With federal budget cuts looming on the horizon, government agencies are looking for ways to reduce their expenses without significantly impacting operations. One area where federal managers are looking to cut costs is travel. Between flights, hotels, rental cars, and other expenses, sending federal employees to conferences and other remote work functions is a costly proposition — even more so in these lean economic times.

In November, an executive order from the White House called on federal agencies to reduce their travel budgets by 20 percent. Travel is to be limited to trips required for enforcement inspections, diplomatic missions, or when travel is absolutely necessary. Furthermore, each federal agency must appoint a high level official to be in charge of the cost reduction efforts. What does this mean for federal workers? Less conferences and more teleconferencing.

Will it work? Yes, according to Rick Singer, Executive Director of the Society of Government Travel Professionals. In an article by Andy Medici in The Federal Times, Mr. Singer said he expects travel spending by federal agencies to decrease by 20 percent following The White Houses’ executive order.

"The word ‘conference’ has become a bad word in the government," claimed Singer, instead federal agencies will opt for smaller regional conferences instead of larger, national ones.

Whether the travel cuts will have a significant benefit to federal spending has yet to be seen, but one thing is clear: federal agencies are tightening their belts and looking to shrink their budgets any way they can. The cuts in travel spending will have effects for federal job seekers. As federal managers look to replace travel-heavy jobs with more teleconferencing work, a willingness to spend time on the road will be less of an advantage for young, single job seekers. Traditionally, jobs requiring workers to spend weeks even months on the road on a regular basis attracted a smaller pool of applicants since many older job seekers were unwilling to spend time away from their families. These jobs were a way for young people to get a leg up over older, more experienced applicants. Now however, those travel-intensive jobs will likely be drying up, forcing young workers to compete directly against the more experienced.

Mike Jones is a researcher, writer, and analyst on national and international security. He lives in the DC area.

Related News

Mike Jones is a researcher, writer, and analyst on national and international security. He lives in the DC area.