What Are the Worst Agencies to Work for in Government?

By on December 8, 2015 in Agency News, Pay & Benefits with 142 Comments

Image of stressed employee at desk

Which federal agencies are the least recommended by the federal employees who work for them? The 2015 Best Places to Work in the Federal Government analysis from the Partnership for Public Service has the answers.

According to the analysis, the Army, the Department of Veterans Affairs, and the Department of Homeland Security ranked the worst among large agencies. For medium sized agencies, the National Archives and Records Administration, Broadcasting Board of Governors, and Small Business Administration scored last, while the Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board and Federal Election Commission rounded out the bottom of the list for small agencies.

These overall rankings measure employee satisfaction and commitment and are based on the answers to three questions from the Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey:

  • I recommend my organization as a good place to work. (Q. 40)
  • Considering everything, how satisfied are you with your job? (Q. 69)
  • Considering everything, how satisfied are you with your organization? (Q. 71)

So if those agencies faired the worst, which had the happiest employees?

For large agencies, the top 3 were National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the Intelligence Community, and the Department of Justice. For medium sized agencies, it was the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, the Peace Corps, and the Government Accountability Office, while the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service, Overseas Private Investment Corporation, and the Federal Labor Relations Authority topped the list for small agencies.

Those were the rankings for overall satisfaction, but what about pay?

The federal workers least satisfied with their pay work for the Department of Veterans Affairs (among large agencies), the Federal Trade Commission (mid-size agencies), and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (small agencies).

And those happiest with their pay work for National Aeronautics and Space Administration (among large agencies), Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (mid-sized agencies), and the Federal Labor Relations Authority (small agencies).

According to the official analysis from the Partnership for Public Service, federal employees’ government-wide job satisfaction improved over 2014, which, according to the Partnership for Public Service, “may be the result of several factors, including a rebound by the workforce from events such as the 2013 across-the-board budget cuts known as sequestration, the partial government shutdown that same year that resulted in the furlough of more than 800,000 employees and three years of pay freezes that ended in 2014.”

The Partnership for Public Service also said, however, that compared to the private sector, federal employees are far less satisfied with their jobs, lagging the private sector by an 18.6 point differential.

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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.