The Worst Federal Agencies to Work For

  • The Downside of Working for the Man

    On paper, a federal job may sound ideal. Not only do you have the opportunity play a role in improving the lives of people throughout the country, but you also get compensated well for your efforts. Federal employees currently earn about twice what workers in the private sector do. But not all federal agencies are equal in worker satisfaction. Researchers at American University joined forces with the Partnership for Public Service, a nonpartisan think tank, to survey 263,000 employees from nearly 300 federal agencies. The results, which were released this week, ranked each agency by employee satisfaction based on factors like compensation, family friendliness, and how effective the leadership is. Of all the major agencies, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission was rated the best place to work. This agency, which is responsible for regulating commercial nuclear power plants in this country, also apparently knows how to treat its employees, as it had the best ratings for everything from leadership and teamwork to work/life balance and support for diversity in the workplace. But not all agencies had such positive reviews from their employees. Here are the 10 worst major federal agencies to work for, according to the report. Photo Credit: Rob Shenk
    10th Worst: Department of Labor
  • 10th Worst: Department of Labor

    The role of the Department of Labor is to administer unemployment benefits and help improve working conditions for employees around the country (particularly tough with unemployment hovering around 10% and the work force shrinking). But this agency may need to take a moment to ensure that its own employees are satisfied. Employees ranked working at the Department of Labor below average in fields like teamwork, training and development and work/life balance. Photo Credit: Wikimedia.org
    9th Worst: Securities and Exchange Commission
  • 9th Worst: Securities and Exchange Commission

    The Securities and Exchange Commission has had a tough couple of years. On the one hand, this federal agency, which is responsible for regulating the financial markets, has been forced to take on difficult cases, including a high-profile lawsuit against Goldman Sachs. On the other hand, it has been criticized repeatedly for not doing enough to police the market and in particular, to catch Bernie Madoff earlier. Perhaps for these reasons, employee satisfaction declined as compared to last year’s survey. Of the 28 major agencies ranked in this survey, the SEC ranked among the bottom five for teamwork, effective leadership and how well employee skills match up with their jobs. Interestingly, the one area where the SEC excelled was family friendliness at the workplace. This despite the fact that many employees watch porn all day long. Photo Credit: Wikimedia.org
    8th Worst: Department of Agriculture
  • 8th Worst: Department of Agriculture

    Apparently, Shirley Sherrod isn’t the only person to have issues working at the Department of Agriculture. This agency ranked near the bottom of the list for work/life balance, effective leadership and family friendly culture. Ironically though, it did rank fifth overall for diversity, despite the fact that Sherrod was mistakenly fired for remarks that were misconstrued as racist. Photo Credit: Wikimedia.org
    7th Worst: Department of Transportation
  • 7th Worst: Department of Transportation

    While the Department of Transportation may rank near the bottom of the list, employee satisfaction here actually improved the most year over year compared to the other federal agencies. Still, this department has much work left to do, particularly in terms of management. It ranked last for effective leaders, and second to last for strategic management. Photo Credit: Kerosene Photography
    6th Worst: Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
  • 6th Worst: Equal Employment Opportunity Commission

    Given that this is an agency whose role is to enforce federal laws that fight discrimination in the workplace, they did not do too good a job promoting equality among their own employees. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission had the 10th lowest rating for supporting diversity in the workplace and ended up dead last for work/life balance and the fairness of their leadership. Photo Credit: eeoc.gov
    5th Worst: Department of Homeland Security
  • 5th Worst: Department of Homeland Security

    It is no doubt stressful to work at the Department of Homeland Security, especially now, as drug-related crimes are spiking along our borders and there have been multiple attempted domestic terror attacks. Perhaps that’s why this agency ranked in the bottom five for work/life balance and family friendliness. Photo Credit: jimmyack205
    4th Worst: Small Business Administration
  • 4th Worst: Small Business Administration

    This federal agency is responsible for the all-important task of advising and funding America’s small businesses, but that job has been made particularly difficult recently as Congress has struggled all year to pass legislation that would provide adequate funding for these businesses. Employees at this agency expressed less than average satisfaction with leadership in particular. This agency also had the second lowest ranking for employee training and development. The one bright spot is that it landed in the top 10 for salary satisfaction. Photo Credit: ShashiBellamkonda
    3rd Worst: Department of Education
  • 3rd Worst: Department of Education

    The Department of Education did rank sixth among all major agencies for family friendliness, which shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise given that it is largely responsible for helping America’s youth. Still, it ranked near the bottom of the list for most other criteria. In particular, it was in the bottom five for teamwork and the leadership’s ability to empower employees. They must have missed those lessons in elementary school. Photo Credit: Chicago 2016 Photo
    2nd Worst: National Archives and Records Administration
  • 2nd Worst: National Archives and Records Administration

    This is the agency that doesn’t know how to let go. They are tasked with preserving military service records, government documents and more so that citizens can review and study them later. Unfortunately, this agency had the second lowest ratings for teamwork and compensation. Strange, I would have thought that cataloguing government documents all day would be its own reward. Photo Credit: mcfarlandmo
    The Worst: Department of Housing and Urban Development
  • The Worst: Department of Housing and Urban Development

    The goal of this organization is to enforce housing laws and help make it easier for Americans to move into a home of their own. Yet, it seems that people who work at this agency rarely get to see their own homes, as they had the second worst rating for work/life balance. And apparently it’s not because the workplace is so incredibly fun that employees never want to leave. This agency also had the worst marks for teamwork, strategic management, training and development, effective leadership and support for diversity. Photo Credit: Wikimedia.org
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