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How to Find a Federal Employee’s Salary

Our federal employee salary database has been redesigned to make searching easier. Here are tips on using this database to effectively obtain results.

Note: An updated version of this article is available with details on searching the latest available fiscal year of salary data.

FedSmith has recently redesigned the website to make it easier to use the site on mobile devices as well making salary searches easier.

Included with the change is a revision to the page for locating the salary of an individual federal employee. While the underlying data have not changed, the design of the page has been altered to make it easier to locate information.

Filters are used to narrow a search for information in a database. Available filters are the fiscal year of the salary data, along with the employee’s name, location, agency and occupation. Here are the filters that now appear at the top of the page when searching for the salary of a federal employee:

Image showing the new design of available filters for searching for federal employee salaries

Search by Name

The most frequent searches on the federal employee salary database are for information for a specific federal employee. To do this, just type in a person’s name into the “name” search block in this format: last name,first name.

So, for example, if you are searching for a specific federal employee, just type in a name such as: Smith (you can use just the last name if you choose to). If you want to find a specific person, be sure to enter the last name first for a full name. For example: Smith,Agnes. After typing in the name, click on the “Filter” button and you will see the results as illustrated in the graphic below. Note that this search was done on the 2016 database. The default year for a search is now 2015 as it is currently the most comprehensive data set.

Image showing filter results form for an employee named 'Smith,Agnes' at NASA

Sort by Salary Level

With the FedSmith search engine, a reader can search by a person’s name as well as by an agency name to narrow down the search.

First, search for the name of the person. In this case, the search was for a person named “Johnson,F”  in the 2016 database. When you see names as a result of your initial search, you can further narrow your search results.

Second, if you are looking for a person named “Johnson,F” who works for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, type the name of the agency into the filter as well. Click on the “Filter” button, and the results of your search will appear.

Ten names are initially displayed as a default (if there are at least 10 names to be found) but it is possible to select up to 100 names to be displayed at a time using the pull down menu at the top left of the results.

Third, after you have narrowed down your list, it is also possible to sort by individual salaries in a specific agency. Just click on the salary column (arrow in the example screenshot below) after your initial search.

With the first click, the names are displayed from the lowest salary to the highest (ascending order). With the second click on the salary column, the names are displayed from the highest salary to the lowest with the first several names (descending order).  In this graphic, the initial search was for a person named “Johnson, F”.

Image of search results showing how to sort by salary

It is possible to do a salary sort for an entire agency or by any other criteria that have been entered and results have been returned.

One caveat: the data provided vary from year to year and vary between agencies. In some agencies, for example, the name that one would expect to use does not exist. Also, in some agencies, the information provided is sorted by a sub-division of the agency and not be the name of the primary agency organization.

Search by Occupation, Location and Salary

Another common search in the federal salary database is searching for people by their occupation.

For example, if you want to see a list of federal employees with the occupation of “human resources management,” your search results will provide almost 15,000 federal employees with this occupation in the fiscal year (FY) 2015 database.

Here is an example of how to narrow down this type of search. In this example, you can locate federal employees with the “human resources management” occupation located in Denver and simultaneously sort the list from their highest to the lowest salaries. To do this:

  1. Enter the title “human resources management” in the “Occupation” search block and “Denver” in the “Location” block. As you type the job title and location into their respective fields, menus of matching results will appear underneath the field and will be narrowed down further as you type. Simply click on a matching result to populate the field. A word of warning: The matching results will not always provide a result in the salary search. Agencies have changed the names used during different years so consequently, the titles that appear are not available for every fiscal year. We used “human resources management” for this example as this is a common title used in the fiscal year 2015 database.
  2. Click on the “Filter” button to see the results of your search.
  3. Click twice on the “Salary” column to sort the individual salaries of those in the list from the highest salary to the lowest (descending order).
  4. Many of the search options that show up in the pulldown menu will not contain data for the year of your search. In this instance, just using the location of “Denver” will show 84 people in the human resources management occupation. But, if the location of “Denver, Colorado” is used, no results will be displayed as no records are included using that location name.

Top Initial Search Results for Human Resources Management query

This screen shot depicts the initial results of employees in the human resources management occupation before the location filter is applied:

Image showing search results for employees in human resources management

Filtering by Occupation and Location

This screen shot depicts applying the extra location filter of Denver

Image showing filter results form filled out for Denver and employees in human resources management

Filtering by Salary, Occupation and Location

This screen shot illustrates how the results display after the complete set of filters have been applied: the Denver location filter, FY 2015, and the human resources management occupation. Also, the results have been sorted so that the highest salaries are displayed at the top, done by clicking the salary column header twice. There are a total of 84 people listed as a result of this search.

Image showing search results sorted by salary for comptroller of currency

Using the Filters and Sorting Options to Narrow Results

It is also possible to use the filter options and then sort on the columns. Here is an example. In this case, the search is executed to find the federal employees in Jacksonville who have received the highest bonus payments without regard to occupation.

  1. Type Jacksonville into the location search box.
  2. Click twice on the bonus column to sort from the highest to the lowest bonuses paid in Jacksonville in fiscal year 2015.
  3. Note that it is only possible to sort on one column at a time to display your search results. To further filter your search results, use the filter blocks at the top of the salary search page if you wish to narrow down your initial data fields.

Image showing search results sorted by bonus payments for Jacksonville

Miscellaneous Tips for Searching

Here are several other tips for successfully narrowing down your search of the federal employee salary database:

  • Agencies are often not listed as being under the broad umbrella of the main organization such as the “Department of Agriculture” or the “Department of Veterans Affairs” or the “Veterans Administration.” The agencies providing the information have generally opted not to do that. Type in “veterans” under the name of the agency and you will see various agencies with this in their name.
  • With smaller agencies, all employees will usually be found under the main heading. For example, typing in “Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation” will yield results of about 6,625 employees for the agency.
  • Also, for the main database of federal employees, results are usually organized by town but not by the state. For example, typing in Tampa will result in finding about 6,073 federal employees working in Tampa, Florida for FY 2015. Typing in “Florida” rather than the name of a town, will generally not provide any results, although in some limited cases agencies chose to release salary data under just a state name rather than a city name.

We hope that this explanation will be helpful in finding the specific salary information you are seeking.

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