Which Agencies Have the Happiest SES Employees?

A new report ranks federal agencies by the level of job satisfaction expressed by employees in the Senior Executive Service.

A new report from the Partnership for Public Service and the McKinsey & Co. consulting firm shows which federal agencies have the most satisfied federal employees in the Senior Executive Service.

According to the report, the top 5 agencies in terms of SES satisfaction and commitment are:

  1. NASA
  2. Nuclear Regulatory Commission
  3. Office of Personnel Management
  4. Department of Labor
  5. Environmental Protection Agency

So which agencies had the least satisfied SES employees? Those were the VA, Defense Department, and Social Security Administration.

The most common reasons SES employees cited for leaving their jobs were political environment, senior leadership and organizational culture. Pay (or lack thereof) was on the list, but it was much further down the list.

Things such as culture and recognition were big contributing factors to the level of satisfaction of SES employees. One employee cited President Obama’s meeting with SES employees in December of 2014 as an example that helped boost morale, calling it “a huge shot in the arm.”

The overall message of the report, however, is that the health of the SES is in jeopardy with most members eligible to retire in the next 10 years and only about half of federal employees in the GS 14 and 15 ranks expressing interest in advancing into the SES ranks. Consequently, the report goes into much more details in areas such as culture, recruiting and hiring, and performance management to show how agencies are winning in these areas as well as how they can improve to help bolster the overall health of the SES.

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.