FedSmith.com Users Glum on Pay Raise Prospects

According to the results of our latest survey, a vast majority of FedSmith.com users believe that the pay freeze will continue into 2014.

According to the results of our latest survey, a vast majority of FedSmith.com users believe that the pay freeze will continue into 2014.

We asked our readers if they thought federal employees would receive a pay raise next year. Of the more than 2,300 responses we received, 48.74% said there will be no raise in 2014. 30% predicted there would be and 21.26% said they were not sure.

If there is a raise, the majority of respondents believe that it will be a small one. 56.78% of those responding said the raise would be 1% or less, and 11.21% said it would be in the 2-5% range.

But how much of a pay increase did respondents think the federal workforce SHOULD get? The results break down as follows:

There should be no raise 5.1%
1% or less 3.81%
2-5% 70.29%
6-9% 12.97%
10% or more 7.82%

Remembering the good times

We were curious how these results compared with the past. Ten years ago, we asked FedSmith.com readers the same questions. The results from the past indicate that the federal workforce is not as optimistic about the present pay situation as they were in the past.

When we asked about the prospects of getting a pay increase in 2004, 86% of respondents said they would get a raise, 1% said they would not and 13% were not sure.

As for how much that raise would be, 3% expected a raise of 10% or more, 3% expected a raise of between 5-10%, 55% expected a raise of 4%, 24% expected a raise of about 3%, and 16% expected a raise of 2% or less.

As to what raise those responding at the time said they should get, the results looked like this:

There should be no raise 2%
3% 5%
4% 32%
5-10% 42%
10% or more 16%

So how much of a raise did federal workers end up getting in 2004? It turns out the majority of respondents predicted accurately. The president proposed a 2% raise, but a 4.1% raise was ultimately granted. It came in two parts though: on January 1, 2004, a 2% raise went into effect, and a 4.1% was eventually paid retroactively due to a hold up in a spending bill that contained the pay increase. The military got a 4.1% pay increase in 2004 also, so pay parity prevailed that year to grant the larger increase over the 2% that was proposed by the president.

Comments left by respondents from our latest survey indicated a general frustration with the lack of a pay raise from the last few years and the gloominess about the prospects for a raise in 2014. A representative sampling of some of the comments is included below:

  • I feel that the Government has been picked on this whole time. It’s time to allow us to get a raise. We’ve done our part! Come on let’s get real; we have to survive just like everyone else.
  • The House wants Federal Employees to make up the difference from the deficits.
  • For everyone who complained that Federal employees were job secure and getting raises while private sector employees were stagnate- well – most private sector employees (especially union members) are now receiving pay raises. Using the private sector mentallity, time for federal employees to get pay raises.
  • I can get $14 more per hour in private sector w/ a bunch less paperwork. Time to move on.
  • Unfortunately if the country is broke no raises should be given to any township, county, state, or federal employee.- — but we all pay our taxes. Time to stop the tax cheaters! Working under the table, renting houses for cash, collecting social security, unemployment, and food stamps when able to work.
  • A snowball in Hell would have a better chance than the powers-that-be giving us a raise, sad to say. Hoping to get a VSIP soon so I can retire and get out. What a sad ending to the 38 years I have spent in gov’t service.
  • Federal employees have not received a raise for the past three or four years. We are expected to be more effecient, take over more work give 120% to our jobs. For what….to get furloughed…while higher gets trips to play golf on my tax paying dollars..overseas trips, etc. How many days do they get furloughed? It is like the parent telling their children..do what I say do not what I do.
  • The Republican lead zealots in the House will continue to attempt to balance the budget on the backs of federal workers while they provide thier corporate backers with tax breaks.
  • Although federal employees should get a pay raise, the general public is still misinformed that we all get enough money already. This comes from the misconception that we all make big bucks when a large majority of federal workers make $50,000 or less. I really hope we do get at least a small pay raise, even if it is just a cost of living increase.
  • The workforce will shrink even more. I retired 12/2013 because of the lack of incentive (I was a GS 14 manager) & happy with my decision now that I see the effects on salaries. I have my doubts when recommending the Fed Govmnt to constituents. A salary increase will motivate those still working & encourage those new hires.
  • It has been much too easy for congress to deny us pay increases and if they continue to deny us what, by law, is rightfully ours, the Congress needs to be replaced! Vote out the old; vote in the new!
  • For too many years Federal Employess have suffered due to the elected officials that only care about getting re-elected and not about performing the job they were sent to Washington to do. When it comes time to make cuts they look to the work force that serves this country and not the waste that is generated by them. Whatever so called savings that are realized from our sacrifices are soon burned up thier inability to govern.
  • Surely not everyone out there is blind enough to think that all federal employees are being paid too much. In the past several years I have been painfully aware of the fact that I can make more money in a private hospital than what I make now. I love the Veteran’s and that is the only reason I am still here.
  • Averaging 3% for 2011, 2012, and 2013, the pay raise should bee 9 percent. Perhaps Obama will give such a raise his last year like Carter did (not quite 9% but a way of thanking feds for their hard work – not the legislatures on the hill.

Thanks to our users who took the time to respond to this survey and share your comments. Feel free to discuss it further in the comments below.

About the Author

Ian Smith is one of the co-founders of FedSmith.com. He has over 20 years of combined experience in media and government services, having worked at two government contracting firms and an online news and web development company prior to his current role at FedSmith.