May 22, 2024 - News

Federal workers were more satisfied with their jobs last year

A long exposure photographer showing traffic in front of the Department of Justice building

DOJ ranked low among the best places to work in the federal government. Photo: J. David Ake/Getty Images

Federal worker satisfaction is up for the first time since the pandemic began in 2020, according to an annual report that ranks the best agencies to work in the government.

Why it matters: Engagement and satisfaction increased government-wide, thanks in part to "some sense of normalcy and stability" emerging in 2023, says the Partnership for Public Service.

  • That includes the continuation of hybrid work. Among those surveyed, nearly 54% of employees had a hybrid work schedule while about 32% go into the office every day. Those numbers are "almost identical" to 2022.

The big picture: White House chief of staff Jeff Zients has been ramping up pressure on federal agencies to bring workers back into the office this year.

By the numbers: The list, compiled by the partnership and Boston Consulting Group, shows overall satisfaction increased to 65.7 out of 100 last year, an improvement from recent years but below 2020's 69.

  • NASA for the 12th year in a row took the top prize as the best place to work.
  • One agency on the decline is the FDIC, ranking second-to-last for employee satisfaction among midsize agencies in 2023. The banking regulator's score dropped from 68.5 in 2022 to 62.

The latest: FDIC chair Martin Grueneberg announced Monday he would resign after an independent investigation found widespread sexual harassment at the agency.

Flashback: The FDIC ranked highly through the 2010s, even achieving the top spot. But it declined sharply in 2022.

Context: The Wall Street Journal reported last November that the FDIC had a toxic work environment that included heavy drinking, lewd photos, and its own "boozy hotel" in Arlington.

  • The report spurred a law firm investigation released this month and calls from legislators for new leadership.

The top five satisfaction scores among large agencies:

#1: NASA (82.5)

#2: Department of Health and Human Services (75.2)

#3: Intelligence Community (72.6)

#4: Department of Commerce (72.1)

#5: Department of Veterans Affairs (71.8)

The bottom five:

#13: Office of the Secretary of Defense, Joint Staff, Defense Agencies, and Department of Defense Field Activities (63.7)

#14: Department of Homeland Security (60.8)

#14: Department of State (60.8)

#16: Department of Justice (57.5)

#17: Social Security Administration (52.1)

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