The federal workforce is highly diversified. No one really knows how many federal agencies there are (it depends on how one defines “agency” and who is doing the counting). One estimate is that there are 456. In any event, there are a lot of agencies and independent organizations in the federal government doing many different things.
In some agencies, the salaries paid to federal employees are much higher than in other agencies. Here is a list of agencies with the most employees that make more than $200,000 per year. The $200,000 figure only includes salary; it does not include bonuses or benefits. The highest-paid employees are often in agencies that are specialized and work with industries that employ highly paid people because of their expertise.
Some federal employees are not included in these calculations as the government has concluded employees in some agencies are involved in national security work and that it is not in the public interest to release their individual pay information.
Average Salary for Federal Employees
According to the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) in a 2019 report, the Average Annual Base Salary (adjusted to include locality pay) for Full Time Permanent federal employees was $87,312 per year at the time of the report.
The General Schedule pay system was established in 1949. According to OPM, more than 75% of federal workers were in grade GS-7 or below in 1950. That compares to 20.4% at GS-7 or below at the end of September 2018. This is a decline of 54.6% of lower graded employees. In large part, this is because of the increased specialization and automation of functions in the federal government. It is also probably due in some cases to “grade creep” in agencies.
More than 27% of federal employees were on pay plans outside of the regular GS-scale at the end of fiscal 2018.
Agencies With Most Employees Making Over $100,000
With the average federal employee’s salary standing at $87,312, which agencies have the most employees that make significantly more than average?
Here is a listing of agencies with the highest number of employees who are paid at least $100,000.
|Number of Employees||Agency Name|
|95,458||DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS|
|59,075||DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY|
|46,752||DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE|
|44,873||DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES|
|35,010||DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION|
|30,440||DEPARTMENT OF TREASURY|
|24,924||DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE|
|15,946||DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE|
|14,371||DEPARTMENT OF INTERIOR|
|13,996||SOCIAL SECURITY ADMINISTRATION|
|13,688||NAT AERONAUTICS AND SPACE ADMINISTRATION|
|12,443||INTERNAL REVENUE SERVICE|
|11,145||ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY|
|8,725||DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY|
|7,284||DEPARTMENT OF STATE|
|6,846||DEPARTMENT OF LABOR|
|6,844||GENERAL SERVICES ADMINISTRATION|
|5,358||DEPARTMENT OF HOUSING AND URBAN DEVELOPMENT|
|4,345||FEDERAL DEPOSIT INSURANCE CORPORATION|
|4,189||SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION|
Keep in mind that the number of employees in each agency varies widely. For example, in 2017, OPM reported that among cabinet-level agencies, the Department of Veterans Affairs had more than 342,000 employees while the Department of Justice had about 112,000 and the Department of Agriculture had over 73,000.
Agencies With Lowest Average Salary
This article displays the agencies with the highest average salaries. At the lower end of the salary scale, which agencies have the lowest average salaries? Chances are, most Americans have never heard of some of these federal organizations as they are often small in comparison to other agencies. Here is the list:
|Agency Name||Average Salary|
|BARRY GOLDWATER SCHOOL AND EXCELLENCE IN EDUCATION FOUNDATION||$50,497.80|
|MORRIS K. UDALL AND STEWART L. UDALL FOUNDATION||$62,032.16|
|ARMED FORCES RETIREMENT HOME||$62,629.50|
|U.S. COMMISSION ON INTERNATIONAL RELIGIOUS FREEDOM||$65,702.61|
|NATIONAL CREDIT UNION ADMINISTRATION||$68,446.91|
|DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE||$68,911.78|
|INTERNATIONAL BOUNDARY AND WATER COMMISSION: U.S. SECTION||$69,118.67|
|INTERNAL REVENUE SERVICE||$69,920.48|
|INTERNATIONAL BOUNDARY COMMISSION: U.S. AND CANADA||$70,070.03|
|COUNCIL OF ECONOMIC ADVISERS||$72,051.96|