Expansion or Contraction?

Since the beginning the Obama Administration, there are two issues that have had a significant effect on the hiring of international development professionals by the US Agency for International Development.

USAID HQ at the Reagan Building

USAID Headquarters at the Ronald Reagan International Trade Center. Source: Wikimedia.org

The first of these is the 2013 federal budget sequestration, which cut the international foreign assistance budget by US$ 1.7 billion.  This cut heavily affected USAID’s development programming, but humanitarian programming seems to be unaffected.  In addition to limiting the number of hiring opportunities on targeted programs, the sequestration cuts resulted in the hiring of just 76,735 federal employees in FY13, a 14.5% drop from FY12.

This is concurrent with a trend towards insourcing functions that have been contracted out to external agencies. Beginning in 2010, USAID began to insource the functions of a large portion of their contracted staff, particularly in the realms of technology, communications, and its technical specialists.

It is unclear either of these will impact the current relationships with USAID IQC Contractors or the PVO agencies we spoke about in Acronym Salad: Part I, over the long term.  But this will have medium-term effects on how the US government carries out overseas development programming and the career paths of those of you who are looking to change the world outside of our borders.