FedSmith.com Users Unsatisfied with Their Federal Careers

By on January 11, 2015 in Current Events, Pay & Benefits with 41 Comments

The 2014 Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey (FEVS) results showed a clear trend towards declining morale and overall contentment in areas such as job satisfaction and a belief that one’s agency was a recommended place at which to work.

The majority of FedSmith.com users are federal employees, so we were curious if our readers shared some of these same views that came through in the FEVS.

Here is what our users told us in a recent survey:

How satisfied are you with each of the following:

Highly Satisfied Satisfied Neither Satisfied Nor Dissatisfied Unsatisfied Highly Unsatisfied
Your pay 6.37% 34.64% 17.65% 29.61% 11.73%
Your job overall 4.73% 29.62% 20.83% 34.35% 10.47%
The resources you have to do your job 2.36% 24.89% 19.26% 38.63% 14.86%
Whether or not the work you do makes a difference 12.39% 34.46% 21.51% 21.06% 10.59%
Morale in your agency 0.90% 5.73% 10.67% 37.87% 44.83%
Fair treatment of all employees in your agency 1.80% 9.36% 17.81% 33.03% 37.99%
Leadership in your agency maintaining high standards of honesty/integrity 2.81% 10.77% 16.50% 28.17% 41.75%
Leadership encouraging the use of collaboration and communication 3.04% 11.70% 23.06% 29.36% 32.85%

While respondents indicated they were generally satisfied with their pay and making a difference with their work, other aspects of their careers were very much unsatisfying.

The overwhelming majority of respondents said that they felt morale was on the decline at their agencies. When asked if they thought that morale was generally declining or improving, 90% said they thought it was declining and only 1% said it was improving. The other 9% said it was holding steady. When asked if they would recommend their agency as a good place to work, only 25% said yes.

Most respondents were long time employees of the government and worked at a wide variety of agencies (Army, Navy, Air Force, VA, EEOC, Postal Service, USDA, TSA, and SSA were among the wide variety of employing agencies reported). 44% said they have worked at their current agencies for over 20 years, 25% for 11-20 years, 19% for 6-10 years, and the others had been at their agencies for 5 years or less.

Nearly all respondents were under the General Schedule pay system. 54% of respondents were GS 7-12, 31% were GS 13-15, and 6% were GS 1-6. 2% of respondents were under the Federal Wage System and less than 1% were Senior Executive Service.

We received numerous comments, the majority of which reflect the overall negative feelings that were evident in the response trends. A sampling of some of the comments are included below.

  • It is all about who you know and playing your bosses game. The corruptness and falsifying government documents and systems is incredible. Most management levels above the Supervisory can’t be trusted and play favorites. More and more the management staff is being given to men who can’t do the job or women who literally play games and watch Magic Mike on utube with their staff on government computers. This is no longer the job I know of long ago – Morale and work ethics are at the bottom of the list and nobody cares!!!!
  • My pay raises have been sporadic with the current administration. My pay used to keep up with the economy, now we are falling seriously behind the economy as we’ve only had a 1% raise–the raise in 2015 should have been much higher to even get us close to what we’ve lost.
  • This is the worst that I have seen it in DoD in my entire career. Leadership (or lack of) is the biggest issue here impacting employee satisfaction with their jobs and the Army continues to ignore this fact and does nothing to address it. The folks in our senior management tell employees if you arent happy leave.
  • Hard working employees are not recognized as any different than the slackers.
  • Engagement here is pathetic. Only initiatives that coincide with previously determined plans are selected and then ballyhooed as the most innovative proposals. Even the simplest proposals take months/years to implement. There is no true dialogue going on between senior management and employees. The only goal is raising the FEVS score, not making this a more open and better place to work. Management even caps the number of suggestions they will entertain.
  • While I feel my job is very important, I do not feel Upper Management listens to the ones who do the work, therefore, they make my job more difficult than it has too be. Issues brought up in meetings are usually put on what management calls the parking lot; however, it is more like a long term parking garage. The issues are never addressed.
  • We have had constant reorganization and program change for at least last 3 to 4 years. Budgets are ALWAYS late thus planning is ALWAYS last minute and subject to change!! No way to run an organization!!
  • Our management is horrible, they continue mismanage work load which causes stress and dissatifaction with the employees in the office. Managers don’t care how employees are feeling about being overwelmed with work. They put employees in positions of authority that should not have authority.
  • I love what I do, but I hate that congress has no respect for federal workers. They freeze pay, cut jobs, yet there is never any mention of cutting money to other countries or to welfare. We need to keep our money at home. Take care of the American people first. Don’t treat us (federal employees) like the scum of the earth and the cause of all the federal debt.
  • Having bosses stand around and stare at you, ready to jump on you when things go wrong, is not productive.
  • Management only seems concerned with promoting minorities and females regarless of their qualifications. Upper management only sends emails patting people on the back for some reward they received. We never get emails informing us about details of the projects being done here.
  • I used to rarely take leave but now days, my time card is peppered with time off. I dread going to work. The stress is so great; I was transferred to a position I did not want in a program I do not feel should be, with not enough personnel to do the job. The amount of paper is mind boggling.
  • We are continually expected to do more with less. As in a lot more with a lot less. And then when we do, it simply becomes expected of us. When I started 28 years ago, my office serviced one county with four employees. Now, our office services 13 counties with the same number of employees, plus we have to help other areas that have even less staffing than ours. All this with no money for travel, supplies, or training. We routinely purchase our own pens and pencils, or pick up free pens at the local banks.

Thanks to our users for taking the time to share their feedback and comments on this subject.

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

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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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