By David G. Barry
Illustrating the difficulty that public pension funds and employers in general have had in dealing with job openings, The Los Angeles County Employees Retirement Association (LACERA) finds itself trying to fill 20% of its total positions, including perhaps most significantly nearly a quarter of its investment division.
“Currently our focus is to fill critical vacancies across the organization, beginning within our investment division,” said LACERA spokesman Eric Rose. Specifically, he said the $73.8 billion pension fund anticipates filling five active investment vacancies listed on its website in “the coming months.” Those positions include three finance analysts and a senior investment officer for real estate.
In a late April report to the LACERA Board of Investments, the pension fund’s CEO, Santos H. Kreimann, said that “filling vacant positions continues to be a high priority” and that the executive team, human resources and the investment division met “to clearly outline their hiring priorities and develop a recruitment strategy.” As of late April, there were 11 vacancies in investments, equaling a 24% vacancy rate, Kreimann wrote. Other openings in the investment department that LACERA is looking to fill by year end include deputy chief investment officer and a principal investment officer.
Overall, he said LACERA has 508 budgeted positions, of which 101 are vacant – a 20% vacancy rate. Rose, the LACERA spokesman, said the pension fund’s current vacancy rate of more than 20% can be attributed to “a combination of attrition, promotion, and newly added positions.”
Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, the vacancy rate, he said, was 16% in fiscal year 2018 and 15% in fiscal year 2019. Rose said that because of the pandemic, “our hiring practices slowed down due to constraints within our civil service process. In fiscal year 2021, the vacancy rate was 18% and has now grown to 20%, he said.