Which agencies have the happiest IT workers?

A deep dive into federal job satisfaction data found some bright spots for IT, but there is room for improvement in training and making employees feel like they're part of the mission.

diagram of work team

The Partnership for Public Service's deep dive into the 2015 federal job satisfaction data shows some bright spots for IT, human resources and contract specialists.

IT professionals at the Social Security Administration reported being the most satisfied at work, with an index score of 71.4 out of 100, well above the 58.1 average for all federal employees. NASA came in second with 69.7. IT workers at six other agencies -- Justice, Commerce, Treasury, Labor, Interior and State -- reported being happier in their jobs than the average federal employee.

Feds' overall job satisfaction in 2015 improved for the first time in four years. Despite the high scores at some agencies, however, the average score for IT and cybersecurity professionals was 56.2, nearly two points below the governmentwide score.

Findings are based on data from the Office of Personnel Management's Federal Employee Viewpoint survey, which includes input from more than 421,000 people from April through June of 2015. The Partnership also held a workshop in May 2016 with HR, IT and contract specialists across the federal government.

The report found the three main factors influencing job satisfaction in those fields are: serving as an advisor, strategic partner, and team member in the agency; having a creative and innovative culture; and investing in learning opportunities to help employees feel connected to the agency's mission.

Many participants in the May 2016 workshop said they often feel "disconnected from the big picture." The report advised agencies to include IT specialists in cross-functional teams and project planning discussions.

IT employees have the lowest "Best Places to Work" scores when it comes to training and development. Only 43.5 percent reported satisfaction with the training they received for their job, and just 47.1 percent believe their training needs are assessed.

"Several employees said that if they had the opportunity to learn their organization's culture during onboarding, it would have helped them integrate more easily into their jobs," the report stated.

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