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Check Out Route Fifty’s State and Local Government Management Challenges Survey Results

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Connecting state and local government leaders

Our new survey of government leaders finds hiring difficulties, funding red tape and cash-strapped technology budgets among the top 2016 management challenges for agencies.

State and local government employees say addressing workforce needs is the most pressing concern for their organization, according to a nationwide study conducted by Route Fifty and Government Business Council (GBC) released Wednesday. Ninety percent of respondents consider human capital issues to be a challenge for their organization, and only 41 percent believe their organization is prepared for the coming retirement wave of Baby Boomers.

Just 40 percent of respondents indicate their organization is competitive with the private sector in its ability to recruit and hire talent. Among state government employees, this level of confidence drops to only 18 percent. In addition, more than one in three respondents reports diversity and representation gaps in their organization relative to the demographics of their constituents.

The October 2015 study surveyed government leaders across all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia, who rank budget planning and IT Management as the next greatest areas of difficulty after workforce issues.

“Many of the management challenges facing state and local governments are related to their budget problems,” said Michael Grass, Executive Editor of Route Fifty. “Some still haven’t fully recovered from the Great Recession but face demand for services that have actually increased since then. Limited budgets are constraining organizations across the board, whether it comes to attracting talented employees or investing in the technology to modernize services for citizens.”

When asked to elaborate on the strain of limited resources, 57 percent of respondents say their organizations encounter more red tape than in the past regarding funding and grants. Just 43 percent of respondents believe their organization has the budget to sufficiently invest in IT modernization. Meanwhile, only half (53 percent) of respondents believe their organization has accurate and complete performance data with which to make budget decisions.

The survey also uncovered key issues facing states and localities in other areas such as collaboration, data-driven decision making, and acquisition and procurement. These findings include:

  • Seventy-nine percent of respondents consider collaboration to be challenging for their organizations, including 13 percent who say it is the number one challenge.
  • Only 44 percent of respondents believe employees at their organizations have the training needed to make data-based decisions.
  • Sixty-six percent of respondents indicate acquisition and procurement to be a challenge for their organizations.

The Route Fifty / GBC report, 2016 Top Management Challenges for State & Local Government, assesses the perceptions, attitudes, and experiences of employees serving in state and local government organizations nationwide. The study is based on survey data collected from 928 individuals, over half of whom identify as C-suite or executive level leaders in their organization.

  • Click here to view the complete report.
  • Full data and survey questionnaire can be found here.

About Route Fifty

Route Fifty is a digital, business-to-business publication and events brand covering and connecting state, county, and city governments across the United States. Building on the success of Government Executive’s State & Local channel, launched in July 2014, Route Fifty is designed as a stand-alone brand serving the needs of state and local government managers with news, analysis, and tools to help them better serve their citizens.

About Government Business Council

As Government Executive Media Group's research division, Government Business Council (GBC) is dedicated to advancing the business of government through analysis, insight and analytical independence. As an extension of Government Executive's 40 years of exemplary editorial standards and a commitment to the highest ethical values, GBC studies influential decision makers from across federal, state, and local government to produce intelligence-based research and analysis.