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

  • IT Modernization
    shutterstock image By enzozo; photo ID: 319763930

    OMB provides key guidance for TMF proposals amid surge in submissions

    Deputy Federal CIO Maria Roat details what makes for a winning Technology Modernization Fund proposal as agencies continue to submit major IT projects for potential funding.

  • gears and money (zaozaa19/Shutterstock.com)

    Worries from a Democrat about the Biden administration and federal procurement

    Steve Kelman is concerned that the push for more spending with small disadvantaged businesses will detract from the goal of getting the best deal for agencies and taxpayers.

Stay Connected