Federal employee satisfaction is down for the fourth year in a row, according to an analysis by the Partnership for Public Service.

Satisfaction scored 57 out of 100 on the group’s “Best Places to Work in the Federal Government” rankings, the lowest since the rankings began in 2003. The public employee satisfaction level is 15 points lower than that of private employees, the highest gap in the history of the rankings.


Employee perception of effective agency leadership also dropped another 1.4 points and is now about 4 points lower than its peak from 2010. The only two categories that showed an improved perception among federal government employees are pay and support for diversity. The group’s data comes from an Office of Personnel Management survey of federal employees.

Along with charting governmentwide sentiment, the group breaks down public employee sentiment by agencies and subcomponents. NASA won the top spot as the best large federal agency to work in, with an overall score of 75 out of 100. The Department of Commerce, Department of State, the Intelligence community and the Department of Justice round out the top five for large agencies.

The Department of Homeland Security was at the bottom of the list of large agencies.

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., the Surface Transportation Board and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s Office of the General Counsel round out the winners among smaller agencies. Employees at the FERC General Counsel’s office had the highest overall scores within the entire government.