With pay frozen, job openings left unfilled and fewer contracts awarded, it’s no surprise the 2012 employee satisfaction survey reflects lagging morale among federal workers.

“In terms of job satisfaction, federal workers don’t have the resources to do their jobs as well for the public,” said John Palguta, the Partnership’s vice president for policy.
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However, the inspectors’ general office of a number of federal agencies scored quite well on pay in the survey, including the Treasury, EPA, DHS and USDA.

The Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau was also in the top five.

Despite a recession and high unemployment around the country, federal workers have so far not been laid off or lost their jobs in consolidations. However, the budget axe is likely to fall in the coming months.

Nevertheless, only slightly more than half of federal workers – 55% – said they were satisfied with their pay, a drop of 6.9% from 2011 report.

Part of the dissatisfaction surveys have found is that private sector employees are making far better salaries than their federal counterparts.

Federal workers also scored the government lower in 2012 for financial rewards and advancement at 43.4% – a 5.5% drop from 2011, a reflection of tighter budgets and slow movement in replacing the growing numbers of baby boomers opting for retirement.

However, one federal worker commented, “My performance appraisal is a fair reflection of my performance.”

The pay dissatisfaction across the federal government emerged for the first time in the 2010 survey. Since then, it has replaced work/life balance as a key element for overall satisfaction and commitment.

Some federal agencies, however, are exempt from pay caps as they seek to attract highly skilled doctors and scientists for such jobs at the National Institutes of Health, NASA and the Centers for Disease Control.

Large Agencies – Index Scores

Mid-Size Agencies – Index Scores

Small Agencies – Index Scores

Agency Subcomponents – Index Scores