 years)

Current Workforce Less Short Term Expected Losses (B-C)

Short Term Expected Hires (0-3 years)

Short Term Future Workforce (3 years out) (D+E)

Long Term Workforce Needs (4-5 years)

5 Year Future Workforce Gap or Surplus (F-G)

Science - Professional 100 20 80 10 90 80 10
               
               

Deciding which dimension to analyze the workforce – occupational series and/or series groups – needs to be made case-by-case, based on the level of analysis that makes sense for the organization.

Gaps can also be examined through the perspective of skills via a skill gap analysis. For example, a large occupational series with many specialties may want to look at whether current employees have the skills within their occupational series required to meet future functional and mission requirements. A sample skill gap analysis is found in Appendix F.

The following steps provide an overview of how to conduct a skills analysis.

  1. Identify the job skills required for future positions in the organization.
  2. Determine whether current employees possess the skills required by the identified positions. This determination is commonly achieved by surveying employees and/or supervisors.
  3. Analyze the difference (if any) between current employee skills and future organizational needs. The results of the skills analysis will establish the focus of recruiting and training efforts.


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