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Security Clearance Hiring Trends

Information on the cleared population, processing times, background investigations, and cleared hiring trends.

SUPPLY AND DEMAND

A historical look at cleared candidates vs. security-cleared jobs.

2013

  • Sequester
  • Budget Cuts
  • Government Shutdown

2015

  • OPM Hack
  • Lower Unemployment
  • Cleared Pool Decrease

2017

  • Background Investigation Delays
  • More Global Threats
  • Rise in Government Budgets

2019

  • Clearance Backlog
  • Cleared Pool Decrease
  • Distaste for Gov Work

THERE ARE FEWER CLEARED CANDIDATES IN CIRCULATION

The cleared population is down by 27% since 2014. The good news? It's leveled off.

2014

4.5M

2015

4.3M

2016

3.7M

2017

3.5M

2018

3.3M

2019

3.3M

2020

3.3M

BACKGROUND INVESTIGATION TIMES ARE IMPROVING DRAMATICALLY

Secret

Top Secret

Secret

Q2 2018
203 days
Q2 2019
181 days
Q2 2020
65 days

Top Secret

Q2 2018
408 days
Q2 2019
356 days
Q2 2020
119 days

WHAT RECRUITERS ARE SAYING

Feedback on how the competitive security-cleared marketplace affects hiring. 

Want to Learn More About The Security-Cleared Recruiting Environment?
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THE SECURITY-CLEARED MARKETPLACE UNDER PRESSURE

Changing perceptions in the workforce, low unemployment, and ongoing issues with lengthy clearance processing times have yielded the most challenging hiring environment ever for security-cleared employers.

Recruiters and hiring managers are under pressure, having to prove their own worth in a marketplace where fewer hires and increased costs are now the norm.

Evan Lesser, founder of ClearanceJobs, and Charles Sowell, Chief Operating Officer at iWorks Corporation discuss the latest in the cleared marketplace, as well as offer advice on what—and what not—to do:

 

REFERENCES

ClearanceJobs collects stats and information from a variety of Federal sources. The most recent information that is publicly available will always be posted here.

Questions and answers related to U.S. Government security clearances, including those administered under the National Industrial Security Program (NISP), have been compiled by ClearanceJobs on our Security Clearance FAQ page

 

National Background Investigations Bureau (NBIB) Updates includes data on the timeliness performance for submission, investigation, and adjudication processing times for DoD Industry, DoE and NRC.


Annual Report on Security Clearance Determinations report issued by The Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI). The report includes data on the number of cleared employees and contractors, as well as current security clearance processing times. 2017 is the most recent information publicly available. 


Insider Threat and Security Clearance Reform progress update issued by The Performance Accountability Council’s Program Management Office. The report tracks progress on mitigating the inherent risks and vulnerabilities posed by personnel with trusted access to government information, facilities, systems, and other personnel.

 

The Information Security Oversight Office (ISOO) issues an annual report to the President on the status of the security classification programs in both Government and industry. 2019 is the most recent publicly available information.