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Best and Worst Government Jobs

Study Rates Federal Employee Satisfaction in 2010


Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History
Jason Colston/Lonely Planet Images/Getty Images
Updated June 23, 2014

Where's the best place to work in the federal government?

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission, believe it or not.

The agency that oversees the use of hazardous nuclear material in the United States ranked highest in employee satisfaction in 2010, according to a survey of more than 263,000 federal workers.

The worst place to work?

It's a tossup between the National Archives and Records Administration and the Department of Housing and Urban Development, according to the survey.

The Best Places to Work Index has been conducted every year since 2003 by by the Partnership for Public Service and American University's Institute for the Study of Public Policy Implementation.

Here are the best and places to work.

10 Best Federal Agencies To Work For

  1. Nuclear Regulatory Commission

  2. Government Accountability Office

  3. Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation

  4. Smithsonian Institution

  5. National Aeronautics and Space Administration

  6. Social Security Administration

  7. Department of State

  8. General Services Administration

  9. Department of Justice

  10. Intelligence Community

10 Worst Federal Agencies To Work For

  1. Department of Housing and Urban Development

  2. National Archives and Records Administration

  3. Department of Education

  4. Small Business Administration

  5. Department of Homeland Security

  6. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission

  7. Department of Transportation

  8. Department of Agriculture

  9. Securities and Exchange Commission

  10. Department of Labor

How the Agencies Are Ranked

The Best Places to Work Index score is calculated based on three different questions.

They are:

  • I recommend my organization as a good place to work.

  • Considering everything, how satisfied are you with your job?

  • Considering everything, how satisfied are you with your organization?

To calculate the score, researches use the percentage of positive responses (agree or strongly agree; satisfied or very satisfied) in a weighted formula.

Agencies Falling Behind

The National Archives and Records Administration, which tied for the worst ranking in 2010, was second from the bottom in 2009. The Department of Housing and Urban Development also lost ground as other federal agencies showed improvement in employees satisfaction, the survey found.

Also slipping was the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Agencies on the Rise

The most improved of the largest federal agencies were the Department of Transportation and the Federal Aviation Administration, according to the survey. The Department of the Treasury also made substantial progress in employee satisfaction.

Still, the survey found that private-sector employees "continued to be more satisfied with their jobs, organizations and supervisors than their counterparts in the federal government.

"But the attitudes of federal employees in these three work-related areas are improving, perhaps a reflection of better government management and the economic realities of today's difficult job market."

The Government Job Finder
Here's a tool for finding job openings in the U.S. Government. Simply click on your area of interest or expertise, for a complete list of all job openings in that category.

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