Government workers dissatisfied with their jobs


Furloughed federal workers demand an end to the government shutdown outside the U.S. Capitol on October 4, 2013. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

The level of satisfaction and commitment among federal workers has reached a new low. The Partnership for Public Service has conducted its job satisfaction survey for ten years and the current numbers are the lowest its ever seen with 57.8% of federal workers satisfied with their jobs.

Effective leadership was the major factor in determining job satisfaction. Other factors included consistency between the agency’s mission and the employee’s skills, salary, diversity, and the ability to balance work with one’s personal life.

The 2013 Best Places to Work report also indicates a widening gap among public and private sector employees than in years past. The job satisfaction and commitment score for private sector employees rose to 70.7 percent this year.
The authors of the report noted, “The lower government-wide satisfaction score … came during a difficult time for federal employees, who have faced a three-year pay freeze, furloughs, hiring slowdowns and across-the-board budget reductions.”

Max Stier, president of the Partnership for Public Service, told the Washington Post that the decline in worker satisfaction is “an ongoing train crash.”

While the report showed a dismal outlook for government employees, some federal agencies fared well. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration received the highest satisfaction score for large agencies with a score of 74 out of 100.

However, NASA employees were hit hard by the government shutdown in October. 97% of its workers were furloughed]( The Partnership for Public Service’s report was conducted prior to the shutdown.

In addition to conducting the comprehensive satisfaction survey, the Partnership for Public Service seeks to inspire federal workers, which culminates in an annual award ceremony honoring outstanding government employees. However, at this year’s ceremony, four of the nine medal recipients were furloughed due to the government shutdown.

Jeffrey Brown spoke with with one of the furloughed medal winners in October, who foreshadowed one of the bright spots of the recent report. Despite low ratings for advancement opportunities and recognition for achievements, federal workers typically like the type of work that they do. Kevin Geiss, winner of the Management Excellence Medal, referred to the shutdown, telling the Newshour, “Well, I will say that I’m frustrated, because I joined the federal service in 2002 because I wanted to serve and my biggest frustration is that I am kept out of my office.”

H/T Bridget Bowman