Wyoming Government Is Hemorrhaging Employees
HELP WANTED: Wyoming state employees are leaving, and it's almost impossible to find anyone to fill those jobs.
Roughly a quarter of Wyoming’s executive branch agency employees left their jobs between July 2021 and June 2022, according to a new report by the Department of Administration and Information. (Wyofile).
The numbers are a result of a mix of reasons. They include those transferring departments as well as those that left state government altogether. Retirements made up about 18% of turnover.
The state’s ongoing retention problem has accelerated.
Gov. Mark Gordon and lawmakers asked lawmakers for a two-step pay increase during the 2022 budget session. The average, state worker is paid 19.4% below other state governments.
“So even though we made a lot of progress with our July increases, we’re still pretty far behind on our market data,” Erin Williams, division administrator for A&I, told the Legislative Management Audit Committee in late September. (Wyofile).
Below are the raw numbers according to the Wyofile.
Sixteen agencies had their highest turnover since at least 2011 including the Department of Environmental Quality (23.1%), the Department of Family Services (28.1%), the Department of Health (38.8%), the Military Department (36.7%), the Department of Revenue and Taxation (28.8%) and the Department of Transportation (23.4%).
Thirty-three out of 54 agencies saw their turnover rate increase in the last fiscal year, including the Department of Agriculture (23%), the Department of Audit (19.20%), the Department of Corrections (20.80%), and the Department of Education (15%).
Separations were especially concentrated among new state employees. About 55% of turnover were those that had worked no more than five years for the state and around 72% were those that had nine or fewer years under their belts.
But the problems are not just about pay. There are some work issues that need to be addressed.
“What are we doing to change the culture?” Sen. Mike Gierau (D-Jackson) said during the Joint Appropriations Committee meeting. The lawmaker said he’d be more willing to vote for more money down the road if employee policy changes, such as allowing people to work from home, were part of the equation. (Wyofile).
Wyoming has been working toward smaller governments as revenue from energy production has dropped. Attrition is one way to achieve that. Let the job vanish if you will. Save the money. But some of those positions are needed. So how does Wyoming fill those positions and keep that person from leaving?