Is Your Agency the "Best Place to Work?"

By on December 13, 2012 in Current Events, Pay & Benefits with 29 Comments

According to the 2012 Best Places to Work in the Federal Government analysis from the Partnership for Public Service, the satisfaction and commitment level of the federal workforce has dropped to the lowest point since 2003, when the rankings first launched.

The government-wide index score fell 5 percent, from 64 (out of 100) in 2011 to 60.8 this year. The 3.2-point drop is the largest change in the history of the rankings.

The results mirror the trends highlighted in OPM’s 2012 Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey.

The Best Places to Work in the Federal Government rankings offer the most comprehensive assessment of how federal workers view their jobs and workplaces, providing insights into worker satisfaction on issues ranging from leadership and pay to teamwork and work/life balance.

Overall satisfaction is not the only area on the decline. Satisfaction with pay also dropped 4.1 points from 2011 and rewards and advancement was down 2.5 points.

The declining job satisfaction levels across the federal government come during turbulent times, with employees buffeted by many uncertainties and feeling the effects of hiring slowdowns, buyouts, increased retirements, budget constraints and a two-and-a-half year pay freeze that runs until the spring of 2013.

With that introductory information, what are the top agencies in which to work in the federal government as stated in the 2012 analysis? The top ten are:

1. Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation
2. Government Accountability Office
3. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (tie)
3. Smithsonian Institution (tie)
5. Federal Trade Commission
6. National Credit Union Administration
7. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission
8. Office of Personnel Management
9. General Services Administration
10. Federal Communications Commission

And which are the best agencies at which to work in terms of pay? These were the top three:

  1. Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation
  2. Nuclear Regulatory Commission
  3. Office of Personnel Management

You can search to find the salaries of employees in many federal agencies. According to available data, one can see why these agencies rank highly in the realm of pay. Average salaries at these agencies (based on 2011 salary data) are:

  1. Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation: $113,720
  2. Nuclear Regulatory Commission: $116,225
  3. Office of Personnel Management: $71,770

See also: Average Federal Salary by Agency Size.

“The 2012 Best Places to Work results tell a troubling, but not surprising story,” said Max Stier, Partnership for Public Service president and CEO. “Our nation’s public servants have sent a clear signal that all is not well. The two year pay freeze, budget cuts and ad hoc hiring freezes are taking their toll – and this is a red flag.”

The rankings are based on responses from nearly 700,000 federal workers. They include 362 federal agencies and subcomponents, and represent 97 percent of the 2.1 million person federal workforce.

See the 2012 Best Places to Work in the Federal Government report for a complete analysis of the results.

© 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 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 web site and its sibling sites.

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  1. bbf says:

    The best place I ever worked was DMAHTC (Defense Mapping Agency).

  2. Lmaynard6947 says:

    Red Flag!  Oh no!  Poor babies.  I am a recently retired employee of one of the top rated agencies.  I recently met with a retirement fund advisor in reference to my quite large TSP account that I amassed after 27 years of work.  Federal employees have one of the best retirement benefits of anyone in the country if not the best.  Some state workers may get more but they are vulnerable to cuts from overspending state govts.  My advisor told me over and again how fortunate I am to have so much in retirement.  Many, many have little or no retirement savings and have to work much longer for far less in retirement.  I aslso had a fairly high income at my agency before retiring.  I read somewhere that the average federal employee salary is around 84k.  Wow.  Where else can you see that?  Let’s face it, there are a lot of federal employees that are underworked, over-paid, and just downright spoiled.  And like a spoiled child, they whine and cry when something doesn’t go their way.  They ought to thank the good lord every day for how fortunate they are.

  3. aron says:

    Use to work for DHS/HSI-Homeland Security Investigation, am
    now retired. Ever since the mergere with Customs and Immigration employee morale
    has been extremely low.  New agents, as
    well as older ones do not like working Immigration relate cases or customs relate
    cases.  This is one of the major reasons
    for such a low grade.  Also, from talking
    to some of the agents, they express how tired they are once they get to work,
    and not wanting to do much work because of the long commute. DHS/HSI will be
    more productive if home to work driving distance were not to exceed 45 to 50
    miles one way, and allow agents to work Customs or Immigration cases.  Is would happened, agents will produce work
    at a 70 to 85% rate per day; not like it is now in the low 40’s.  One retiree observation; good luck.

  4. Arrive_1 says:

    Of course OPM is at the top of pay and satisfaction, they are a law unto themselves and make everybody else miserable.   Civil Service/Public Service was about patriotism and taking care of our country at one time.  Now, we are this country’s step-children.  Let’s see how OPM and Congress fare after they loose their field support through all this management mess.

  5. Gary says:

    OPM must have changed quite a bit from the time I left in the mid 90’s. Then, it was ranked among the worst agencies to work for, and probably rightly so. 

  6. Dljohnson says:

    The U. S. Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management aren’t even mentioned!

  7. Guest says:

    How could GSA be a best place to work? I guess if I could spend millions of taxpayer dollars on a vegas party, I to would think its a great place to work 

  8. grannybunny says:

    Not to mention that government employees have been mercilessly and falsely accused of being overpaid and underworked by cynical partisan political hacks who are anti-government and — by extension — hostile to government employees.

    • steve5656546346 says:

      I’m sure that Federal workers will do just fine after the Federal government goes completely and totally bankrupt?

      And those most responsible for doing so will have been supported by the Federal unions and will NOT be accused of being “cynical partisan political hacks who are anti-government and –by extension–hostile to government employees.”

      No, those who destroy our pensions and our future will be viewed as our great friends…right up until the very end.  And then it won’t matter any more….

      • grannybunny says:

        I don’t happen to share the hysterical, apocalyptic, “sky is falling” view that the Federal government is going bankrupt.  Most people don’t and are getting increasing tired of all the stale, shrill, overblown rhetoric.  If some of this hot air and excess energy could be redirected into seeking realistic, pragmatic solutions — placing the best interests of America over continuing these knee-jerk hyperpartisan arguments — our Country’s problems could be solved.

        • guestwo says:

          Lets statrt by privatizing the postal service.  “Most people?”  Yeah right.  Most people are tired of union employees crying about being mistreated.  realistic, pragmatic solutions -try cutting spending. 

          • grannybunny says:

            The Postal Service has cut spending until there’s little left to cut.  For example, we have downsized our workforce by 35% in the past decade.  However, the Postal Service has nothing to do with the country’s economic problems — other than pouring billions into the Treasury, which has eased the financial burdens on everyone else — because USPS does not receive taxpayer funds.  Privatizing is a non-starter, since there’s no private entity willing — or able — to do the job.  The Postal Service delivers 170 billion items per year to 151+ million — the number keeps growing — addresses.  FedEx and UPS — combined — deliver 6 billion items to 30 million addresses, consigning a substantial (and growing) portion of those to USPS for “the first and last mile.”  Without the Postal Service, the vast majority of Americans would have zero access to mail service, much less at an affordable price.

          • $15300432 says:

            Yea those 130,000 unneeded employees now have to work OT and stay til 6PM

        • Guest says:

          We are all (bunny) ears gb…what is your solution?  What would YOU do first?

          • grannybunny says:

            First, they need to address the Fiscal Cliff, that is, by preventing tax rates from increasing for the Working and Middle Classes and the draconian Sequester spending cuts.  Then, they need to address the urgent, but less immediate, issues like the Farm Bill, Postal reform, etc.  Then, they need to work on longer-term, but very serious, issues like entitlement reform and the Deficit.

          • guestwo says:

            And a tax increase on the job producers funds government for 9 days.  Try cutting entitlements.  Last time I checked most job producers also worked.  But of course not as hard as the postal service employees.  As for your other suggestions that is what boehner is trying to do.  Of course Owebama wants to hurt job creators and then we’ll talk about other reforms later.  What a bunch of hypocrisy.  Trust Owebama at your own risk.  Ask Chris Stevens what that means!!!

          • grannybunny says:

            Your post doesn’t make any sense.  No one claims that Postal workers work harder than everyone else; there are hard workers — and slackers — across the spectrum in our society.  Why would the President want to hurt job creators?  Jobs are what he’s trying to create, and he is judged by how successful he is at it.

          • guestwo says:

            Jobs are what he isd trying to create?  Ignorant statement.  By demonizing job creators?  But you are right.  If they are his buddies they are great.  Otherwise they obtained their wealth by lying, cheating, stealing.  Like Solyndra? 

          • $15300432 says:

            and barak has offered up $1 in spending cuts for every $70 in tax increases

    • Alopes says:

      Obviously you don’t know tge difference between anti-government and anti-waste.  who are anti-government and — by extension — hostile to government employees. They are opposed to employees who waste time and money.  Learn to read and analyze. 

    • $15300432 says:

      Hardly falsely the avg Fed makes $130,000 a year that number is not in dispute

  9. Confused says:

    700,000 is 97% of 2.1 million?