Survey: Federal employee satisfaction declines

None Corbis
Federal employees' satisfaction with their jobs declined slightly overall in 2011, according to a new survey of the best places to work in government.

The nonprofit Partnership for Public Service on Wednesday released its annual rankings of large and small agencies and announced the results of a survey that found governmentwide employee satisfaction and commitment dipped this year from a score of 65 points in 2010 to 64 points out of a possible 100. Sixty-four points still is 5.7 percent higher than the score in 2003, when the group first published its rankings.

"The 1.5 percent drop is not as steep as one might have expected, given the difficult economic and political climate that has led to a federal pay freeze, the national discussion around reduced worker benefits, threats of government shutdowns and the certainty of significant agency budget cuts," said the survey's summary.

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation garnered the top spot for employee satisfaction in the large agency category, followed by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and the Government Accountability Office. FDIC also was the most improved large federal agency, increasing its score 8.5 percent from 2010. Rounding out the top 10 best places to work in the large agency category were:

  • Smithsonian Institution
  • NASA
  • Social Security Administration
  • State Department
  • Intelligence Community
  • Office of Personnel Management
  • General Services Administration

Respondents ranked the Surface Transportation Board as the number one small agency to work at, followed by the Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board and the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service. The National Archives and Records Administration was the lowest-rated large agency for the second consecutive year; the departments of Housing and Urban Development and Homeland Security also received low scores on employee satisfaction. In the small agency category, the Office of the U.S Trade Representative ranked at the bottom.

Effective senior leadership still is the primary driver in worker satisfaction, according to the analysis. Federal employees gave senior leadership a score of 54.9 out of 100 for their efforts. Other important factors included satisfaction with pay, which dropped 6.1 percent from 2010, to a score of 59.1, and the link between employees' skills and agencies' missions, which received a score of 78.6.

The analysis also found that private-sector workers continue to be more satisfied with their jobs than their counterparts in government.

The survey included 308 federal organizations: 33 large agencies, 35 small agencies and 240 subcomponents. It's based on data from the Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey, which included 266,000 respondents.

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
Close [ x ] More from GovExec

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Going Agile:Revolutionizing Federal Digital Services Delivery

    Here’s one indication that times have changed: Harriet Tubman is going to be the next face of the twenty dollar bill. Another sign of change? The way in which the federal government arrived at that decision.

  • Cyber Risk Report: Cybercrime Trends from 2016

    In our first half 2016 cyber trends report, SurfWatch Labs threat intelligence analysts noted one key theme – the interconnected nature of cybercrime – and the second half of the year saw organizations continuing to struggle with that reality. The number of potential cyber threats, the pool of already compromised information, and the ease of finding increasingly sophisticated cybercriminal tools continued to snowball throughout the year.

  • Featured Content from RSA Conference: Dissed by NIST

    Learn more about the latest draft of the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology guidance document on authentication and lifecycle management.

  • GBC Issue Brief: The Future of 9-1-1

    A Look Into the Next Generation of Emergency Services

  • GBC Survey Report: Securing the Perimeters

    A candid survey on cybersecurity in state and local governments

  • The New IP: Moving Government Agencies Toward the Network of The Future

    Federal IT managers are looking to modernize legacy network infrastructures that are taxed by growing demands from mobile devices, video, vast amounts of data, and more. This issue brief discusses the federal government network landscape, as well as market, financial force drivers for network modernization.

  • eBook: State & Local Cybersecurity

    CenturyLink is committed to helping state and local governments meet their cybersecurity challenges. Towards that end, CenturyLink commissioned a study from the Government Business Council that looked at the perceptions, attitudes and experiences of state and local leaders around the cybersecurity issue. The results were surprising in a number of ways. Learn more about their findings and the ways in which state and local governments can combat cybersecurity threats with this eBook.


When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.