WASHINGTON, DC - DECEMBER 26: Sign outside the Department of Health and Human Services building in downtown Washington, DC on December 26, 2014.

Several agencies that traditionally have been highly ranked in the annual Best Places to Work in the Federal Government report remained there in the latest version, although the report also showed sharp declines by several agencies.

The report, done by the Partnership for Public Service and the Boston Consulting Group, again placed NASA at the top among large agencies, this time followed by HHS, Commerce, Transportation and the intelligence community collectively. Among midsized agencies, the FTC ranked first, followed by FERC, SEC, GAO and the FDIC. Among small agencies, the FMCS was tops, followed by the ITC, CBO, Farm Credit Administration and Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation.

The rankings are based primarily on responses to questions related to employee engagement and agency leadership in the annual Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey and thus generally reflect some of the rankings in OPM’s annual report on that survey. NASA for example annually ranks highly in the OPM ratings of employee engagement and has now been deemed the best place to work among large agencies for the seventh straight year.

The report meanwhile goes beyond the OPM rankings by including the intelligence community and breaking down rankings by agency subcomponents. Those show a tie for first between the IG’s office at the TVA and the Office of General Counsel at FERC, followed by the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection, the FTC’s Bureau of Competition, and the Office of the General Counsel at the SEC.

Agencies high in the best places to work rankings typically tout their standing through press releases, notices on their websites, recruiting pitches and in other ways. Those ranked toward the bottom often find themselves called to Capitol Hill to explain how they plan to improve.