Opportunity Lost Openness in the Employment Process

U.S. Office of Personnel Management
The merit system principles state ""that recruitment should be from qualified individuals from all segments of society ... after fair and open competition which assures that all receive equal opportunity."" Providing public notice of available employment opportunities is central to achieving fair and open competition. Public announcement of merit promotion vacancies acquired even greater importance when downsizing in the Federal sector resulted in the development of an “empowered employee” outplacement model. This approach provided displaced employees with consideration priority for agency merit promotion vacancies and noncompetitive actions such as reinstatement. To exercise their priority, however, displaced employees must be able to learn of available opportunities, and public notice was mandated for filling most vacancies in the competitive service.
To determine the extent to which vacancies subject to this requirement are actually made known to the public, we conducted a study of FY 1997 placement actions made by Federal agencies subject to public notice requirements. Using a computer matching program and statistical sampling techniques, the study showed significant findings.
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