Who’s Counting?

Oct 4, 2008
This article is part of a series called News & Trends.

The 2010 Census recruiting campaign launched this week with a new website and recruiting videos that target a diverse workforce, along with a toll-free jobs line (866-861-2010) that provides information to interested applicants in English and Spanish. Callers are automatically routed to the appropriate local office, where they speak with a recruiter. One hundred fifty offices are already open to take applicant calls and a personal, localized touch is part of the recruiting strategy — so the bureau chose not to have applicants apply online.

The U.S. Census Bureau recruited 3.7 million applicants and hired 1 million temporary census-takers for the 2000 Census, which was the largest peacetime recruitment of American workers in history; the goal for the 2010 Census is 3.8 million applicants. The 2010 hires (explored in more detail in an upcoming issue of the Journal of Corporate Recruiting Leadership) are likely to be a little older and more ethnically diverse than the last, because the population demographics have shifted since 2000 and the bureau maintains a goal of hiring contingent workers that reflect the local community.

Based upon data compiled by the Census Bureau and the Bureau of Labor Statistics, these will be the major demographic shifts from 2000 to 2010 that the bureau must address through its diversity hiring initiatives:

  • Between 2000 and 2010 the number of people who are between the ages of 45 and 64 will increase nearly 30%.
  • The Hispanic population will grow 34% from 35.6 million to 47.8 million.
  • The African-American and Asian populations will outpace the growth of whites.

Census Bureau leaders say there’s no magic bullet for meeting the recruiting numbers and the diversity goals, so recruiters from local census offices will be out in force at churches, community centers, and schools. But given the aging population, the Bureau has also taken steps to tap pools of retirees and a diverse applicant base.

“I requested permission to hire retirees (federal government annuitants) and that rule was changed beginning this calendar year,” says Tyra Dent Smith, chief of the human resources division for The U.S. Census Bureau. “The annuitants will be able to work without any offset to their salaries.”

In addition, Dent Smith applied for other waivers that will allow federal employees to moonlight if they wish to work as part-time census-takers. People receiving federal assistance will also be allowed to work without benefit offsets.

In preparation for the main event, the bureau runs a series of dress rehearsals and test censuses.

This article is part of a series called News & Trends.
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