Only about 500 "outsiders" each year manage to clear all the bureaucratic hurdles and grab one of the 180,000 mid-management jobs in government that pay from $26,000 to $36,000 to start.

Carter administration officials are concerned about the relatively small number of individuals who come into government each year into important administrative, techincal and managerial jobs.

Although thousands of vacancies come up annually at the Grade 13, 14 and 15 levels, the majority of them are filled in-house by government workers who have seniority and expertise and who know when vacancies occur and how to get them.

White House officials say that entering the government at the middle and upper levels can be a difficult and perplexing chore for someone who doesn't know the ropes.

For example, more than 18,000 people were rated "qualified" for GS 13, 14 and 15 level jobs last year. That means they met relatively high standards of work, education and related experience, and were qualified, in the government's eyes, for those senior level jobs. Of that number, only about 500 actually were hired in nonscientific occupations.

To make it easier for aggressive, qualified outsiders, the Civil Service Commission - as reported here yesterday - will cancel blanket "hunting licences" for everybody now rated "eligible" for senior level jobs. The ratings meant they had met minimum standards and could be called on and considered when jobs at those GS 13 through 15 levels came up.

Under the new system, which will begin in mid-August, outsiders seeking midlevel federal jobs will have to be more persistent in pursuing them keeping up with openings and applying to the agency or CSC (usually CSC) when they find a job that matches theirs talents and skills.

Instead of getting an "eligibility" rating and then waiting to be called, the new system will mean that the more aggressive job-seekers will be the only people considered for most midlevel positions. The would-be job hunter will first have to find the job, then establish his or her eligibility. Officials believe it could increase the in-take of outsiders into the well paying management jobs, and will certainly reduce the number of people now eligible for blanket consideration but who, in fact, stand little chance of ever being called for a job interview.

Contrary to the report here yesterday, CSC officials say that few agencies will be given the authority to rate candidates for midlevel jobs and accept applications directly. In most cases the commission will continue to do that, although some agencies will be authorized to handle their own rating and hiring in time.

Honesty In Government: Union leaders, former federal officials and some famous whistle-blowers will be on hand at a free symposium Thursday at 7:30 p.m. at the Sheraton Park Hotel. The panel will feature a discussion of the advantages and dangers of the civil service "reform" package.Nicholas J. Oganovic, former executive director of the Civil Service Commission and author Victor Marchetti will speak. The session is sponsored by the Church of Scientology, which is conducting what it calls an honesty-in-government program.

Second-Career Training: The General Accounting Office says taxpayers are paying an average of $370,000 per employee for a two-year program to retrain incapacitated air traffic controllers for new jobs.

GAO says the program ought to be dropped, since relatively few of the controllers who experience medical or mental problems in their high-stress jobs take advantage of the retraining. Instead, GAO says, most controllers removed from duty used other programs - including disability compensation or disability retirement to provide themselves with income.