2017 FEVS Results Show Federal Employees Increasingly Satisfied With Pay, Work/Life Programs

OPM has announced the initial results of the 2017 Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey.

The Office of Personnel Management has announced the results of the 2017 Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey (FEVS). The results show that employee responses are increasingly moving in a positive direction over previous years.

Survey Respondents

OPM said that 486,105 employees responded to the survey out of the 1,068,151 to whom it was sent, a 45.5% response rate, which is the lowest since 2012. Respondents represented 80 agencies from small to large. The highest response rate (97%) was in “very small” agencies (those with less than 100 employees) while “very large” agencies (over 75,000 employees) only had a 64% response rate.

Image depicting percentages of the demographics of the 2017 FEVS respondents


So how do employees feel about their pay in the latest survey results? Like the overall results, this area showed an upward trend over previous years, although there is one area in particular where respondents gave low scores.

61% of respondents answered positively when asked, “Considering everything, how satisfied are you with your pay?”. This was the highest positive response since 2013.

41% of respondents answered positively to the question asking if they felt creativity and innovation are rewarded in their agencies. As to whether respondents felt pay raises depend on how well employees perform their jobs, only 25% answered positively, but this was the highest percentage since 2013. This latter question also was the question from the survey which generated the highest negative response.

The trend in overall pay satisfaction has increased each year since 2013, the final year of the pay freeze, and annual raises have also generally increased since then. The table below shows the raises given to federal employees since 2013.

Year Raise (%)
2013 none
2014 1%
2015 1%
2016 1.3%
2017 2.1%
2018 1.9%*
* Proposed raise for 2018 is not yet finalized

Overall Job Satisfaction

What did respondents have to say about their overall job satisfaction as federal employees? This area also showed an upward trend.

Among questions from this category, the one which received the highest positive response (68%) was, “Considering everything, how satisfied are you with your job?”. The lowest score (37%) was given to the question asking, “How satisfied are you with your opportunity to get a better job in your organization?”.

50% answered positively on receiving recognition for a job well done, 45% about satisfaction of policies and practices of senior leaders, and 55% on satisfaction with training received on the job.

Work/Life Programs

Some of the highest scores from the survey were in the area of work/life programs. 81% of respondents responded positively to their agencies available telework programs, and 90% responded positively about alternative work schedules.

Highest Rated Agencies

So which agencies had the happiest employees overall? OPM measures what it calls the Employee Engagement Index (EEI) in the FEVS results which is a measure of an agency’s work environment — the conditions that lead to engagement. The EEI index is made up of three subfactors: leaders lead, supervisors, and intrinsic work experience.

The survey results highlighted the agency with the highest EEI rating among the five agency categories. The Marine Mammal Commission came out highest overall while HHS was tops among very large agencies.

Highest employee engagement scores from the 2017 FEVS across different size agencies (very small to very large)

How do the 2017 FEVS results compare to your own experiences at your agency? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

2017 Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey Results

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.