Senior execs still want performance pay
- By Richard W. Walker
- May 13, 2008
The overwhelming majority of the government's senior executives say their pay should be based on performance, but far fewer think that pay-for-performance systems improve their agencies' overall results, according to the Office of Personnel Management's latest survey of the Senior Executive Service.
In the 2008 survey, released today, 93 percent of the senior executives said their pay should be performance-based, 91 percent felt they should be held accountable for achieving results and 89 percent reported they participated in the development of their performance plan. At the same time, only 43 percent said pay for performance promotes better organizational performance at their agency.
"They believe in theory in the pay for performance system," said Nancy Kichak, associate director for strategic human resource policy at OPM, speaking at a news conference at the agency's headquarters in Washington. But the findings indicate that there is still a "lack of faith" in current systems, she said.
In addition, 68 percent of senior executives surveyed said their appraisal was a fair reflection of their performance compared with 74 percent in OPM's 2006 Federal Human Capital Survey.
There also was a decline in satisfaction with pay among senior executives between 2006 and 2008. In the latest survey, 6l percent of executives said they were satisfied with their pay, compared to 73 percent in the human capital survey two years ago.
OPM officials said that recent increases to SES pay have on average lagged behind those of the General Schedule, possibly contributing to the decrease in pay satisfaction.
Among individual agencies, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission had the most positive responses for both performance management and executive development questions.
OPM conducted the survey at the end of January and the beginning of February. Some 4,386 senior executives answered the questionnaire, accounting for a response rate of 65 percent.