Federal Job Satisfaction Rises–Why the Difference Between Agencies?

Why are there differences between agencies in job satisfaction? The MSPB offers some answers.

Federal employees are apparently more satisfied with their jobs than they used to be although job satisfaction overall still lags behind the private sector.

A survey by the Merit Systems Protection Board showed similar results as the recent survey from OPM. But what is surprising is that there are considerable differences between agencies. The satisfaction ratings are much higher–or lower–in some agencies than others. But, at the time the survey was taken, the human resources policies were very similar for most agencies. What lead to the differences in job satisfaction?

The Merit Systems Protection Board offers some possible answers. The following three reasons are the most likely reasons employees like working in some agencies more than in others.

  • The match between the person and the job.
  • The extent to which employees believe they are respected for what they do.
  • The extent to which employees believe they are well managed.
  • In its latest issue of the newsletter Issues of Merit, the MSPB concludes that all three factors are important.

    For example, an organization that is well-managed does not necessarily lead to a satisfactory working situation if the skills of the workforce do not match the mission of the agency. Or, at the same time, a poorly managed organization will lead to dissatisfaction on the job–even when the skills of employees are well-matched with the agency’s mission. What is required is the presence of all three factors.

    You can download the latest issue of the Issues of Merit newsletter here.