How Many Federal Employees Are In the Highest Paid Groups?

As a follow-up to questions asked by readers about the updated database of salaries for individual federal employees, here are several facts regarding federal employee salaries. One question that is often asked, is “How many higher paid federal employees are there in this database?” Here are the answers:

  • Number of federal employees making more than $300,000 per year: 1,257
  • Number of federal employees making more than $200,000 per year: 14,803
  • Number of federal employees making more than $175,000 per year: 30,218
  • Number of federal employees making more than $100,000 per year: 375,843

There are a number of names and locations of individual federal employees that are not included in the database. Names of federal employees are excluded from the salary data by the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) or their employing agencies. The names are excluded when the government determines that they are in “Sensitive Occupations” and/or in security agencies. Their salaries, however, are normally included in the database without the individual identifying information.

Which are the highest paying agencies (by average annual salary)

If you want to increase your federal salary, which are the best agencies for meeting this goal? Here are the agencies with the highest average annual salaries:

Annual Salary Agency
$167146.10 FARM CREDIT SYSTEM INSURANCE CORPORATION
$165300.00 NORTHERN BORDER REGIONAL COMMISSION
$156883.08 SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
$155500.00 AIR FORCE C2 & INTEL, SURVEIL & RECON
$149576.44 ARCTIC RESEARCH COMMISSION
$148397.27 DEFENSE ADVANCED RESEARCH PROJECTS AGCY
$147938.90 DOD TEST RESOURCE MANAGEMENT CENTER
$147228.06 FEDERAL HOUSING FINANCE AGENCY
$145307.86 PRIVACY AND CIVIL LIBERTIES OVERSIGHT
$145185.52 COMMODITY FUTURES TRADING COMMISSION
$138264.75 NAT CTR FOR VET ANALYSIS AND STATISTICS
$137828.27 NATIONAL COUNCIL ON DISABILITY
$137504.48 OFFICE OF THE SECRETARY OF DEFENSE
$136630.67 IMMED OFC ASST SEC CONGR & LEGIS AFFAIRS
$135330.10 IMMED OFC OF ASST SEC FOR HUMN RES & ADM
$134377.77 DEFENSE TECHNOLOGY SECURITY ADMIN
$132827.95 AIR FORCE PROGRAM EXECUTIVE OFFICE
$132447.76 MEDICARE PAYMENT ADVISORY COMMISSION
$131353.80 AMES RESEARCH CENTER
$130349.70 DEFENSE NUCLEAR FACILITIES SAFETY BOARD
$130270.92 DOMESTIC NUCLEAR DETECTION OFFICE
$130252.60 MARINE MAMMAL COMMISSION
$129865.31 MEDICAID & CHIP PAYMENT & ACCESS COMM
$129688.21 CIVILIAN BOARD OF CONTRACT APPEALS
$128987.74 OFFICE OF NATIONAL DRUG CONTROL POLICY
$127707.33 ARCHITECTL & TRANS BARRIER COMPLIANCE BD
$126178.05 INTERNATIONAL JOINT CMSN: U.S. & CANADA
$125853.00 DEP ASST SEC FOR PLANNING & EVALUATION
$125760.74 OFFICE OF THE CHIEF ECONOMIST
$124935.33 MILLENNIUM CHALLENGE CORPORATION

One question asked by readers is along the lines of “How can federal employees make more than the salary cap on a General Schedule employee?” Good question, and many employees in agencies that pay less than those in the list above may be wondering the same thing.

A number of agencies now pay much more than the salaries reflected in the GS pay system, usually due to special implementing legislation for those agencies. Of course, the higher salaries may also impact an individual for many years after leaving federal service as their future retirement annuity is based on their pay as a federal employee.  Getting a job in one of these higher paying federal agencies can provide a payoff that will benefit these fortunate individuals for decades. (Also see, Highly Paid Federal Administrative Positions: Where Are They and How Much Do They Make?)

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

About the Author

Ralph Smith has several decades of experience working with federal human resources issues. He has written extensively on a full range of human resources topics in books and newsletters and is a co-founder of two companies and several newsletters on federal human resources.

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