Best Places to Work in the Federal Government: What Your Clients Need to Know

By Amanda Davis

On November 16, the 2011 Best Places to Work in the Federal Government results were released to the public, and the rankings are already at work helping federal leaders, employees and job seekers. As the most comprehensive view of federal employee satisfaction, the Best Places to Work rankings measure employee satisfaction and commitment in the federal government across 380 federal agencies and sub-components.


Using data from the Office of Personnel Management’s Employee Viewpoint Survey, the Partnership for Public Service compiles the rankings from responses from more than 266,000 civil servants. The Best Places to Work rankings serve as a tool for government agencies and sub-components to self-assess their strengths, identify areas for improving employee satisfaction and generate positive change from within.


This year, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation took the top spot for large agencies in the overall index scores. The Surface Transportation Board was the number one small agency and the Environment and Natural Resource Division of the Department of Justice was the top-ranked sub-component.

Garnering media coverage in The Washington Post and other news outlets, the annual rankings renew healthy competition among federal agencies. They not only spark improvements in the workplace, they also can be a great recruitment tool for agencies that received high marks.

Career development professionals can learn a great deal from how agencies have leveraged their
Best Places to Work rankings to enhance their recruitment efforts. The director of human resources at the Surface Transportation Board, Paula M. Chandler, stated that being the top small agency on the Best Places to Work rankings helps in recruitment, noting that the agency doesn't hire as many people as most agencies and places a premium on attracting the very best talent.


For the third year, the intelligence community, which includes 17 intelligence agencies, was honored with a place in the top 10 Best Places to Work in the federal government. Undoubtedly, intelligence recruitment officials will cite this accomplishment in their recruitment materials as they have in the past. Similarly, the Treasury Department's Bureau of Public Debt (BPD), which has been a high ranking sub-component for several years, declares that "when you work for BPD, you're a part of one of the federal government's most dynamic agencies."


A number of federal agencies include their Best Place to Work rankings in job announcements on USAJOBS, the government’s official jobs website. For example, the General Services Administration (GSA) states in job summary sections that, "GSA has been repeatedly named as one of the Best Places to Work in the Federal Government.”


Just as agencies use their positive rankings as a recruitment tool, you can use this information to effectively advise your clients as they search for the best agency to work for.  Informing your clients about the ideal federal agency is easy with the Best Places to Work  rankings. Agencies and sub-components are not only measured on overall employee satisfaction, but are scored in ten workplace categories, including effective leadership, employee skills and mission match, pay and work/life balance.


An extensive list of agencies’ scores by category is available online and allows clients and career development professionals to compare three specific agencies based on a variety of criteria. Additionally, clients can create a custom report using the interactive website to determine which agencies score the highest in the categories that are most important to them.

To view the rankings, compare agencies and create custom reports based on specific categories, visit www.bestplacestowork.org. This is a great tool to help your clients find the right federal agency for them, and you can put this data to work for your clients today.




Amanda Davis is an Associate Manager at the Partnership for Public Service. Amanda joined the Education and Outreach team at the Partnership in September 2009. Her work at the Partnership primarily includes managing the Federal Service Student Ambassadors program as well as other Call to Serve initiatives. Amanda graduated from Boston College with an honors Philosophy degree. During her time at Boston College, Amanda was an active member of the Student Advisory Committee, planning student events and managing a lecture series. Additionally, Amanda has worked in the Office of Undergraduate Admissions at Boston College. She can be reached at ADavis@ourpublicservice.org

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1 Comment

DENICE LORRAINE on Thursday 05/10/2012 at 06:09AM wrote:

Great article, Thanks for sharing. By the way, one of my friends is looking for a technician job in Pittsburgh & he is thinking to join Key Environmental Inc . but he is not too sure because he has another offer also. He asked my advice. As far as I got to know it is one of the top work place in Pittsburgh. Any further information or link about them is really helpful to him.

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in the comments shown above are those of the individual comment authors and do not reflect the opinions of this organization.