Federal employees were less satisfied in 2021 than in 2020 on all four measures of satisfaction in the latest Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey—regarding their satisfaction with their job, their pay, their organization and whether they would recommend their organization as a place to work—resulting in an index of satisfaction dropping from 69 to 64 percent positive.
Comprehensive figures released by OPM show that lower levels of satisfaction reflected in figures that some individual agencies released earlier apply government-wide, returning to about levels of 2019 after an upturn in 2020. Over the three years job satisfaction went from 69 to 72 to 67; pay satisfaction from 63 to 67 to 61; organization satisfaction from 61 to 66 to 61; and recommending organization as a place to work from 67 to 71 to 67.
The OPM report also shows employee engagement slipping in 2021 but not by as much, from 72 to 71 percent in an index measuring responses to several questions directed at that issue, and still above the 68 of 2019. While a composite of questions related to views of supervisors remained steady at 80 percent positive, an index of questions on higher leadership fell from 62 to 60 and one on questions related to the overall work experience from 76 to 73.
In another possible indicator of lowering engagement, responses to the survey fell to 34 percent of those contacted, down 10 percentage points from 2020 after nudging up by three points over the prior two years.
The government-wide figures also mirror results released earlier by some agencies showing that employee views of leadership decline with each successively higher level, and that the two questions with the lowest level of positive response involve whether their organization takes steps to deal with poor performers and whether employees believe the survey’s results of the survey will be used to make the agency a better place to work.