Is Your Agency Among the ‘Best Places to Work’ in Government?

Is your agency one of the “best places to work” in the federal government? Here are the results for 2017 as compiled by the Partnership for Public Service.

The Partnership for Public Service has released the 2017 Best Places to Work in the Federal Government® rankings in conjunction with Deloitte, an annual compilation based primarily on data from the Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey conducted by the Office of Personnel Management (OPM).

The rankings collectively showed a 2.1 point increase in federal employee engagement over last year for a score of 61.5 out of 100. This represents the highest overall score since 2011 and builds on a 2.5 point improvement during the previous two years.

“The gains in federal employee engagement are promising and indicate that an intentional focus on the management of the workforce can make a difference,” said Max Stier, Partnership president and CEO.

The Partnership noted, however, that despite the improvement, the data still show that the federal workforce lags the private sector in overall employee satisfaction.

According to data provided by employee research firm Mercer | Sirota, the 2017 employee engagement score for private sector employees is 77.8 out of 100, 16.3 points higher than the federal government. Only eight federal agencies scored above the private sector average this year.

“When comparing the government to the private sector, we must see greater progress,” said Stier. “Federal leaders should understand that the government competes with the private sector for the best talent, and the government should endeavor to meet or exceed employee engagement levels seen in the best private sector companies.”

Agency Rankings

The rankings include 200 federal agencies and their subcomponents: 18 large federal agencies, 25 midsize agencies, 7 small agencies and 150 subcomponents. Organizations are ranked within one of four groupings: large agency (15,000 or more employees), midsize agency (1,000 – 14,999 employees), small agency (100 – 999 employees) and agency subcomponent (sub agency, bureau, division, center or office).

Below are highlights of the top agencies in the large, mid and small categories.

Large Agencies

  1. National Aeronautics and Space Administration
  2. Department of Health and Human Services
  3. Department of Commerce
  4. Department of Transportation
  5. Intelligence Community
  6. Department of Labor
  7. Department of Agriculture
  8. Department of State
  9. Department of the Interior
  10. Department of the Navy

Mid-Size Agencies

  1. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission
  2. Government Accountability Office
  3. Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation
  4. Federal Trade Commission
  5. Securities and Exchange Commission
  6. Peace Corps
  7. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau
    Smithsonian Institution
  1. National Science Foundation
  2. General Services Administration

Small Agencies*

  1. Overseas Private Investment Corporation
  2. Office of Management and Budget
  3. Millennium Challenge Corporation
  4. Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation
  5. Railroad Retirement Board
  6. National Gallery of Art
  7. Commodity Futures Trading Commission

* OPM initially did not provide data this year for 21 small agencies and 165 subcomponents that were part of the 2016 Best Places to Work analysis. For the first time, OPM limited the available data to agencies and work units with 300 or more respondents instead of 50 respondents, significantly reducing the number of agencies and subcomponents the Partnership could include in the 2017 rankings.

However, OPM reversed its decision and provided the missing data on December 5. As a result of this decision, the rankings for small agencies and subcomponents will be revised in early 2018.

The complete Best Places to Work rankings are available at, and the revised rankings to be released early next year will be available there as well.

About the Author

Ian Smith is one of the co-founders of 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.