The Public Sector Skills Gap: Empowerment through Data in a Time of Change


With more than a quarter of the U.S. workforce projected to be over age 55 by 2022, the public sector is already feeling the effects of this “Silver Tsunami,” as advanced skill sets, experience, and institutional knowledge are following Baby Boomer retirees out the door. This draining talent pool must be filled with a new, millennial workforce, whose members are entering public service with very different skills and expectations.

As the workforce shifts, data is emerging as the new knowledge base, or critical asset, for organizational sustainability in the 21st Century. The skills needed to bridge the gap between attrition and adaptation center around the ability to leverage technology to analyze, contextualize, and communicate around data - government’s most readily-available yet most underutilized value-creating resource. Especially in periods of change, moving raw data to actionable insights will create efficiencies and help governments solve problems and achieve strategic goals faster, and with less waste.

As Massachusetts State Comptroller Tom Shack noted, “No one is going to hire their way out of the Silver Tsunami. We’re going to have to tech our way out of it.”

This paper examines data’s ability to transform challenge into opportunity. Government organizations can no longer expect to do more with less; they must do things differently with less.

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