Oil and Gas: Interior Has Begun to Address Hiring and Retention Challenges but Needs to Do More

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A letter report issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "The Department of the Interior (Interior) continues to face challenges hiring and retaining staff with key skills needed to manage and oversee oil and gas operations on federal leases. Interior officials noted two major factors that contribute to challenges in hiring and retaining staff: lower salaries and a slow hiring process compared with similar positions in industry. In response to GAO's survey, officials from a majority of the offices in the three Interior bureaus that manage oil and gas activities--the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), the ... continued below

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United States. Government Accountability Office. January 31, 2014.

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Description

A letter report issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "The Department of the Interior (Interior) continues to face challenges hiring and retaining staff with key skills needed to manage and oversee oil and gas operations on federal leases. Interior officials noted two major factors that contribute to challenges in hiring and retaining staff: lower salaries and a slow hiring process compared with similar positions in industry. In response to GAO's survey, officials from a majority of the offices in the three Interior bureaus that manage oil and gas activities--the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM), and the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE)--reported ongoing difficulties filling vacancies, particularly for petroleum engineers and geologists. Many of these officials also reported that retention is an ongoing concern as staff leave for positions in industry. Bureau of Labor Statistics data confirm a wide gap between industry and federal salaries for petroleum engineers and geologists. According to Office of Personnel Management (OPM) data, the fiscal year 2012 attrition rate for petroleum engineers at BLM was over 20 percent, or more than double the average federal attrition rate of 9.1 percent. However, the attrition rate for other key oil and gas staff during fiscal year 2012 was lower than the federal average. Nonetheless, field office officials stated that attrition is of concern because some field offices have only a few employees in any given position, and a single separation can significantly affect operations. Additionally, Interior records show that the average time required to hire petroleum engineers and inspectors in recent months generally exceeded 120 calendar days--much longer than OPM's target of 80 calendar days."

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Government Accountability Office Reports

The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) is an independent, nonpartisan agency that works for the U.S. Congress investigating how the federal government spends taxpayers' money. Its goal is to increase accountability and improve the performance of the federal government. The Government Accountability Office Reports Collection consists of over 13,000 documents on a variety of topics ranging from fiscal issues to international affairs.

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  • January 31, 2014

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  • June 12, 2014, 7:50 p.m.

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United States. Government Accountability Office. Oil and Gas: Interior Has Begun to Address Hiring and Retention Challenges but Needs to Do More, report, January 31, 2014; Washington D.C.. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc296207/: accessed October 19, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.