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Feds' job satisfaction falls again

Nov. 8, 2013 - 06:00AM   |  
By SEAN REILLY Staff writer   |   Comments

Federal employee job satisfaction ratings dipped again this year across a broad array of yardsticks, according to survey findings released Friday by the Office of Personnel Management.

Of 77 areas measured by the Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey, 53 showed declines in satisfaction and most of the remainder were flat, according to an OPM summary. The downticks were generally only one or two percentage points, but they continued a trend underway for several years. Almost 376,600 workers responded to the voluntary survey, now administered each year by OPM.

Although more than 90 percent of respondents said that they are constantly looking for ways to do their jobs better and are willing to put in extra effort, the overall results are “cause for concern,” Katherine Archuleta, the agency’s newly installed director, said in a preface to the report that attributed the decline to the impact of the three-year pay freeze, sequester-related budget cuts and reductions in training and other areas. This year’s survey was taken before last month’s partial government shutdown.

“Without a more predictable and responsible budget situation, we risk losing our most talented employees, as well as hurting our ability to recruit top talent for the future,” Archuleta said.

The strongest signal of discontent centered around compensation; 54 percent of this year’s respondents answered positively when asked how satisfied they were with their pay, a five-percentage-point drop from last year and down from 66 percent in 2010.

Only 19 percent agreed that pay raises depend on how well employees do their jobs, down from 22 percent last year and 26 percent in 2010. There were also indications that cutbacks in other areas are taking a toll. Forty-four percent of respondents said they had the resources to do their jobs, compared with 48 percent last year and 50 percent in 2010. And while 53 percent of respondents to last year’s survey believed that agencies assessed their training needs, just 50 percent felt that way this year.

Employee satisfaction rose in two areas. Some 76 percent of respondents said they were satisfied with their agencies’ use of telework, a three-percentage-point jump from last year. There was also a smaller increase in one gauge of employee satisfaction with their bosses. Eighty percent of those surveyed said their supervisors or team leaders treated them with respect, up from 79 percent last year.

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