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Report: State government hasn’t seen retirement spike

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Delaware’s workforce can remain steady with competitive salaries, training investment, and sign-on and retention bonuses. | DBT PHOTO BY JACOB OWENS

DOVER — State employee retirement eligibility has remained steady over the last 16 years, even during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a report released Monday. 

“We know that for the past several years, the state and private sector have faced hiring challenges,” Delaware Department of Human Resources Secretary Claire DeMatteis said in a statement. “This report provides some encouraging news that the state has not seen a spike in retirements over the past several years, and it also helps guide our workforce planning efforts to recruit and retain employees, as well as continuing to make state salaries more competitive, invest in employee training and career advancement, and promote a healthy work-life balance.”

The state reports that 23% of employees are eligible to retire by June 30, 2027, which is significantly lower than the average number of 32.5% of eligible state employees who retire annually.  

 According to the report: 

  • 12% of state employees are eligible for immediate retirement.
  • 23% of state employees can retire within the next five years.
  • 30% are eligible to retire in the next five years within the departments of Health and Social Services; Transportation; Correction; and Services for Children, Youth and Their Families.
  • 8% are eligible to retire within the next five years in the Department of Safety and Homeland Security.
  • 28% of Delaware school teachers are eligible to retire within five years.

Delaware is facing a number of challenges to retain and recruit employees, such as a skilled workforce shortage, individuals not returning to work after the pandemic, and a demographically small job-seeker pool. 

Under the direction of Gov. John Carney and the Delaware General Assembly, the state government has implemented significant measures to address recruitment and retention issues, including an average salary increase of 12% for state employees for Fiscal Years 2023 and 2024. Over the next two years, incomes for state workers at the bottom end of the pay range will increase by as much as 18%.

DHR has launched several workforce initiatives to retain and recruit staff, including:

  • Hiring incentives, including sign-on, referral and retention bonuses, as high as $10,000
  • A comprehensive recruitment, marketing and social media hiring campaign
  • Legislation to encourage delayed retirement
  • Improving data analysis to support retention
  • Creating a more uniform onboarding process
  • Providing and reviewing flexible work schedules
  • Streamlining management feedback. 

The report concludes that the state’s workforce can remain steady with competitive salaries, training investment, and sign-on and retention bonuses.

To view the report, visit the Department of Human Resources website.

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