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2017 Best Places to Work in the Federal Government­®

Annual rankings co-produced by the Partnership for Public Service and Deloitte

Designed to help a broad audience of government leaders, employees, and job seekers, the 2017 Best Places to Work in the Federal Government® rankings include the views of more than 498,000 federal workers on a wide range of workplace topics. More than 410 federal agencies and subcomponents are ranked, offering the most comprehensive assessment of how federal public servants view their jobs and workplaces, providing insights into worker satisfaction and commitment on issues ranging from leadership and pay to innovation and work-life balance.

Best Places to Work in the Federal Government overview

The Best Places to Work in the Federal Government ® rankings offer the most comprehensive assessment of how federal public servants view their jobs and workplaces, providing employee perspectives on leadership, pay, innovation, work-life balance, and other issues.

The rankings and accompanying data give federal leaders a way to measure the morale and health of the federal workforce as a whole, as well as at individual departments, agencies, and their subcomponents. This serves to alert federal leaders to signs of trouble and provides a roadmap to better manage our government’s most important asset—its employees. Best-in-class private-sector organizations understand that increased employee engagement leads to better performance, and federal leaders need to follow suit by placing greater emphasis on strengthening the workforce and the workplace culture.

To learn more about your agency’s rankings, download the brochure or visit Best Places to Work.

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The Best Places to work in the Federal Government 2017 rankings

Key findings

  • The 2017 government-wide data show increases in employee satisfaction in all 10 workplace categories that the Partnership and Deloitte measure. Categories include effective leadership, teamwork, work-life balance, strategic management, support for diversity, and pay. The biggest improvement came in support for diversity.
  • For the first time in the Best Places to Work rankings, the Department of Transportation was ranked in the top five large agencies after a steady climb from the bottom of the rankings in 2009. This shows it takes commitment by management and time to strengthen employee engagement.
  • The Economic Development Administration has increased its score by 28.4 points since the 2015 rankings were released, rising from 40.2 that year to 68.6 in 2017. US Immigration and Customs Enforcement also has experienced a sizable increase of 22.7 points during the past two years, improving from 34.0 in 2015 to 56.7 in 2017.
  • The Partnership and Deloitte found that the federal government has a highly mission-focused workforce, but needs stronger leadership. This is troubling because the Best Places to Work data show that effective leadership remains the key driver of employee engagement as it has been every year since the rankings were launched in 2003, followed by the match between agency mission and employee skills, and satisfaction with pay.

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2017 Best Places to Work by the numbers

Employee engagement is part of the unfinished and never-ending business of government management, which is not an end in itself, but the means to more effectively meet the needs of the American people.

Best Places methodology

The vast majority of the data used to develop these rankings were collected by the Office of Personnel Management through its federal employee viewpoint survey. The survey was administered May through June 2017 to permanent executive branch employees and was completed by 486,105 federal workers. This represents a response rate of 45.5 percent, a decline of 0.3 points from 2016.

The Best Places to Work rankings also include responses from more than 12,000 additional employees at nine agencies that were surveyed at the same time and had a response rate of more than 50 percent. For further details, see Best Places methodology.

The Partnership for Public Service is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization that seeks to revitalize our federal government by inspiring a new generation to serve and transform the way government works.

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