Highest Paying Administrative Jobs: Where Are They and What Are Their Salaries?

Many agencies have positions unique to their mission. This means many of the highly specialized jobs are only found in those agencies. Financial specialists with unique knowledge or experience or federal employees with specialized knowledge of commodities trading or the intricacies of tax law will not be found in many agencies.

But, on the other hand, there are administrative jobs in all agencies. It would be hard to find an agency that does not employ human resources specialists (perhaps going by names such as human capital specialists or some other unique appellation that involves the same set of skills) or equal employment opportunity specialists.

But, while the skill sets may be the same, not all agencies pay the same salary to these groups of employees. For example, while there is a cap on GS employees at $158,700, some agencies are exempt.

The salaries of administrative employees follows the ladder up the pay scale along with others in the agency. For example, here are the salaries of the top 10 EEO officials in the government based on the 2014 data in the FedSmith database of federal employee salaries (arranged from lowest to highest salaries). Some of these employees may have salary caps if they are under the federal government’s general schedule. The names of the individuals have been deleted for both human resources and EEO officials for this article.

Agency Number of Employees Salary of Highest Paid EEO  Official
COMMODITY FUTURES TRADING COMMISSION 654 $171,162.00
DEPARTMENTAL OFFICES 1,865 $173,888.00
ASST SEC FOR DIVERSITY & INCLUSION 26 $175,336.00
OFC OF DEPT EQUAL EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITY 19 $176,430.00
DEPARTMENT OF STATE 12,538 $181,500.00
DHS HEADQUARTERS 2,687 $181,500.00
HEADQUARTERS, NASA 1,438 $181,500.00
OFFICE OF THE SECRETARY 1,274 $181,500.00
U.S. COAST GUARD 8,200 $181,500.00
OFC OF COMPTROLLER OF CURRENCY 3,867 $186,077.00
FEDERAL DEPOSIT INSURANCE CORPORATION 6,869 $210,075.00

Here are top ten salaries of human resources professionals working for the federal government (going from lowest to highest salaries):

Organization Number of Employees Salary
OFFICE OF THE SECRETARY, COMMERCE 1,274 $181,500.00
TRANSPORTATION SECURITY ADMINISTRATION 25,271 $181,500.00
AGENCY FOR INTERNATIONAL DEV 3,786 $181,500.00
PRESIDIO TRUST 313 $185,000.00
COMMODITY FUTURES TRADING COMMISSION 654 $199,054.00
FEDERAL HOUSING FINANCE AGENCY 591 $204,293.00
SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION 4,196 $215,168.00
NATIONAL CREDIT UNION ADMINISTRATION 1,225 $220,770.00
FEDERAL DEPOSIT INSURANCE CORPORATION 6,869 $233,000.00
OFC OF COMPTROLLER OF CURRENCY 3,867 $247,860.00

The lesson for federal employees in this pay disparity? Try to get a job in one of the agencies outside of the regular General Schedule pay system. For employees who want to raise their “high three” average salary years prior to retiring, employees in some of these agencies will enjoy a higher salary while an active federal employee and are also likely to enjoy a higher retirement income for the rest of their lives than employees doing the same job in other agencies under the traditional GS system.

© 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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