What is the Foreign Service Hiring Data per Cone for Generalists and Specialists?

What is the Foreign Service Hiring Data per Cone for Generalists and Specialists?

Do you know the hiring data per cone for generalists and specialists?

This was a question asked by a reader who completed my two-minute survey, and I set out to solve it.

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Official hiring data for the last six years is made available to the public by the State Department- you just have to go digging for it. Unfortunately, they do not release information on the hiring rate of individuals per cones.

This is probably done so applicants can’t try and ‘game the system’ by applying to cones that have a greater chance of being hired and/or applying to cones that have in the recent past not been hiring as much (sort of like in a blackjack, counting cards, technique).

So let me show you the hiring data of Foreign Service Officers (FSO) and Foreign Service Specialists (FSS) first and then we can try and determine what it all means.

Foreign Service Hiring Rates

*The government fiscal year is from October to September. As example, the 2015 fiscal year is from October 2014 to September 2015.

What does the above information tell us?

The most obvious is that hiring levels have fallen drastically since the height of 2010 for both FSOs and FSSs. There has been over a 60% drop in the hiring of FSOs and nearly a 50% drop for FSSs.

A year-by-year difference is shown next:

Hiring Data Percentage Change

There was an uptick in 2014, but hiring rates dropped once more in 2015 to the lowest level in six years.

In addition, it’s important to mention that the FSO numbers are not just from individuals who went through the FSO selection process starting with the test.

These numbers are also inclusive of the State Department’s Mustang Program and Diplomacy Fellows Programs.

The selection process is indeed one of the toughest to go through and accomplish. With over 20,000 individuals applying each year, we are seeing less than 1-2% become Officers.

The budget question

I’ve seen the question of projected hiring rates asked before on the official forums and the answer always come back to the budget approved for State. Earlier this year, State answered the question in the following way:

Once the Hill approves a budget, the funds are passed to the Office of Management and Budget to the Department of State. Just like all other agencies, State faces a number of decisions based on available funds, mandatory costs that must be paid, workforce projections, retirements and ongoing or new workforce demands. Safe to say that these decisions involve a number of bureaus and senior Department leadership. The end result of those consultations and decisions is a directive to State’s Bureau of Human Resources regarding “hiring authority” for any given FS class of generalists or specialists. Citation.

So this leads me to the budget question, can we project future hiring rates based on previous budget requests and approvals?

I have already started crunching the data, it’s interesting, and this will be the next post I publish.

I look forward to hearing your thoughts on the matter!

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