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Federal workers rate themselves above average

More than two-thirds of federal workers think the quality of the work they do is above average, according to a recent Merit Systems Protection Board survey. The survey of 17,250 employees and managers was the fourth in a series of governmentwide Merit Principles Surveys administered by MSPB. Four years ago, 67 percent of federal workers surveyed rated their work as "outstanding" or "above average." That was an increase over previous years, in which slightly more than half of the surveyed federal workers gave the same rating. The latest survey, conducted in the spring of 2000, again found that 67 percent of surveyed federal employees rated their work as outstanding or above average. According to MSPB, the results of the study are encouraging. "We had actually expected that it had possibly gone down because we've had reductions-in-force and all kinds of human capital or human resource management concerns about the aging workforce and the inability to attract and retain a trained workforce," said John Palguta, director of policy and evaluation at MSPB. The positive survey results may be evidence that heavy investments in technology made in the early 1990s are paying off, Palguta said. Greater emphasis on the 1993 Government Performance and Results Act and the reinventing government movement may also have contributed to a higher regard for federal work, he added. But the changing face of the federal workforce may be a serious hurdle in the future. "The challenge for the government will be to maintain this high performance level as large numbers of experienced, retirement-eligible employees depart and the number of new and less experienced employees rises," MSPB said. The survey is available at www.mspb.gov/studies/survey2000.html.