As a wave of younger employees, including those from Generation Y, enters the workplace, governments are working to position themselves as employers of choice. Aaron Roller, a policy analyst in the mayor's office of operations in New York City--and a Gen Y employee himself--said the idea of working for the government appealed to him for several reasons. "I realized what a tremendous opportunity it was--the idea that I could have a career and look out on the city I love and know that things are the way they are because I had an involvement in them. The idea that you can make a difference is very important to this generation."

Government must continually highlight those strengths, said Carole Post, Roller's boss and the director of agency services for the office of operations. New York is a challenge, she said, because it's "a hotly contested market--the private sector is a big employer and can pay two to three times our salaries. ... So we try to capitalize on the appeal of the mayor's office. We really have to showcase what we have to offer. We emphasize our management style: Three things we try to give employees are autonomy, access and accountability. I think young leaders thrive in this environment, knowing that the impact they have will make a difference."