These Are the Agencies that Saw the Biggest Losses in Employee Satisfaction in 2022, and the Few that Saw Gains

Only 10 agencies saw improvements on a global satisfaction index.

Only 10 agencies saw improvements on a global satisfaction index. Nora Carol Photography / Getty Images

Only 10 agencies with at least 100 employees saw improvements to their job satisfaction score in the annual Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey, and no agencies with at least 10,000 workers gained ground.

Federal employees’ job satisfaction and morale fell by two points in 2022, as measured by the Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey, and that decline is distributed across much of the government, as only 10 agencies saw improvements as measured by the survey’s global satisfaction index.

The Office of Personnel Management on Thursday released its report accompanying the annual survey’s results, and suggested the drop in morale could be attributed to a combination of feds’ pay not keeping up with rising inflation and the survey’s administration during a period in which agencies were rolling out plans to bring employees back to the office following two years of maximum telework due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Only 10 agencies with at least 100 employees across the federal government saw improvements in their workers’ reported job satisfaction, and no agencies with at least 20,000 employees improved. The only large or very large agencies, as categorized by OPM, to maintain their global satisfaction scores were the Agriculture Department at 59, the Energy Department at 72, and the Environmental Protection Agency at 74.

The National Indian Gaming Commission saw the biggest improvement in employee morale across government, increasing 5 points from 77 in 2021 to 83 this year. The Small Business Administration came in second, improving morale by 3 points from 70 last year to 73 this spring. And by far the worst performer in terms of annual change was the Export-Import Bank, whose employees reported a 18 point decrease in job satisfaction, falling from 75 in 2021 to 57 this year.

Typically, smaller agencies see bigger swings on a year-to-year basis, as the changing opinions of fewer employees are needed to significantly alter the average score. The 10 agencies with at least 100 employees who saw improvements in satisfaction compared with 2021 are:

1. National Indian Gaming Commission: 5 point increase

2. Small Business Administration: 3 point increase (tie)

2. Federal Election Commission: 3 point increase (tie)

2. International Boundary and Water Commission: 3 point increase (tie)

2. National Endowment for the Humanities: 3 point increase (tie)

6. Federal Trade Commission: 2 point increase (tie)

6. Corporation for National and Community Service: 2 point increase (tie)

6. Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board: 2 point increase (tie)

6. U.S. Office of Special Counsel: 2 point increase (tie)

10. Public Benefit Guaranty Corporation: 1 point increase

The 10 (and change) federal agencies that saw the worst declines in employee satisfaction between 2021 and earlier this year are:

1. Export-Import Bank: 18 point decrease

2. National Credit Union Administration: 8 point decrease

3. Federal Maritime Commission: 7 point decrease (tie)

3. Social Security Administration: 7 point decrease (tie)

5. Justice Department: 6 point decrease (tie)

5. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission: 6 point decrease (tie)

5. National Transportation Safety Board: 6 point decrease (tie)

5. U.S. Trade Representative: 6 point decrease (tie)

9. Commerce Department: 4 point decrease (tie)

9. Labor Department: 4 point decrease (tie)

9. National Archives and Records Administration: 4 point decrease (tie)

9. U.S. Agency for International Development: 4 point decrease (tie)

9. Consumer Product Safety Commission: 4 point decrease (tie)

9. Federal Housing Finance Agency: 4 point decrease (tie)