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Federal employees register decreasing satisfaction with pay

Satisfaction with pay has declined among federal employees as a whole, but a number of other issues lead pay as more important factors in workplace satisfaction.

Satisfaction with pay has declined among federal employees as a whole, but a number of other issues lead pay as more important factors in workplace satisfaction., according to one group’s research.

The Partnership for Public Service drew the findings from its most recent Best Places to Work analysis, which in turn leverages the results of the Office of Personnel Management’s 2011 Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey.

According to the group, federal workers expressed less contentment with their salaries in 2011 than in 2010. PPS said employee satisfaction with pay dropped 6.1 percent over the period, declining from a score of 63 out of 100 in 2010 to 59.1 in 2011. Pay satisfaction showed the second-largest decline of any workplace category examined in the Best Places rankings. Only family-friendly culture, which fell 7.3 percent from a score of 36.2 to 33.6, experienced a bigger drop from 2010.

But pay wasn’t the leading factor in workplace satisfaction, according to PPS. In its government-wide job satisfaction analysis, the group said it found that leadership was about five times more important than pay, followed by the perception that employee skills are well matched to agency mission. According to the group, pay was the third most important workplace issue at 25 of the 30 large agencies included in the rankings.

Among employees government-wide, PPS found that higher-ranking GS 13 to GS 15 professionals were the most satisfied, with 74.1 percent expressing satisfaction. The average satisfaction percentage for workers at all other pay levels was 58 percent.

Members of the Senior Executive Service, senior leaders, scientific professionals, and employees in pay categories outside the GS system registered the largest decrease, with a 7.8 percent drop in 2011. Federal Wage System employees and GS 1 to GS 12 employees had smaller decreases.

Employees at the agency that ranked at the top of the 2011 Best Places analysis, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., registered the highest pay satisfaction, with a score of 83.3. Among 30 large agencies examined in the study, the Department of Veterans Affairs ranked last, with a score of 53.3.

PPS noted that employees at another financial regulatory agency, the Securities and Exchange Commission, while they have the highest average salary of any large federal agency, had one of the lowest 2011 pay satisfaction scores at 57.8. The SEC also logged the largest decline in pay satisfaction from 2010, at 17.6 percent lower.

The report is available here.

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