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Federal employees maintain commitment in face of declining morale

The results of the 2012 Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey, released this month by the Office of Personnel Management, indicate that federal employees’ remain dedicated to their jobs in spite of an overall decline in morale.

The results of the 2012 Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey, released this month by the Office of Personnel Management, indicate that federal employees’ remain dedicated to their jobs in spite of an overall decline in morale.

The 2012 FEVS, which reached more than 687,000 federal employees, was the largest and most detailed survey since the FEVS debuted in 2002, OPM said.

"These results show that federal employees continue to be as dedicated to their agencies, their mission, and to public service as ever before," said OPM Director John Berry.

Those positive findings persist, OPM noted, “notwithstanding a very slight decline in morale from the highs of recent years.”

Part of that decline was evidenced in the survey’s measure of government-wide “global satisfaction,” which combines four other measures: employees’ willingness to recommend their organization as a good place to work, and their satisfaction with their job, their pay and their organization. Overall, the measure of global satisfaction declined 3 percent in the 2012 survey, after posting gains between 2008 and 2011.

All of the measures that make up the global satisfaction measure declined as well. Employees’ willingness to recommend their organization as a good place to work dropped by 2 percent, to 67 percent. Employees’ satisfaction with their job and organization fell 3 percent each, to 68 percent and 59 percent, respectively. And only 59 percent of employees expressed satisfaction with pay, a 4 percent drop from the prior year, and the lowest level since the 2004 survey.

While OPM downplayed those results, one federal employee union characterized them as an indication of a “disturbing trend.”

“Federal employees are as committed as ever to their jobs and the missions of their agencies, but recent attacks on pay, retirement and an uncertain political climate have led to declines in morale, a hazardous trend for our nation,” stated a reaction to the survey issued by the National Treasury Employees Union.

The group’s leader homed in on pay in particular.

“The 27-month pay freeze must end,” NTEU President Colleen Kelley said in a statement. “Federal employees have contributed $103 billion over a 10-year period to solving our country’s economic troubles through the pay freeze and increased retirement contributions for new hires. Clearly, federal workers have done more than any other group in the name of deficit reduction.”

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