Gov Career

By Phil Piemonte

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Who is the 'average' fed?

If you are someone who gets incensed every time you hear something about “overpaid” feds — or if you are a non-fed who believes that stuff — we have something for you to read.

It’s from President Barack Obama's fiscal 2012 budget. It’s a chapter called “Improving the Federal Workforce.” It’s buried in the “Performance and Management” section of the “Analytical Perspectives” portion of the budget.

Got that?

At a concise 10 pages, the information in the chapter comes from the Office of Management and Budget, Office of Personnel Management, Bureau of Labor Statistics and various other federal agencies.

The chapter contains discussions of the challenges faced by the federal workforce and ways to engage, improve and strengthen it. It also tells you who does what in the federal government, how old they are and how educated they are — all compared to the private sector.

Advocates who defend federal pay argue that today’s federal employees tend to be older, more educated and higher-level workers. In other words, an “average” fed is not an “average” private-sector worker.

It doesn’t take much reading into the chapter to realize that the data provides strong support for the advocates’ case.

Take a look. It’s good ammunition.

Posted by Phil Piemonte on May 20, 2011 at 4:02 PM

Reader comments

Mon, Jun 27, 2011 Anonymous

I work for the AF in Mass. Under NSPS, we added to the highest paid workforce and when we converted back to GS most of our 15s were making around $160K - disgusting for what they do. there are tons of GS15s in staff positions doing nothing. Then add to that the tons of A&AS contractors getting paid even more. We are so overburdened with folks with no jobs it is pathetic. We oversee contractors making weapon systems here and we have more staff than they do. The A&AS secretaries are hired as senior acq specialist making more money than a GS13. The government has a handful of good hard workers, but most of these positions are political. Add FFRDC to that. We spend so much of taxpayers dollars on help we don't need. We did contractor to govt conversions hiring over 250 people, but never did away with the contractor positions. The contractors filled them as soon as they vacated. When is someone gonna audit the numbers of people working in govt offices?

Mon, Jun 6, 2011

Interesting numbers I noticed: double the percentage of "miscellaneous professionals" and almost 3 times the percentage of HR/Admin jobs in the federal work force versus the private sector. Speaking as a former Fed, anyone who pretends that there are not a huge number of experienced "miscellaneous professionals" in the federal government who are overpaid is either blind or a "miscellaneous professional" themselves. Those are the GS-15 Step 10s who have simply outlasted the system. Those are the same ones who always say they could make more in the private sector but are just staying a few more years to get their retirement. Funny how they always stay a few more years after that retired on active duty - they never seem to take all those high paying private sector jobs they swear are waiting for them.

Sat, May 28, 2011 db5 ga

Same as hiring the locals in communities while building projects...already have a pre-selected company with their contractors, etc in locals get jolt when find out some tiny positions are open, landscape or minor jobs...not thousands of high paying jobssome contractors have trouble by not looking at their forms, stop and go thing...too much rigamarole out there...

Wed, May 25, 2011 Ima Fed a National Park

Who is the 'average' Fed? Well, in my neck of the woods, the 'average' employee makes less than $50,000 per year, has 10 or more years on the job, and is in a job that often isn't noticed by the public or even the management. These are the people that the entire park depends on: Human Resources, clerical, custodial, grounds keepers to name a few. If these employees chose not to show up to work for a couple of weeks, their loss could bring the park to it's knees. Yes, there are higher paid employees - managers usually. But they couldn't function if their clerical staff wasn't around. How many of us could make more on the 'outside'? I don't know - I haven't looked for a new job in about 15 years. Most newly hired clericals start out making $11-12 per hour and usually have a college degree. This isn't counting benefits as the benefits are based on type of hire. More and more jobs are being hired as temporary, or subject to furlough so they can be laid off at any moment. These are some of the 'average' federal employees I see. It's a lot different than the information being put out to the media.

Wed, May 25, 2011

Some feds are overpaid. A secretary can be the same grade as a technician in the medical field. The secretary answers phones, the technician treats patients, works nights, weekends, holidays. Doesn't seem fair. In the medical professional fields, it's true that the private sector is paid better than the feds. But we get satisfaction in supporting our deployed troops. Without us, our military couldn't function. The government pays a lot of money for contract civilians. In some fields, they make 20,000 more than the GS working along side them. Why hasn't anyone looked into that and realize that a GS employee does the job cheaper?

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