Nearly a quarter of federal workers left their job after two years, which has been costly financially and talent-wise for federal agencies, a new report revealed.

The report, prepared by the Partnership for Public Service and consulting firm Booz, Allen and Hamilton, found that 24.2 percent of new government hires left from 2006 to 2008. However, at some agencies the attrition was much worse. More than a third of new hires at the Departments of Treasury, Commerce and Homeland Security left after two years. At the DHS, nearly 72 percent of executives left between 2003 to 2007.

“The government is losing too many new hires—the same talent it is working so hard to recruit and bring on board,” the report stated.

The Department of Defense lost 25.1 percent of its workers in less than two years. The Department of Commerce, which lost 36 percent of its workforce over two years, says the loss is due to the turnover of temporary or part-time workers.

The solution, the report suggests, is for federal agencies to invest in attrition analysis to find out who is leaving their organizations and why, in order to identify “attrition risks” and implement mitigation strategies.

"It’s critical for smart managers to be paying attention not only to how they recruit good talent but how they don’t lose people who are critical to the organization," said Partnership President Max Stier to Government Executive. "It may be that you’re not treating employees in the way you need to be and it may be that you aren’t choosing well."

The report identifies best practices of some governmental agencies including practices by the National Security Administration, which studies internal transfer statistics to find out why employees move.

In a May memorandum, President Obama directed federal agencies to implement changes in government hiring by November 1. Some of the changes include: resume-based systems; eliminate knowledge, skills and abilities essays; give hiring managers more responsibility to recruit and interview candidates. The president directed federal agencies to fill jobs faster and regularly update candidates on the status of their applications.

The report notes that attrition must be decreased due to the long-predicted federal work retirement “tsunami” that will result in government “brain drain”. Although the federal retirement exodus has been delayed due to the economic downturn, it is expected to happen soon and finding and retaining good talent will be even more important.

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Chandler Harris is a freelance business and technology writer located in Silicon Valley. He has written for numerous publications including Entrepreneur, InformationWeek, San Jose Magazine, Government Technology, Public CIO,, U.S. Banker, Digital Communities Magazine, Converge Magazine, Surfer's Journal, Adventure Sports Magazine,, and the San Jose Business Journal. Chandler is also engaged in helping companies further their content marketing needs through content strategy, optimization and creation, as well as blogging and social media platforms. When he's not writing, Chandler enjoys his beach haunt of Santa Cruz where he rides roller coasters with his son, surfs and bikes across mountain ranges.