Florida state agencies struggle with hiring employees, retaining staff

Amid a national worker shortage, state agencies are struggling to fill vacant positions and retain employees, including those who care for some of Florida’s most vulnerable citizens.

Many employees are leaving state government jobs because they’re overworked and underpaid, according to a presentation Wednesday to a Senate committee.

A flood of better-paying positions in the private sector that have opened up following widespread shutdowns during the coronavirus pandemic has exacerbated hiring problems, officials from several state agencies told the Senate Governmental Oversight and Accountability Committee.

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The number of applicants responding to state-government job advertisements dropped by nearly 35 percent over the past three years, while the number of job postings increased by 7 percent, Department of Management Services Secretary J. Todd Inman said.

The state is receiving 11.6 applications on average for each job posting, compared to an average of 37 applications per advertisement in September 2020, Inman said.

Meanwhile, searches for employees continue to skyrocket, with advertisements for state jobs jumping by more than 62 percent over the past six months, according to Inman.

The secretary said his agency, which handles many human-resources issues for the state, is among the departments scrambling to fill vacant posts.

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