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The MSPB has identified three ways for federal employees to measure how well they fit their jobs, adding that based on data from a survey it conducted in 2016, under each more than a tenth of federal employees are a poor fit and about a quarter fit only moderately well.

The measures are:


* demands and abilities – the fit between the knowledge, skills, and abilities of the individual with the demands and requirements of the job;

* needs-supplies – the degree to which a job fulfills an individual’s daily material and psychological needs; and

* self-concept – the degree to which a job’s tasks or purpose aligns with an individual’s beliefs about who they are or who they want to be.

“An employee can have a high level in one component of job fit and low levels in others. For example, if an individual has the necessary qualifications, skills, and abilities to perform the job at an above average level, the individual would possess a high level of demand-abilities fit. However, the same individual might also find that the job fails to satisfy their psychological desires, values, goals, interests, and preferences,” it said.

It said that in federal agencies, the highest level of fit involves the job’s demands and the person’s abilities. It said that “perhaps is not surprising given that most of the effort in hiring employees is focused on determining whether applicants possess the knowledge, skills, and abilities to perform the job.”

However, even by that measure, the MSPB said that only 68 percent of employees have a high level of fit while 12 percent have a low level. “Sometimes the hiring process does not produce an employee who has all the skills to perform the job, and even if it did, jobs often change over time due to advancements in technology and methods so employees typically need to improve their skills or learn new ones to keep up,” it said.

The figures for level of fit were 61 percent high vs. 12 percent low for self-concept and 55 percent high vs. 16 percent low for needs and supplies. The former is helped by the high level of connection that employees feel for their agency’s mission and the high desire to serve the public as indicated on the annual Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey, it said. Agencies could improve on the latter by “designing jobs, job tasks, or providing more autonomy to help hold the interest of employees.”


Meanwhile, employees “should do their due diligence when changing jobs to ensure that the opportunities they consider include tasks or work they can feel passionate about.”

MSPB added that it found significant variation by agency, with EPA at the top with 77, 68 and 66 percent high levels of fit in the three categories; SEC, NASA, Interior and FDIC followed. DHS was the lowest at just 56, 55 and 44; Treasury, Air Force, OPM and Energy were just above it, in ascending order.

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