State government employee total of 235,461 tops Davis administration

On June 17, 2002, the headline in Capitol Weekly was “State Government Employment Reaches Record Level of 234,505 Employees in May.” The next week, we received early morning phone calls from embarrassed state employees who were asked to remove all state government advertising in Capitol Weekly. In hushed tones, they spoke of directives from the offices of Governor Gray Davis. Within weeks, the national press was reporting the story with Brit Hume of Fox News taking the lead. Capitol Weekly had reached national stature.

Is Capitol Weekly now headed for international stature? We don’t know how the current administration will take this week’s headline of “State government employee total of 235,461 tops Davis administration.” We know that this governor is comfortable in his own skin and Republicans across the country take great pride in their “spend and spend” policies that keep them in power. It’s a good thing responsible “tax and spend” Democrats occasionally achieve power so we don’t bankrupt ourselves. (You can confirm the total number of state employees on the state controller’s Web site under “SCO Services,” then “State Employees” and then “Demographics”)

State Hiring is Way Up. May 2007 was a record month, with 5,300 new names on the state payroll. Each month Capitol Weekly receives a detailed payroll disk from the state controller’s office with the name, job title, department and salary of each state employee. We compare last month’s list of employees by agency and note the new ones who were not on last month’s list. The payroll as of 5/31/07 revealed 5,300 new names from the last payroll of 4/30/07, one month prior. There have been 22,089 new names added to the state payroll since 1/1/2007.

Not only is state hiring up, but the number of state positions also is way up, as well. State positions leaped a record 9,363 from May 31, 2006, to May 31, 2007. In good economic times when state employees are lured into the private sector at a rate of 15 percent per year and with approximately 3 percent retirement rate (for a total of 18 percent turnover), we would expect 41,400 new employees just to fill the existing ranks. With 9,363 new positions to fill, the state’s rate of hiring in 2007 will meet Capitol Weekly’s projection of over 50,000 new hires (40,500 turnover + 9,363 new positions = 50,763). We list the first half of the 5,300 May “new hires” in this section of Capitol Weekly.

What does this mean for you, the state job seeker? It means there are great opportunities to get hired by the state this year. And we suggest you focus your attention now. Generally, it takes six to 12 months of real effort to land a state job and who knows, maybe the Democratic Legislature might demand the administration stop borrowing money. That borrowed money could be your paycheck.

Who is Hiring? Every state department is always hiring, from the smallest to the largest. For the first five months of 2007, as usual, the Department of Corrections & Rehabilitation was hiring significant numbers of new employees: 4,752 in the first six months. Other large departments that were hiring in substantial numbers include the Department of Transportation (1,432), the Department of Mental Health (1,147), the Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (1,111), the Franchise Tax Board (946) the Department of Motor Vehicles (1,365), the Department of Parks & Recreation (827) and the Employment Development Department (760). Even the governor’s office is hiring in droves–64 new employees so for this year and they only have 224 employees total. Turnover is very high there and therefore so are the opportunities. Three new people are hired by the governor’s office very single week. When a state employee leaves, that is your opportunity.

What types of positions is the state hiring for? The most popular hires during the first five months of 2007 are: Correctional Officer (1,362), Office Technician (1,048), Office Assistant (787), and Staff Services Analyst (General) (426). The state hired 353 lawyers in the first five months, as well. Student assistants, one of the best ways of landing a state job, were hired at the rate of 125 per month or 626 in the first five months of the year. You can land a student assistant job within days with the state. Call a state agency today and ask if they are hiring student assistants, and when they say no, call another. By the end of the day, you’ll find a dozen hiring now.

Where are they hiring? The vast majority of state hiring continues to center in Sacramento. Of the 22,089 new hires during the first 5 months of 2007, 10,056 or nearly 50 percent occurred in the Sacramento Area. State new hires in Southern California totaled 6,091; new hires in the Bay Area totaled 1,948 and 745 were hired in Fresno County. It is far easier to get a state job outside of Sacramento simply because the competition is less intense. Every fourth household in Sacramento consists of a state employee or a retired state employee. Such households insist that their relative get Columbus Day as a paid holiday just like they did or do. A paid holiday on Columbus Day is not a normal part of family conversations in Los Angeles or San Francisco.

The state’s vacancy database confirms thousands of job opportunities. On the State Personnel Board’s Web site (, you can see the total opportunities available today. Just click on the home page “Seeking Employment with the State of California” and on the far right hand side of the next page, you’ll see the “Vacancies” link. Click on this and then click on “All Vacancies”. You’ll see approximately 4,000 current vacancies listed there. Find a job vacancy, get on a state list and apply today.

Ken Mandler teaches a monthly workshop on How to Land a State Job. The workshop focuses on a variety of tactics and strategies designed to make the state job process an effective one for you. The workshops are 3 _ hours and include over 400 pages of information for your review. The cost is $84. The next workshops are scheduled for Tuesday, July 24, 6:30-10pm; and Tuesday, August 28 6:30-10pm. You can sign up at or by calling Ken Mandler at (916) 443-6788 today. You can e-mail Ken Mandler at

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