WASHINGTON — The number of veterans in federal jobs rose slightly in fiscal 2016, but the total of new hires with military experience dropped for the first time in three years, according to data released this week from the Office of Personnel Management.
The report, which tracks executive branch worker data from October 2015 to September 2016, reflects government staffing in the months before the 2016 election. It does not include staffers in congressional offices.
About 31 percent of all government workers in executive departments were veterans at the end of fiscal 2016, compared to about 26 percent in fiscal 2009.
The majority of those veterans with federal posts are in the departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs. Combined, those two agencies boast nearly 450,000 of the government’s 625,000-plus employees with military experience. Nearly half of all Defense Department civilian employees and one-third of all VA workers are veterans.
Despite those totals, OPM officials said the number of new veteran hires by federal departments dropped by about 500 individuals from fiscal 2015 to fiscal 2016. That’s a decrease of less than 1 percent, but also marks the first time since fiscal 2013 the number did not go up.
In 2009, then President Barack Obama issued an executive order charging federal agencies to increase job opportunities for veterans to utilize their “skills, training and dedication to public service.”
Even with the smaller number of new hires, the total percentage of veterans in the federal workforce grew about 2 percent in fiscal 2016.
The number of disabled veterans in those jobs rose by nearly 6 percent, however. Of those 259,000-plus employees, nearly two-thirds have a disability rating of more than 30 percent.
According to the OPM report, women made up one in five of federal employees with military experience, and about 26 percent of the veterans were military retirees. The average pay for a veteran with a government job was about $76,000 annually.