Agencies With Highest & Lowest Average Salary

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By on August 6, 2019 in Pay & Benefits with 0 Comments
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With the latest data now in and available in the FedSmith federal employee salary database, we have compiled and describe a little more in-depth information from this data. For information on how to search this database, see Finding a Federal Employee’s Salary.

Agencies With Highest Average Salary

One data point that generates interest among readers is the agencies with the highest average salary. For 2018, here is the list of these agencies and the average salary in that agency. For comparison purposes, the average pay for a federal employee in Washington, DC is $119,840.

AgencyAverage Salary
SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION$192,410.50
COMMODITY FUTURES TRADING COMMISSION$179,049.29
FARM CREDIT SYSTEM INSURANCE CORPORATION$171,692.50
FEDERAL HOUSING FINANCE AGENCY$170,154.61
NUCLEAR WASTE TECHNICAL REVIEW BOARD$159,032.93
ARCTIC RESEARCH COMMISSION$153,133.03
MEDICARE PAYMENT ADVISORY COMMISSION$144,957.99
FEDERAL DEPOSIT INSURANCE CORPORATION$144,787.02
FARM CREDIT ADMINISTRATION$143,353.48
APPALACHIAN REGIONAL COMMISSION$142,956.86

Agencies With Lowest Average Salary

And, of course, there is usually interest in the other end of the average salary spectrum. Here are the agencies with the lowest average salary for fiscal year 2018.

AgencyAverage Salary
BARRY GOLDWATER SCHOOL & EXCELLENCE IN
EDUCATION FOUNDATION
$35,351.00
MORRIS K. UDALL & STEWART L. UDALL FOUNDATION$58,944.64
ARMED FORCES RETIREMENT HOME$61,383.98
INTERNATIONAL BOUNDARY CMSN: U.S. AND CANADA$65,382.80
DEPARTMENT OF THE ARMY$66,612.13
DEPARTMENT OF THE AIR FORCE$66,817.18
INTER BOUND AND WATER COMM U.S. SECTION$67,394.86
DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE$68,092.70
DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE$69,517.60

The agencies with the lowest average salaries are often small agencies (obviously, that does not apply to the Department of the Army or Air Force or Department of Defense).

In a number of cases, the agencies with the highest average salary operate under different legislative authority. In these agencies, Congress has authorized a different pay system because of difficulty in hiring employees with specialized expertise in positions that often pay a large salary.

There is also a difference in the numbers and types of employees in an agency. In some agencies, there are a large number of employees in lower paid occupations which obviously brings down the average salary number.

What About Looking for a Job in These Higher Paying Agencies?

One question asked by some readers is whether a federal employee should consider trying to become an employee in an agency that pays a higher salary. The obvious answer to this is “yes” as a higher salary while a current federal employee will lead to a higher retirement annuity.

Often, the agencies with the higher salaries are in Washington, DC, so if a current federal employee is already working in that area, finding a higher paid job in these agencies will be less disruptive.

While most of the jobs in these agencies are likely to require particular expertise, the higher salaries often carry over to jobs that are in all agencies. For example, human resources, equal employment opportunity and computer professionals work in all agencies. If an opportunity arises in your field that pays a higher wage, checking out the opportunity may be a good move.

© 2019 Ralph R. Smith. All rights reserved. This article may not be reproduced without express written consent from Ralph R. Smith.

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 onĀ federal human resources. Follow Ralph on Twitter: @RalphSmith47

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