The federal government is falling short in the eyes of its employees when it comes to strategic management, the ability to hire people with the right skills and come up with plans to achieve critical goals.

The 2012 “Best Places to Work in the Federal Government” survey produced by the Partnership for Public Service found that on a scale of 100, employees government-wide gave agencies a rating of just 54.7 for strategic management, down from 56.8 in 2011.

This is one in a series of reports on the 2012 Best Places to Work in the Federal Government. For more news and insights on innovations at work in government, please sign up for the AOL Gov newsletter. For the quickest updates, like us on Facebook.

Max Stier, Partnership for Public Service president and CEO, said the primary issue is “whether managers are getting the right workforce” and “paying attention to whether the organization is moving in the right direction.”

The answer in too many cases, he said, is no.

The survey found wide variations among agencies on this issue, which is based on questions that measure the extent to which employees believe that management ensures they have the necessary skills and abilities to do their jobs, is successful at hiring new employees with the necessary skills to help the organization, and works to achieve the progress toward meeting organizational goals.

As vacancies grow at federal agencies with an increasing number of retirees and belt-tightening among agencies as budgets grow tighter, there is an increasing emphasis on finding the right person to do the job.

Many vacancies will not be filled, according to federal workplace analysts, and workers will be required to handle more tasks without additional resources. That will require better management of existing assets and redefined jobs.

The scores are based on a survey of federal government employees conducted earlier this year by the Office of Personnel Management.

Following are the top five agencies for strategic management ratings at large, mid-size, and small federal agencies, and agency subcomponents. The full rankings and analysis are at the Partnership for Public Service’s Best Places to Work website.

Large Agencies – Index Scores

Mid-Size Agencies – Index Scores

Small Agencies – Index Scores

Agency Subcomponents – Index Scores