Survey: Feds are happy at work despite tough times

Federal employees are committed to their work and mostly satisfied with their jobs despite the difficult political and fiscal environment, according to a new study.

The Office of Personnel Management on Thursday released the results of the 2011 Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey, which drew a record 266,000 responses. Nearly 92 percent of respondents said they believe the work they do is important, and 85 percent reported enjoying their jobs. OPM distributed the survey this past spring, at a time when the government was hamstrung by a potential shutdown and the looming debt ceiling crisis.

Nearly 70 percent of respondents said they would recommend their agency as a good place to work and 48 percent reported having sufficient resources to perform their jobs.

See OPM's rankings of agencies based on the survey results

Federal workers were less thrilled, however, about their pay in 2011 than they were in 2010. On pay satisfaction, 62.5 percent of the responses to the survey were positive, down from 65.8 percent in 2010. "There was a decrease in items related to pay, and that's to be expected," said John Foley, director of planning and policy analysis at OPM, referring to the two-year federal pay freeze in place. "Gratifying to us is that we didn't see a drop-off in people's commitment to work."

Employees' views on performance management within their agencies remained fairly negative. Forty-seven percent of respondents do not believe pay raises are adequately linked to performance, and only 36 percent said promotions in their workplace were merit-based. Forty-one percent of respondents said their offices do not deal adequately with poor performers.

"Performance management continues to persist as a problem area across government," OPM Director John Berry said in the introduction to the report. Foley said each agency needs to look at ways to improve performance management.

Overall, respondents were happy with their supervisors in a range of areas. Sixty-nine percent of surveyed feds said their managers did a good job overall; 77 percent gave high marks to supervisors for encouraging work-life balance; and 67 percent said managers promote employee development.

The survey results indicated that telework still has not taken off in the federal government despite the Obama administration's support for the practice. Just 21 percent of respondents reported teleworking, and 26 percent said they do not telework because they haven't been approved for it, even though their job could be performed off-site.

Using the data from the survey, OPM ranked agencies in a number of areas: leadership and knowledge management; results-oriented performance culture; talent management; and job satisfaction. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission earned the top spot in all four areas. Respondents also ranked NASA highly in all categories.

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:

  • Sponsored by Brocade

    Best of 2016 Federal Forum eBook

    Earlier this summer, Federal and tech industry leaders convened to talk security, machine learning, network modernization, DevOps, and much more at the 2016 Federal Forum. This eBook includes a useful summary highlighting the best content shared at the 2016 Federal Forum to help agencies modernize their network infrastructure.

  • Sponsored by CDW-G

    GBC Flash Poll Series: Merger & Acquisitions

    Download this GBC Flash Poll to learn more about federal perspectives on the impact of industry consolidation.

  • Sponsored by One Identity

    One Nation Under Guard: Securing User Identities Across State and Local Government

    In 2016, the government can expect even more sophisticated threats on the horizon, making it all the more imperative that agencies enforce proper identity and access management (IAM) practices. In order to better measure the current state of IAM at the state and local level, Government Business Council (GBC) conducted an in-depth research study of state and local employees.

  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    The Next Federal Evolution of Cloud

    This GBC report explains the evolution of cloud computing in federal government, and provides an outlook for the future of the cloud in government IT.

  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    A DevOps Roadmap for the Federal Government

    This GBC Report discusses how DevOps is steadily gaining traction among some of government's leading IT developers and agencies.

  • Sponsored by LTC Partners, administrators of the Federal Long Term Care Insurance Program

    Approaching the Brink of Federal Retirement

    Approximately 10,000 baby boomers are reaching retirement age per day, and a growing number of federal employees are preparing themselves for the next chapter of their lives. Learn how to tackle the challenges that today's workforce faces in laying the groundwork for a smooth and secure retirement.

  • Sponsored by Hewlett Packard Enterprise

    Cyber Defense 101: Arming the Next Generation of Government Employees

    Read this issue brief to learn about the sector's most potent challenges in the new cyber landscape and how government organizations are building a robust, threat-aware infrastructure

  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    GBC Issue Brief: Cultivating Digital Services in the Federal Landscape

    Read this GBC issue brief to learn more about the current state of digital services in the government, and how key players are pushing enhancements towards a user-centric approach.

  • Sponsored by CDW-G

    Joint Enterprise Licensing Agreements

    Read this eBook to learn how defense agencies can achieve savings and efficiencies with an Enterprise Software Agreement.

  • Sponsored by Cloudera

    Government Forum Content Library

    Get all the essential resources needed for effective technology strategies in the federal landscape.


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