Best places to work in the federal government

Partnership for Public Service ranks 290 large and small federal agencies

The Partnership for Public Service (PPS) has released this year’s list of best places to work in the federal government — and although several large agencies and departments may have shuffled places slightly in the rankings, eight of the top 10 “best” large agencies also were ranked at the top last year.

Among large agencies in 2010, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and the Government Accountability Office remained in first and second place, respectively, the same as in 2009. Rounding out the top 10, in order, were the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., Smithsonian Institution, NASA, Social Security Administration, State Department, General Services Administration, Justice Department, and (collectively) the Intelligence Community.

While the third and fourth agencies on the list — the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. and the Smithsonian Institution, were new to the rankings, all of the rest of the top 10 large agencies and departments were ranked somewhere in the top 10 last year as well.

The bottom 10 large government organizations on the list were, starting with 23rd place, the Labor Department, Securities and Exchange Commission, Agriculture Department, Transportation Department, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Homeland Security Department Small Business Administration, Education Department, and — tied for last place — Housing and Urban Development Department and National Archives and Records Administration.

Altogether, PPS ranks 290 large and small federal agencies, departments, and subcomponent organizations. Agencies also are ranked separately on other criteria such as work-life balance, leadership and pay.

PPS, working with American University’s Institute for the Study of Public Policy Implementation, drew the rankings from the Office of Personnel Management’s biannual governmentwide employee satisfaction survey of 263,000 federal employees.

PPS also launched a new Web site -- -- in conjunction with the release of the rankings.


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Reader comments

Wed, Oct 6, 2010 escaped DC

The Lie-berry o' Congress NEVER makes the list. It has got to be THE most dysfunctional agency in Washington...with no accountability whatsoever, because who's paying attention to a library? You think Congress cares or notices that it's a mess from top to bottom? Because of the insulting, racist, window-dressing attempts of the last 15 years, where they hire any black face at any cost, wholly irrespective of qualifications or suitabilitiy, Lie-berry management is a cabaal in incompetence from the Librarian (who is senile in his dottering old age, famous for throwing possessions and temper tantrums, at his staff) on down. Be glad, wherever you are, you don't work THERE.

Tue, Sep 21, 2010 Penelope Garcia

I don't understand why the Dept of Energy didn't make the list for one of the worst Departments to work for. The OCIO has lost the top 4 layers of management in the past year - replaced with "Acting" managers. Contractors are running the Department under the guise of being called "Advisors", including reviewing federal budgets and making recommendations for cuts in program funding for other contractors. Fed employees who even ask questions are asked to leave (or they are re-assigned to a less desirable role)....

Tue, Sep 21, 2010 JMS DC Metro Area

good article. Always nice to know what agencies are good work environments.

Thu, Sep 16, 2010 Freddie Smith social security adm.

I have worked for SSA for twenty five years. I too, wonder how we made the list. My first four years was spent in a highly profession office. Then I moved to the DC area - and have worked in two different offices. I can't tell if its the lack of knowlwdgeable staff or just a part of the me first generation. We are less professional, than any office should be. We have a distinct division of the have's and have not's. When you start work here you are placed in one of these catagories. If you wear your skirts too tight and too short and always grin at the management team - for no apparent reason and laugh at their corny jokes - you will probally going to be in the hav's group. If not you will probally be relagated to the have not group. It does not matter how much you know and how much you do - they will find a way to break you. While I was writting this I figured how most of the top agencies became top agencies. The powers that have marked every one's PIN - only those who say nice things, survey's get counted. Maybe one day we will have a true Merit System. Not Yet.

Wed, Sep 15, 2010

I don't know how the Justice Department got on the top of the list. Unless you are white and part of the good ole boy network, it is the suckiest place in the governmnent to work. The name says it all, Just Us.

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