An estimated 2,500 Democratic Hill staffers, once employed by members of Congress who lost during the midterm elections, will soon enter the already congested job market.
Those who work in staffer positions such as legislative assistants, legislative directors, communications directors, press secretaries and new media coordinators entered their jobs knowing that they were temporary. In today’s political landscape, even jobs with veteran lawmakers are not secure, as there have been plenty occasions of them being out seated. A perfect example is this year’s ouster of Arlen Spector, a 30-year Senate veteran, who was defeated by Joe Sestak in the Democratic primaries earlier this year.
Notwithstanding political realities of the job, however, unlike other years when one party experiences sweeping losses, this year, Democratic staffers are finding themselves facing a very congested job market where even the K street firms are turning up their noses at them. Insiders say that the lobbying firms are staffing up with Republicans to ensure they have influence with the new Republican Freshman class. Headhunters, too, were reported as scouting out Republican or conservative types even before the midterms.
All of this doom and gloom for Democratic staffers spell fortune for conservative or Republican job hunters who are getting in line to fill out the new offices that will need assistance. Even for those who were not on a list of 75-80 top Hill staffers circulated by the Republican leadership for chief jobs, opportunity still abounds in the lower ranks.
The Washington Post reported that “60 victorious GOP [House] candidates are expected to hire more than 1,000 new aides in their personal offices…the six new GOP senators are likely to hire around 150 personal office aides, and more Republican committee staff members will be sitting behind the senators at hearings.”
All is not lost for the Democratic staffers though, and a review of the latest listing for Hill jobs posted by Congressional Quarterly showed that Democrats and Republicans are adverting actively to fill jobs. The Senate Placement’s office job bulletin and the House Vacancy bulletin had several listings. Likewise, the Hill newspapers, the Washington Post and Monster.com had some recent listing of government relations (read Lobbyist) related jobs.
As an alternative, staffers could use the opportunity of a shift in power to start their own venture. Certainly, Washington can expect to see a slight rise in new consulting firms.
For those that can’t land a coveted spot at a lobbying firm, public relations firm or as a commentator or pundit at a news organization, or within a regulated organization or trade group, there are options that do not involve working in Washington or for the government that former staffers could explore. And the job market being what it is, any opportunity counts!