Gender, Age and Salary in the Federal Workforce

How has the average federal employee changed in the past 5 years? Is there a difference in average salary for men and women? Is the workforce getting older or younger? Here is a summary.

What is the average federal employee’s salary? (To locate the salary of an individual federal employee, click here.)

Disputes often arise in reader comments about the average federal salary and whether it is going up or down as a result of the federal pay freeze in effect for several years. Some readers also think that using the median salary figure will make a dramatic difference.

Here is an overall picture of average federal salaries since 2011. These figures are for full-time permanent federal employees and do not include the cost of the federal benefit package and based on the latest data published by the federal government:

Fiscal Year Average Salary Median Salary
2011 $77,505 $71,102
2012 $78,467 $72,714
2013 $79,374 $73,736
2014 $80,564 $75,376
2015 $81,578 $76,131


The average age of the federal workforce has gone up steadily over the last five years, despite the large number of federal retirees. In 2011, the average age was 46.9. In 2015, the average age was 47.4. The trend may have come to a standstill though as there was no change in the average age between 2014 and 2015 and the median age decreased slightly between 2014 and 2015.

Fiscal Year Average Age Median Age
2011 46.9 48.1
2012 47.1 48.3
2013 47.3 48.5
2014 47.4 48.6
2015 47.4 48.5

Men constituted more than 57% of the federal workforce at the end of FY 2015. Here are the gender trends:

FY Female Male Total
2011 796,627 1,059,952 1,856,580
2012 790,085 1,060,226 1,850,311
2013 781,268 1,050,455 1,831,723
2014 777,455 1,048,305 1,825,762
2015 781,303 1,057,033 1,838,352
Avg. Salary in FY 2015 $78,189 $84,083 $81,578

No doubt, there are a number of reasons for the disparity. OPM did not speculate or state reasons for the differential in pay and FedSmith will not do so either. Readers are free to offer their own opinions in the comment section of this article.

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. Follow Ralph on Twitter: @RalphSmith47