Where to Find the Government’s Happiest Employees

Expedition 41 Flight Engineer Barry Wilmore of NASA prepares for his launch onboard the Soyuz TMA-14M spacecraft in September. NASA consistently ranks well on employee surveys. Expedition 41 Flight Engineer Barry Wilmore of NASA prepares for his launch onboard the Soyuz TMA-14M spacecraft in September. NASA consistently ranks well on employee surveys. Joel Kowsky/NASA

Federal employees overall are about as happy with their jobs and agencies as they were last year, according to the 2014 governmentwide survey assessing everything from trust in senior leadership (down) to satisfaction with pay (up).

Morale isn’t exactly off the charts in many agencies. But things could be worse, especially considering sequestration, last year’s government shutdown and scandals at the Internal Revenue Service, Veterans Affairs Department and Secret Service. The 2014 Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey, released on Friday, showed 59 percent of respondents overall reported being satisfied with their jobs and working environment.

The so-called “global satisfaction index” includes feedback from employees on their level of contentment with their jobs, pay, and organization as well as whether they would recommend their agency as a good place to work. Three of those four areas were down from 2013; satisfaction with pay increased 2 percent from 2013 to 56 percent, perhaps because the three-year pay freeze ended this year.

Nearly 400,000 employees filled out this year’s survey from 82 agencies across government. The survey was administered from April to June.

So, where you can you find some of the most (and least) content federal employees? Here’s a list of the top and bottom five large departments and agencies, and where they rank on overall employee satisfaction. Numbers represent the percent of employees reporting overall job satisfaction. OPM also provides the same breakdown for small and independent agencies in the 2014 survey.

Top

  1. NASA – 74 percent  
  2. Nuclear Regulatory Commission – 73 percent
  3. (tie) Federal Energy Regulatory Commission – 71 percent
    State Department – 71 percent
  4. (tie) Federal Trade Commission – 69 percent
    Office of Personnel Management – 69 percent
    Commerce Department – 69 percent

Bottom

  1. Homeland Security Department – 48 percent
  2. National Archives and Records Administration – 49 percent
  3. Broadcasting Board of Governors – 50 percent
  4. Housing and Urban Development Department – 51 percent
  5. (tie) Energy Department – 57 percent
    Small Business Administration -- 57 percent
    Veterans Affairs Department – 57 percent
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