Performance evaluations are especially important for SES members because they do not receive the standard salary increases for federal employees but instead receive raises based on their ratings. The recent OPM report on ratings patterns for 2016 shows the impact in both dollar and percentage terms.

In 2016, the average raises for the five levels, in descending order, were 2.4, 2.3, 1.4, 0 and -2.1 percent. In dollar terms, that translated into average raises of about $4,300, $4,000, $2,500, 0 and -$3,700.

The ratings also are used for paying awards; those averaged 8.6, 5.5, 1.3, 0 and 0 percent of salary, respectively, from the highest to the lowest rating levels–in dollar terms, averages of $15,200, $9,400 and $2,200 for the three levels in which award were paid. However, not every exec rated at one of those three levels received an award; while 99.6 percent of execs were rated as fully successful or above, only 81.4 percent received awards.

As in the past, ratings differed substantially among agencies. The Justice Department rated 81.6 percent of its career execs at the highest level, followed by NSF, SBA and AID in the 72-75 percent range. At the low end were the VA, 20.9, NRC, GSA and OPM in the 36-40 percent range.

Awards policies also varied, with Agriculture, Commerce, Energy, HHS, NRC, OPM and SBA paying awards to more than 90 percent of their senior execs–at OPM, all of them–NASA, OMB and SSA paid them to fewer than 60 percent.