Wrong: My 2016 FY FSO and FSS Hiring Rate Prediction

The Department of State Foreign Service hiring numbers for Fiscal Year (FY) 2016 were recently made public, and I was wrong in my prediction. This makes me happy.

To recap, in March 2016 I tried to predict what the hiring rates would be. I believed the hiring rates would continue to decline as in previous years. The numbers I came up with after researching the budget and math (the latter being questionable) were:

FSO: 200
FSS: 186
Total: 386

Fortunately, the FY 2016 hiring numbers were actually:

FSO: 353
FSS: 265
Total: 618

Woop woop!

The numbers are still well below the 2010 hiring surge but hopefully this progression will continue. Then again, this could be similar to the 2013 – 2015 hiring rates, in which we saw a decrease in 2013, an increase in 2014, and then a sharper decrease in 2015. If this pattern holds, we will see lower numbers in 2017 (lower than 2015). A graph of this seesaw motion follows:

I don’t want to be pessimistic though, so here is to hoping the numbers will actually increase! We will have to wait to see the new budget, anything made public by State, and the direction the new administration will take the country in.

Additionally, if we continue to use the test taking rate of 20,000 applicants a year, this means that 1.76% of those who took the test, became officers. That said, the hiring rate of FSOs also includes those who go through the mustang program and fellowship programs, so the % may actually be lower.


What do you all think of this hiring increase?

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