Critical Read

Feds' job satisfaction continues to dive

man walking away

WHAT: 2013 Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey

WHY: Every year, the Office of Personnel Management surveys federal workers on their job satisfaction, sense of mission and agency morale. The release of the report was delayed because of the partial government shutdown, but it is probably no accident that OPM opted to release the report to the press late on a Friday afternoon before a holiday weekend.

The news is bleak.

Across agencies, the satisfaction rate of federal employees is rated at 59 percent, down from 63 percent in 2012 and 67 percent as recently as 2010. Keep in mind that the survey responses were filed by a reported 376,500 federal employees long before the October shutdown, and their responses reflect dips in morale based on sequestration furloughs, pay freezes, reduced opportunities for training and travel, and workplace satisfaction. The Department of Defense, the Department of Housing and Urban Development, the General Services Administration and the Environmental Protection Agency reported some of the steepest declines in job satisfaction.

Across the board, feds report reduced recognition for high performance. Fewer employees believe that their organization is interested in improving their skills. The percentage of employees who recommend their agency as a good place to work continues to decline, from 70 percent in 2010 to 63 percent in 2013. Despite flagging morale, relatively few respondents reported being close to retirement, with just 14 percent planning to leave federal service within three years.

Verbatim: "The survey results serve as an important warning about the long-term consequences of the sequestration and budget uncertainty. Without a more predictable and responsible budget situation, we risk losing our most talented employees, as well as hurting our ability to recruit top talent for the future."

Download the survey: Click here.

About the Author

Adam Mazmanian is executive editor of FCW.

Before joining the editing team, Mazmanian was an FCW staff writer covering Congress, government-wide technology policy and the Department of Veterans Affairs. Prior to joining FCW, Mazmanian was technology correspondent for National Journal and served in a variety of editorial roles at B2B news service SmartBrief. Mazmanian has contributed reviews and articles to the Washington Post, the Washington City Paper, Newsday, New York Press, Architect Magazine and other publications.

Click here for previous articles by Mazmanian. Connect with him on Twitter at @thisismaz.


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