Federal Employees’ Job Satisfaction Drops 4th Year in a Row

Categories: Labor

Job satisfaction dropped again.

“Employees are the most important resource in the federal government and an engaged and satisfied workforce is central to achieving agency goals,” writes the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) at the beginning of its 2014 report on the results of a new government wide employee satisfaction survey.

But the government and Congress have a lot of work to do if they want to effectively carry out their missions. Three important factors that contribute to expensive and highly disruptive employee turnover have received low scores for the fourth year in a row: job satisfaction, organization satisfaction, and whether the employee would recommend the organization as a good place to work.

“The outlook is growing bleaker by the year,” AFGE National President J. David Cox Sr. said. “More employees than ever say their agency is unable to accomplish its mission, and they see less opportunity to improve their skills or get a better job.”

Scores for the Job Satisfaction and Would Recommend Organization categories have gone down eight percentage points each since 2010, while Organization Satisfaction has dropped seven percentage points during the same period. Even though Pay Satisfaction went up two percentage points compared with last year, it’s also the category that has dropped the most since 2010 – 10 percentage points.

Federal employees across the board have consistently rated their immediate supervisors a lot higher than their agency leaders. Employees have also given their agency leaders two thumbs down in all categories every year since 2011. For example, when asked whether senior leaders generate high levels of motivation and commitment in the workforce, only 38% said yes, compared to 45% in 2011. Only 50% said they have a high level of respect for their senior leaders, down from 57 in 2011.

President Cox said agency leaders could improve their standing with employees by negotiating better collective bargaining contracts.

“Too many agencies have been dragging their feet and blocking our efforts to update contracts to improve working conditions for federal employees,” he said.

Other important findings:

  • Millennials (33 years old and younger) rated their job, pay, and organization satisfaction lower than other generations.
  • Compared to non-veterans, veterans are less satisfied with their interaction with their supervisors
  • Employees who are self-identified as LGBT are less satisfied with the support within their organizations
  • Employees with disabilities are consistently less satisfied

Most Satisfied Workers in Terms of Job and Pay:

Large Agencies

  • NASA (74%)
  • Nuclear Regulatory Commission (73%)
  • Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (71%)
  • State (71%)
  • Commerce (69%)
  • Federal Trade Commission (69%)
  • OPM (69%)

Small/Independent Agencies

  • Surface Transportation Board (84%)
  • Office of Navajo and Hopi Indian Relocation (82%)
  • Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service (82%)
  • National Endowment for the Humanities (81%)

Least Satisfied Workers

Large Agencies

  • Homeland Security (48%)
  • National Archives and Records Administration (49%)
  • Broadcasting Board of Governors (50%)
  • Housing and Urban Development (51%)

Small/Independent Agencies

  • Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board (38% -- a huge drop from 85% in 2010)
  • Commodity Futures Trading Commission (40%)
  • Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars (42%)
  • Federal Maritime Commission (43%)
  • Federal Election Commission (44%)

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