A government's employees embody the government's services to most residents. The City of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, like many U.S. cities, faces issues in attracting top talent and diversifying its workforce while adhering to long-standing regulations that often restrict the pool of candidates.
This is why top city officials asked The Pew Charitable Trusts to examine municipal hiring practices. Three-quarters of Philadelphia's municipal workforce has reached retirement age or will in the next 15 years--creating an opportunity to bring in a new generation of workers.
City officials also felt that their recruiting and hiring practices were inefficient, making it difficult to attract qualified applicants, particularly younger people to replenish the aging workforce and highly skilled workers.
Interviews with more than 40 officials who deal with Philadelphia's hiring practices determined that hiring and promotion practices were cumbersome, inflexible, and slow. In the period studied (from 2013 to 2015), the median time between an individual submitting an application and getting selected for a position was 360 days, and some applicants waited for up to two years.
Philadelphia's hiring practices were little changed since 1952 and some made it difficult to fill positions. For example, the "Rule of Two" limits a hiring manager to considering only the two candidates who place highest on an...