Feds’ Job and Pay Satisfaction Plunges in 2013 Survey


Federal employees’ job satisfaction dropped nearly across the board in 2013, according to a new survey of the workforce.

In 53 categories measured in the Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey, the percentage of workers giving positive marks decreased, according to the Office of Personnel Management, which administers the survey annually. There were just two categories in which feds gave higher marks in 2013 than they did in 2012.

OPM asked about 781,000 employees to respond to the survey, less than half of the number they sent the survey to last year. The response rate, however, increased by 2 percent, with more than 375,000 respondents. OPM said 2012 was the only year it conducted a full census, and the 2013 numbers were more in line with its standard approach. 

In most categories, a majority of feds gave positive feedback, though the trends have pointed down for several years. Job satisfaction dropped three points to 65 percent; pay satisfaction was down five points to 54 percent; organization satisfaction fell three points to 65 percent; and only 63 percent of respondents said they would recommend their organization, down from 67 percent last year.

Those four categories make up what OPM calls the “global satisfaction index.” In 2010, that figure was 67 out of 100, but in 2013 it was down to 59. With three years of frozen salaries, pay satisfaction has dipped the furthest, with a 66 percent positive score in 2010. In the 2013 survey, just 19 percent of employees said pay raises depended on job performance compared to 26 percent who said the same in 2010.

Another area of significant drop off was in agency resources; just 44 percent of employees said they had sufficient resources to do their jobs, down from 48 percent last year and 50 percent in 2010.

“Factors such as an unprecedented three-year pay freeze, automatic reductions from the sequester that included furloughs for hundreds of thousands of employees, and reductions in training and other areas are clearly taking their toll on the federal workforce,” said the recently sworn in OPM Director Katherine Archuleta, who noted the survey was conducted before the 16-day government shutdown. “The survey results serve as an important warning about the long-term consequences of the sequestration and budget uncertainty. Without a more predictable and responsible budget situation, we risk losing our most talented employees, as well as hurting our ability to recruit top talent for the future.”

Archuleta also noted, however, that federal employees were willing to put in extra effort, looked for ways to do their jobs better and felt their work was important, with more than 90 percent of employees responding positively in those categories.

More employees were satisfied with telework and said their supervisors treated them with respect than last year, making up the only two categories with an increase in positive responses from last year.  

(Image via rangizzz/Shutterstock.com)

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 GovExec.com.
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.