Best and Worst Government Jobs

NASA was ranked as one of the top agencies to work for in 2014. AP

If you’re thinking about working for the government, you might want to consider taking a look at the 2014 list “Best Places to Work in the Federal Government,’’ released by The Partnership for Public Service Tuesday.

The list ranks 389 federal agencies, looking at overall employee satisfaction and commitment, as well as leadership, teamwork and work-life balance.

The nonprofit gathers the data by talking to nearly 400,000 civil servants with a wide variety of government jobs. Agencies are ranked out of scores of 100. Then they’re broken down by size: large (15,000+), mid-sized (1,000-14,999), and small (less than 1,000).

The greatest overall improvement was for the small-sized agency of the Office of the US Trade Representative, which coordinates international trade. It jumped 19 points.

The largest drop in ranking was for the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, a small-sized agency that aims to protect market users and the public from unfair trading practices. It dropped 14.30 points.

One notable trend: Across the board, there was a general decrease in federal employee job satisfaction. Government-wide job satisfaction fell 0.9 points to a score of 56.9 out of 100. That’s the lowest ranking in years.

Here are the top winners and losers, by size:

Best Agencies

Overall trends: There were gains in work-life balance across the three top agencies.

1. NASA (Large): The space agency rose 0.6 points for an overall score of 74.6. Notable areas of improvement were pay and training and development.

Possible Jobs: aerospace engineer, computer engineer, information technology specialist

2. Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (Mid-sized): This agency helps maintain the nation’s financial system by insuring deposits and supervising financial institutions. It had a net 0 change from last year, but maintained a score of 82.3. The FDIC saw gains in innovation and fair leadership.


Possible Jobs: senior risk examiner, field supervisor (risk management), administrative assistant

3. Surface Transportation Board (Small): This agency resolves railroad rate and service disputes and reviews railroad mergers. It rose 2.10 points for a score of 86.8. The STB saw significant leaps in pay (14 points!).

Possible Jobs: program analyst, IT specialist, public affairs specialist

Worst Agencies

Overall trends: Civil servants clearly want better senior management and leadership.

1. Department of Homeland Security (Large): This agency secures the nation from threats. It dropped 2.80 points for a score of 44.0. It lost points in effective leadership, strategic management, and performance-based rewards and achievement.

Possible Jobs: cybersecurity analyst, chemical facility inspector, oh, and Secret Service Agent

2. Department of Housing and Urban Development (Mid-Sized): This agency strives to provide affordable housing for all. Though the HUD actually rose 1.10 points from last year, it’s still at the bottom of the list for mid-sized agencies. It saw losses in strategic management and effective senior leadership.

Possible Jobs: property manager, leasing specialist, affordable housing coordinator

3. Defense Nuclear Safeties Board (Small): This agency tries to identify threats to public safety at the Department of Energy’s defense nuclear facilities. It fell by a whopping 11.70 points from last year for a total score of 33.8. It lost points in effective senior leadership and fair leadership.

Possible Jobs: engineer, analyst

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