Want to work for the federal government? Then you might want to aim for NASA.
The agency charged with space exploration was the top-ranking large agency in the annual Best Places to Work in Federal Government rankings, released Wednesday by the nonpartisan Partnership for Public Service.
The rankings are based on surveys conducted by the Office of Personnel Management.
OPM provides the data to PPS, which then plugs the information into a formula that ranks employee engagement. PPS’s reasoning: The more engaged an employee is, the better performance they provide in their jobs and the better operations are overall at that agency.
“They’re in these jobs because they care about the missions of their agencies,” said Max Stier, the group’s president and CEO.
Out of the large agencies, NASA has consistently the taken the top spot for the past four years, and it continues to improve every year, indicating that they’re focused on their employees.
Rounding out the top five among large agencies:
- Department of Health and Human Services
- Department of Commerce
- Department of Transportation
- Intelligence Community
Among midsize agencies, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission is the best place to work, while the Overseas Private Investment Corporation was the best small agency to work at.
And while the Department of Homeland Security received the lowest score compared to other large agencies, it saw the biggest bump engagement score bump compared to 2016.
What are the lowest-ranking agencies? The Secret Service had the lowest score across all the categories – large agencies, mid-size agencies, small agencies and agency subcomponents. The agency charged with protecting the president fell at the bottom of last year’s rankings list, too.
Other agencies that have seen a nose dive this year: The State Department and Justice Department. They were among the large agencies that experienced a notable dip in their engagement scores. State, in particular, fell out of the top five large agencies to work for.
While the surveys were the first ones conducted under the Trump administration, Stier noted that engagement was not dependent on policy, but instead on who is in charge.
“Leadership matters,” Stier said. “Policy doesn’t tell you if they are an effective leader… You want people who are committed to the effective operations of the agency.”