Senior Executive candidates worry about pay, work/family balance

Survey respondents say difference in pay between a GS-14/15 position and its SES equivalent often is not worth the increased workload, responsibility or risk

Many of the employees in the pool of potential Senior Executive Service candidates expressed reluctance about applying for SES positions because of concerns about pay and the ability to maintain a healthy balance between home and work responsibilities, according to a report drawn from the results of a survey of almost 12,000 GS-14s and GS-15s.

The Senior Executives Association, in partnership with Avue Technologies Corp., conducted the survey to follow up on anecdotal reports that qualified employees did not aspire to serve in career SES or equivalent positions.

The most significant hurdles identified by survey respondents were:

  • The potential negative impact on the balance of work and family responsibilities.
  • The possibility of being reassigned or transferred geographically.
  • The complexity of the application process.

The report also noted that although pay was not a top factor that argued for or against SES service, numerous respondents expressed the sentiment that the difference in pay between a GS-14/15 position and an SES or equivalent position often is not worth the increased workload, responsibility and risk.

Chief Human Capital Officers Council members who responded to a related SEA questionnaire said the top hurdle for SES recruitment was the complexity of the application process, the association said.

The report recommended that the Office of Personnel Management and agency leaders develop additional ways for potential candidates to obtain developmental experiences—including experiences within their current geographic areas—rather than require those individuals to relocate for extended periods. Agencies also should establish performance expectations for SES and senior professional employees that meet agencies' missions, and they should recognize the importance of maintaining a healthy work/life balance, the report states.

“The career executive corps is critical to high-performing government and key to implementing any administration’s political and management agenda,” SEA President Carol Bonosaro said. “We must continue to attract the best and the brightest to these positions, but this report demonstrates that the detractors to serving are substantial.”

About the Author

Federal Daily, an 1105 Government Information Group site, features news and resources for federal and postal employees.

Featured

  • Defense
    Ryan D. McCarthy being sworn in as Army Secretary Oct. 10, 2019. (Photo credit: Sgt. Dana Clarke/U.S. Army)

    Army wants to spend nearly $1B on cloud, data by 2025

    Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy said lack of funding or a potential delay in the JEDI cloud bid "strikes to the heart of our concern."

  • Congress
    Rep. Jim Langevin (D-R.I.) at the Hack the Capitol conference Sept. 20, 2018

    Jim Langevin's view from the Hill

    As chairman of of the Intelligence and Emerging Threats and Capabilities subcommittee of the House Armed Services Committe and a member of the House Homeland Security Committee, Rhode Island Democrat Jim Langevin is one of the most influential voices on cybersecurity in Congress.

Stay Connected

FCW INSIDER

Sign up for our newsletter.

I agree to this site's Privacy Policy.