Law firms looking to recruit Capitol Hill staffers might want to stress how their firms offer a better balance between work and personal life, have a good office culture and allow more time for projects, according to a new study released today.
The research report, "Life in Congress: Aligning Work and Life in the U.S. House and Senate," shows that congressional staffers feel they work longer hours than counterparts in the private sector. Two in five staffers say they would leave Congress "[t]o seek better balance between work and personal life."
One out of three staffers said they did not have enough time to get all their assignments done, including almost half of the staffers in policy/legislative/research roles, according to the study by the Congressional Management Foundation and the Society for Human Resource Management.
Many also feel that the quality of their work is suffering under their workload, with one in four staffers saying they have too much work to do everything well. Part of that is the nature of the Hill, where legal counsel, for example, often have a short amount of time to get up to date on legal issues breaking in the political arena.
But the study's results don't necessarily translate directly to Capitol Hill counsel, who often are just more interested in making more money and don’t complain about work demands, said Jordan Abshire of Abshire Legal Search in Arlington.
The study sought to identify ways for members of Congress and their senior managers to retain top talent longer and reduce the burden of constantly hiring and training employees. But it also sheds light on Congress as a workplace, which is usually portrayed in fictional media in a way that is "usually hyperbolic, negative, and inaccurate."
The most important aspect of job satisfaction cited by congressional staff was "Overall office culture," with 79 percent of respondents rating it as "very important." However, only 41 percent were very satisﬁed with their ofﬁce culture—a gap of 38 percentage points.