NASA Stays at Top of Annual Best Agencies to Work List


There was little change at the top of the lineup on this year’s Best Places to Work in Federal Government analysis released Wednesday, with NASA remaining the highest-ranked employer for large agencies. But federal workers’ job satisfaction once again dipped to an all-time low, marking the third consecutive year of decline, according to the annual study by the nonprofit Partnership for Public Service and consultancy Deloitte.

The governmentwide index score was 57.8 out of a possible 100, according to PPS and Deloitte, which produced rankings based on data from the Office of Personnel Management’s Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey. The 2013 score is down from 60.8 in 2012 and represents a fall of more than 7 points from a 2010 high point.

The study found that just one-quarter of agencies improved or held steady on their scores from 2012, while an overwhelming 75 percent declined. Last year, only two-thirds of agencies dipped from their 2011 scores.

A major driver of the falling ratings was traced back to decreasing pay satisfaction, the study found. The 50.3 score on pay --  among the lowest of workplace categories PPS and Deloitte examined -- was the third most influential factor, behind effective leadership and the matching of employee skillsets to agency missions.

“There is no doubt the three-year pay freeze, furloughs, budget cuts, ad hoc hiring freezes and continued uncertainty are taking their toll on federal workers,” said Max Stier, PPS president and CEO. “What it really means is that agencies aren’t positioned to successfully meet the needs of the American people.”

All of 2012’s top-ranked agencies repeated in 2013. NASA scored the highest marks among large agencies -- those with more than 15,000 employees. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. once again took home top honors for mid-size agencies with1,000 to 14,999 employees, while the Surface Transportation Board was ranked highest among small agencies.

The U.S. International Trade Commission was the most improved agency, boosting its score by 9.3 points to 69.3. The Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board had the largest decline, with its score falling 33.4 points. At large agencies, the biggest drop off was at the Environmental Protection Agency, which required employees to take seven furlough days in 2013, among the most of any agency. The Housing and Urban Development Department dipped 10.8 points, the most of any mid-size agency.

After seeing the largest improvement of any agency in 2012, the Office of Management and Budget registered a major decline in 2013, with its score dropping 14 points.

All of the 10 categories used to assess the overall index score -- including pay, effective leadership, advancement and teamwork -- experienced a drop-off between 2012 and 2013. 

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 G Suite

    Cross-Agency Teamwork, Anytime and Anywhere

    Dan McCrae, director of IT service delivery division, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

  • Data-Centric Security vs. Database-Level Security

    Database-level encryption had its origins in the 1990s and early 2000s in response to very basic risks which largely revolved around the theft of servers, backup tapes and other physical-layer assets. As noted in Verizon’s 2014, Data Breach Investigations Report (DBIR)1, threats today are far more advanced and dangerous.

  • 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 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.


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