This document was downloaded and archived from on May 19, 2001.


Federal Employees Like Their Jobs, Survey Says

By Judy Welles
Work-Life Editor

Dec. 15, 2000--The majority of federal employees say they are satisfied with their jobs, but a third annual governmentwide employee survey shows little change in what they think about working for the government.

In the 2000 survey, conducted by the National Partnership for Reinventing Government (NPR) and the Office of Personnel Management, 63 percent of federal employees said they were satisfied with their jobs. With an overall margin of error of 2 percent, that shows little change from last year's survey, when 60 percent said they were satisfied.

One difference this year is that Food and Drug Administration employees rated their agency most favorably, with 72 percent responding they were satisfied with their jobs. NASA was the most highly rated last year and, along with the General Services Administration, continued to be among those most favorably rated in the 2000 survey.

The NPR data shows the Navy as having the greatest employee satisfaction increase from 1999, from 58 percent to 68 percent. In 1999, only 195 Navy employees responded to the survey, compared to 330 employees in 2000. The margin of error in 1999 for the Navy results was plus or minus 7 percent. The Navy has about 175,000 civilian employees.

Results varied at each agency with the margin of error reaching plus or minus 9 percent at some organizations, making agency-to-agency comparisons impossible, according to NPR.

"We're trying to benchmark what works," said NPR deputy director John Kamensky, who managed the survey. "It's not an agency report card."

Comforts of Work-Life
NPR and OPM have conducted employee surveys for the past three years. Some 21,000 federal employees in 49 agencies responded to the 2000 survey, a 42 percent response rate. The survey was sent to 51,000 employees in September 2000.

Many employees also reported agency support for work-life issues. In 1999 and 2000, about two-thirds of those surveyed said that their supervisors understood and supported employees' family and personal responsibilities.

One area where change can be seen is in Internet access. Slightly more federal employees now have Internet access, with 6 percent more saying they can now get online at the office. This year, 65 percent reported they had Internet access while 16 percent said they did not. At the State Department 25 percent reported they did not have Internet access.

On the question of "Are you clear about how good performance is defined in your agency?" some improvement--5 percent--occurred. Thirty-one percent of respondents said the definition of good performance is clear, compared to 26 percent on last year's survey. That improvement, occurring in less than a year, is "significant" according to Kamensky. But he said the government still faces a challenge in dealing with bad performance.

In 1999, just 28 percent of respondents said managers at their agencies dealt with poor performers effectively. This year, the number who said poor performers were dealt with properly dropped to 25 percent.

Survey respondents also said that federal hiring takes too long.

Some reinvention efforts have led to changes in employee views. For example, 8 percent more employees were aware that plain language was being used in their agency in 2000, up from 26 percent to 34 percent.

One-third reported that reinvention was a priority in their agency, while one-third said reinvention was not a priority. In agencies where it was a priority, 76 percent thought their opinions seemed to count compared to 28 percent in agencies where reinvention was not a priority.

"They were more satisfied by a 2 to 1 margin," Kamensky said. "In agencies where reinvention was a priority, 87 percent were satisfied with their jobs, but only 37 percent were satisfied where reinvention not a priority," he said. News Articles Archive

Message Board Link
Read what others are saying about job satisfaction in the


2000 Federal employee survey results