Report Summary
Social Security Administration Office of the Inspector General

March 2010

The Social Security Administration’s Hiring and Training of Information Technology Specialists


To assess the Social Security Administration’s (SSA) human capital activities related to the hiring, training, and retention of staff who occupy the mission-critical position of information technology (IT) specialist.


SSA, like many other Federal agencies, is being challenged to address its human capital shortfalls.  To minimize the impact of the loss of human capital and address expected workload increases, SSA plans to increase its use of automation to continuously provide superior services to the American public.  The IT specialist, identified by SSA as 1 of its 15 mission-critical occupations, is crucial to the effective operation of the Agency’s present and future information systems.

As of June 30, 2009, approximately 3,715 (about 6 percent) of SSA’s 65,034 employees were classified as IT specialists.  The Agency projects about 42 percent of its IT specialists will retire by Fiscal Year (FY) 2016.  It is imperative that SSA focus on its human capital needs as its workloads increase and their complexity requires an increased level of expertise and skill.

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Our Findings

For the five Deputy Commissioner offices reviewed, we did not identify problems or concerns regarding the offices’ human capital activities related to the hiring, training, and retention of IT specialists.  The offices reported using a multitude of efforts to attract, hire, train, and retain IT specialists.  In addition, we determined the Agency had hired approximately 1.3 new IT specialists for every one IT specialist who separated from the Agency over the last 7 years.

Our Conclusion

We encourage the offices to continue periodically re-assessing their recruitment, training, and retention efforts to ensure the Agency has an IT specialist work force to meet its current and future needs.

SSA agreed with the facts presented.