About 308,000 federal employees took home more than $100,000 in salary in 2014, according to a partial database of pay information.
That is roughly 30 percent of the employees included in the database compiled by FedSmith.com, using information compiled from the Office of Personnel Management and other agencies. It does not include civilian workers at the Defense Department or any bonuses paid out to employees.
Unlike the 17,000 feds who earned more than $200,000 last year, who were overwhelmingly concentrated at the Veterans Affairs Department, the employees making at least $100,000 were spread throughout government. Those in the upper echelon of the General Schedule pay scale can earn six figures, especially after accounting for locality-based adjustments.
Senior Executive Service employees earned a minimum of about $120,000 last year. Many agencies with specialty workforces maintain their own pay scales offering more generous salaries than the GS. Nearly one in five federal employees receive pay on a system outside of the General Schedule and Wage Grade scales.
While many have argued compensation for the federal workforce is bloated and far outpaces the private sector, studies examining that comparison have displayed mixed results. Several conservative-leaning think tanks have published comparisons showing federal employees earn more than their private-sector counterparts, though the more fed-friendly Federal Salary Council said feds’ pay lags behind industry pay by 35 percent. A 2012 Government Accountability Office study concluded there is no definitive way to measure any potential gap. A Congressional Budget Office report found that public and private sector salaries were about comparable, but that education level played a role in pay disparities between the two groups.
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