Study: Women Generally Less Satisfied Than Men with Respect to Federal Employment

By on May 24, 2011 in Current Events with 14 Comments

The Partnership for Public Service, in conjunction with Deloitte, has released the results of an analysis done on OPM’s 2010 employee survey which revealed that, overall, women are slightly less satisfied than men in nine out of ten workplace categories.

In many cases, the gaps between the categories are minimal; in only one case, women are slightly more satisfied than men (the skills/mission match category). See the table below for the full category/results list.

 
Women
Men
Gap
Skills/Mission Match
79.8
78.6
1.2
Overall Satisfaction Index
66.1
67.9
-1.8
Pay
64.7
66.0
-1.3
Teamwork
64.4
66.0
-1.3
Work/Life Balance
61.5
61.7
-0.2
Training & Development
60.8
62.7
-1.9
Support for Diversity
57.3
59.6
-2.3
Strategic Management
57.0
57.5
-0.5
Effective Leadership
54.6
57.1
-2.5
     Supervisors
63.2
66.6
-3.4
     Fairness
51.4
56.0
-4.6
     Leaders
50.9
50.6
0.3
     Empowerment
48.1
52.5
-4.4
Rewards & Advancement
46.2
48.5
-2.3

Two categories stood out as being the ones with the largest gaps between the sexes: fairness and empowerment. Both of these are subcategories of the “effective leadership” category. The study found that women gave the lowest ratings on the question about fear of reprisal for disclosing suspected violations (see below graph).

 

Graph showing difference between men and women on issues of empowerment and fairness

 

 

Other conclusions from the study found that women in management/executive roles within the federal government reported being less satisfied than men in management by 2.4 points and that gender differences exist between agencies. At the Department of Veterans Affairs, men scored empowerment 10 points higher than women and at the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, men scored fairness nearly 11 points higher than women.  The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission had a gap of just over 10 points on both the empowerment and fairness subcategories.

 

Empowerment Gaps by Agency

Biggest Gaps
Women
Men
Gap
VA
41.3
51.3
-10.0
EEOC
41.2
48.7
-7.5
NRC
64.9
72.1
-7.2
Smallest Gaps
Women
Men
Gap
DHS
43.7
43.9
-0.2
NASA
63.9
64.1
-0.2
OPM
49.1
49.3
-0.2

 

Fairness Gaps by Agency

Biggest Gaps
Women
Men
Gap
NRC
64.8
75.7
-10.9
EEOC
40.2
50.6
-10.4
ED
45.5
55.7
-10.2
Smallest Gaps
Women
Men
Gap
DOT
48.5
50.6
-2.1
GSA
54.7
56.8
-2.1
DOJ
54.9
55.4
-0.5

 

Readers can draw their own conclusions as to what these data mean, but the authors of the study offer the following advice for agencies:

Each agency should examine its data by workplace category and subcategories, and develop strategies to improve the satisfaction of all federal employees, particularly in the areas of empowerment and fairness, where gaps between men and women loom largest. We encourage agencies to conduct more precise analyses of their Best Places to Work scores looking at where their workforce disparities may exist, and encourage sharing of best practices to learn and continually improve satisfaction and commitment.

© 2016 Ian Smith. All rights reserved. This article may not be reproduced without express written consent from Ian Smith.

About the Author

Ian Smith is one of the co-founders of FedSmith.com. He enjoys writing about current topics that affect the federal workforce. Ian also has a background in web development and does the technical work for the FedSmith.com web site and its sibling sites.

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