Because of the president's hiring freeze, the government will not give its PACE (Professional and Administrative Career Exam) until the fall. And Uncle Sam has stopped advertising vacancies for $50,000-per-year jobs in its elite Senior Executive Service.

In normal times more than 100,000 people, most of them recent college graduates, take the PACE each year hoping to land jobs in Grade 5 to 7 range starting at $12,000 to $15,000. Each week the government advertises career openings in the SES, mostly at the $50,000 to $52,000 range.

The Office of Personnel Management decided to suspend the PACE -- due to be given between March 7 and May 2 here and around the nation -- until federal agencies "have a clearer picture as to employment needs." On Friday this column reported that President Reagan's budget (it goes to Congress Wednesday) will call for job cuts ranging from 5 percent to 6 percent for many agencies, and that those cuts, if Congress goes along, would force some agencies into layoffs.

Last year more than 102,000 people took the PACE but only 4,674 were hired from it. Currently the PACE register has 40,000 names.

OPM job centers have been accepting applications for the 1981 tests but because of the freeze, which has almost completely shut off federal hiring, OPM says the PACE will probably not be resumed until the fall.

Donald J. Devine, associate professor of government and politics at the University of Maryland, has been nominated to be the new director of the Office of Personnel Management. Devine, 43, headed the Reagan transition team at the OPM. He has been active in GOP affairs and -- unlike many new converts to conservatism -- has been a long-time Reagan backer. His appointment is expected to breeze through the Senate.