News & Politics

The Best Places to Work Within the Federal Government, Ranked

A new report looks at employees' job satisfaction.

Photo by Evy Mages

During the pandemic year of 2020, employees of federal agencies were generally less satisfied at work than their private sector counterparts, according to a new study. 

In their annual Best Places to Work in the Federal Government report, the Partnership for Public Service and Boston Consulting Group found that the average employee satisfaction score for all federal workers was 69 points out of 100. That’s eight points lower than the average employee satisfaction score for workers in the private sector—77 points. 

“The 2020 data makes clear that the federal government still has a lot of work to do to improve its competitiveness with the private sector as an employer of choice,” Max Stier, the president and CEO of the Partnership for Public Service, said in a statement accompanying Tuesday’s release of the data. “The government must strive to meet or exceed the private sector when it comes to employee engagement.”

The research reflects a year of pandemic-related challenges throughout the federal workforce. According to the report, 59 percent of federal workers who participated in the study reported teleworking every day during the peak of the pandemic, compared to just three percent before covid struck. Overall, 78 percent of federal workers who participated in the study said they were satisfied with how their agencies handled remote working. 

So where is the best place to work in the federal government? For the ninth year in a row, the researchers ranked NASA in the top slot for large federal agencies. Here’s what else is in the top ten: 

1. National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)

2. Intelligence Community

3. Department of Transportation

4. Department of Health and Human Services

5. Department of Commerce

6. Department of the Treasury

7. Office of the Secretary of Defense, Joint Staff, Defense Agencies, and Department of Defense Field Activities

8. Department of Veterans Affairs

9. Department of the Navy

10. Department of the Air Force

To see the full ranking, click here. 

Senior Writer

Luke Mullins is a senior writer at Washingtonian magazine focusing on the people and institutions that control the city’s levers of power. He has written about the Koch Brothers’ attempt to take over The Cato Institute, David Gregory’s ouster as moderator of NBC’s Meet the Press, the collapse of Washington’s Metro system, and the conflict that split apart the founders of Politico.