Glassdoor finds the number of federal workers job hunting has increased 10% since first missed paycheck

A Transportation Security Administration (TSA) worker screens passengers and airport employees at O'Hare International Airport on January 07, 2019 in Chicago, Illinois.
Scott Olson | Getty Images

As the U.S. government shutdown enters its 35th day and federal workers grow increasingly frustrated, many may be contemplating a switch to the private sector.

Since Jan. 11, when government workers missed their first paycheck, the number of federal employees actively searching for jobs rose 10 percent, data from job site Glassdoor shows. That increase equates to about 400 additional workers leaving federal employment every month.

For the 800,000 federal workers who are either furloughed or working without pay, missing multiple paychecks means financial hardship.

Many workers were already living paycheck to paycheck before the shutdown and are now scrambling to make up the missing income by dipping into savings, swiping credit cards, crowdfunding, and in some cases, visiting food banks. Some have tried to replace their salaries with freelance work, selling furniture and other household items online, taking on side gigs, and, as the Glassdoor data indicates, by finding a new employer.

The shutdown isn't just driving current employees away, though. It is also deterring other job seekers from applying to open positions within federal agencies. The number of applications Glassdoor received for federal government roles fell 46 percent compared to this time last year.

It's a trend the company expects to continue to worsen. Part of that drop off in interested applicants likely stems from the fact that candidates know they won't be hired as long as the shutdown continues, but Glassdoor also thinks workers are wary of facing a similar predicament in the future.

"Not only has the shutdown put a temporary pause on hiring, but it also hurts the federal government's reputation as an employer and its ability to attract top talent," writes Daniel Zhao, part of Glassdoor's economic research team, on the company's blog. "Although current workers may ride out the storm in order to keep their benefits, the highly-publicized shutdown isn't a good recruiting moment for prospective workers and may discourage aspiring candidates from applying to government jobs in the first place."

That could be a big problem for the government down the line, as it typically needs to hire around 30,000 workers a month, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and is already having to compete fiercely for talent in this era of record-low unemployment.

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