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Federal Workforce

SIZE OF THE FEDERAL WORKFORCE
2010

2014

Even though the 2.1 million people employed by the government constitute only 1.2 percent of the entire American workforce, the federal government is an oft-discussed subject among citizens and in the media alike. This issue brief is designed to shed light on several key characteristics of the federal workforce. What does the federal government do and how has its work evolved over time? Where are its employees located, and in which fields do they predominantly work? The Partnership analyzed recent federal employee data to answer these questions, focusing on civilian employees in the federal government who do not work in the legislative or judicial branches, intelligence community, or U.S. Postal Service.

TOp EMpLOYeRs

2013 FEDERAL WORKFORCE

Defense and security-related agencies dominate the composition of the federal workforce, accounting for 68.4 percent of the entire workforce. Civilian employees at Department of Defense agencies alone account for about 36.9 percent of the entire civilian federal workforce.

2000

2.1 MILLION
full-time, permanent, nonseasonal EMPLOYEES

VETERANS AFFAIRS 16.2% ARMY 13.2% NAVY 10.3% HOMELAND SECURITY 9.2% AIR FORCE 8.7% JUSTICE 6.1% DEFENSE 4.7%

68.4%

1990

1980

1.8 MILLION

OF EMPLOYEES WORK FOR DEFENSE AND SECURITY-RELATED AGENCIES

1970

1960 TREASURY 4.9% 1950 1940 0.5 1.5 2.5 MILLION AGRICULTURE 4.0% HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES 3.4% OTHER 19.3%

FEDERAL WORKFORCE BY OCCUPATIONAL CATEGORY

The nature of the work performed by federal employees has evolved over time. The percentage of the federal workforce in professional and administrative occupations—those focused on knowledgebased work and often requiring college education—has risen steadily for the past 15 years. At the same time, the percent of employees in clerical occupations—those occupations that primarily require mastery of a specific task or skill—has fallen 4.6 percent during the same timeframe. BLUE COLLAR CLERICAL OTHER WHITE COLLAR

PROFESSIONAL AND ADMINISTRATIVE 70 PERCENT 60 50 40 30 20 10 1998 2013 1998

TECHNICAL

2013

1998

2013

1998

2013

1998

2013

SINCE 1998
tHe PERCENT of professional and administratiVe employees Has risen 9.8% tHe PERCENT of CLERICAL employees Has dropped 4.6%

TOP 10 OCCUPATIONAL GROUPS IN THE FEDERAL WORKFORCE
ADMINISTRATION, OPERATIONS AND GENERAL MGMT.
PERCENT OF TOTAL WORKFORCE BY OCCUPATIONAL GROUP TOTAL EMPLOYEES

MEDICAL, DENTAL AND PUBLIC HEALTH

INVESTIGATION AND INSPECTION

ENGINEERING AND ARCHITECTURE

15.8%
289,921

12.2%
223,998

9.9%
182,055

6.9%
126,442

A profile of the federal workforce
Though often portrayed as oversized and growing uncontrollably, the federal workforce has in fact grown at a slower rate than the burgeoning American population it serves. This slower growth has occurred at a time when the complexity, amount and diversity of services demanded of and offered by the federal government has risen sharply. For the purposes of highlighting the federal workforce, we focus on the 1.8 million civilian, fulltime, permanent employees of the federal government. AGE
Employees under 30 years of age account for only 7.1 percent of the federal workforce. Baby Boomers (between the ages of 45 and 64), on the other hand, make up over half of the federal workforce. This stands in contrast to the civilian workforce (including the private sector), where 23.0 percent of employees are under 30 years old, representing a significantly younger workforce. The racial diversity of the federal workforce varies from one segment of the workforce to another. For example, while 33.2 percent of the entire federal workforce is composed of individuals of a minority racial group, only 19 percent of the Senior Executive Service (SES) is made up of individuals of a minority racial group.

RACE AND ETHNICITY
SES TOTAL FEDERAL WORKFORCE

< 25 25-29 30-34 35-39

1.0 6.1 17.4 10.4 17.2 12.5 10.1 13.7 12.2 12.4 15.3 17.8 14.7 8.6 3.8 10 20

WHITE

66.8 18.3

16.9

15.9 10.8

81.1

40-44 45-49

BLACK OR AFRICAN AMERICAN HISPANIC OR LATINO ASIAN AMERICAN INDIAN OR ALASKA NATIVE MIXED RACE NATIVE HAWAIIAN OR PACIFIC ISLANDER 80 70 60 50 40 30

5.9 5.5 1.8 1.3 0.4 20 10

3.0 3.0 1.2 0.8 0.1 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 50-54 55-59 60-64 > 65

Data Sources: Unless otherwise noted below, all data are from FedScope (fedscope.opm.gov) from the Office of Personnel Management, for all full-time, nonseasonal, permanent employees (Sept. 2013). Veteran Status: Partnership for Public Service analysis of the Central Personnel Data File (now called the EHRISDM) for full-time, nonseasonal, permanent employees (Sept. 2012). Disability Status: Partnership for Public Service analysis of the Central Personnel Data File (now called the EHRI-SDM) for full-time, nonseasonal, permanent employees (Sept. 2011). Historical Federal Workforce Tables: “Executive Branch Civilian Employment Since 1940,” Office of Personnel Management, http://1.usa.gov/1qUnFOQ (accessed Feb. 25, 2013). Data on the civilian labor force: “Employment status of the civilian noninstitutional population by age, sex, and race,” Bureau of Labor Statistics, http://1.usa.gov/1geGOD3 (accessed Feb. 25, 2014).

GENDER
FEMALE MALE

While men account for 57.3 percent of all federal employees, they make up a larger percentage of the SES, which is composed of 66.4 percent male employees.

DISABILITY STATUS
EMPLOYEES WITH DISABILITIES EMPLOYEES WITHOUT DISABILITIES

PARTNERSHIP FOR PUBLIC SERVICE

+43 90+10 57
9.7 42.7 57.3 90.3

ACCOUNTING AND BUDGET

LEGAL AND CLAIMS SERVICES

BUSINESS AND COMMERCE

SOCIAL SCIENCES AND PSYCHOLOGY

OTHER OCCUPATIONS

INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY

6.2%
114,240

5.3%
97,697

5.2%
94,759

4.7%
85,335

4.4%
81,422

4.4%
80,338

GS LEVEL
ENTRY LEVEL MID LEVEL SENIOR LEVEL SES

The General Schedule (GS) is a 15-level, government-wide pay and classification system used for the majority of the federal workforce. While the entire workforce is broken down more or less evenly among entry-level (GS-1 through GS-9), mid-level (GS-10 through GS-12) and senior-level (GS13 through GS-15) talent, the professional and administrative workforce is predominantly composed of mid- and seniorlevel grades, with 88.8 percent working at the GS-10 level or higher.

EducatiOn LeveL
While the education level of current employees primarily represents the education level when hired, there is a marked difference in average education level between the entire workforce and the professional and administrative workforce, where occupations often require a more advanced level of formal education. In 2013, 49.7 percent of the entire federal workforce had some form of college degree when hired. In contrast, a full 68.2 percent of the professional and administrative workforce in 2013 had a college degree when hired.

SES 0.6% GS 15 4.3%

GS 1-3 0.2% GS 4 GS 5 1.6% 5.1%

< HIGH SCHOOL HIGH SCHOOL GS 6 5.5% GS 7 8.3% ASSOCIATES BACHELORS MASTERS DOCTORATE

0.5 41.0 8.8 32.3 14.6 2.8

GS 14 8.6%

GS 13 17.5%

30.4

33.7

GS 8 4.0%

10 GS 9 9.0% GS 10 1.0% GS 12 20.5% GS 11 13.8%

20

30

40

50

35.3

aveRage YeaRs Of seRvice
Average federal tenure refers to the average number of years of federal civilian employment, including creditable military service. The government-wide average has declined steadily since 2001, decreasing 3.4 years during that time. 20 YEARS

veteRan status
VETERAN NON-VETERAN

32+68 14+86
SES

Individuals who have served in the active uniformed military service constitute a significant segment of the federal workforce. The SES, however, is made up of a significantly smaller percentage of veterans than either the professional and administrative or total federal workforce. Only 13.5 percent of the SES are veterans, compared to 26.3 percent and 31.7 percent for the professional and administrative and total federal workforce, respectively.

15

13.9

10

‘98 ‘99 ‘00 ‘01 ‘02 ‘03 ‘04 ‘05 ‘06 ‘07 ‘08 ‘09 ‘10 ‘11 ‘12 ‘13

TOP 5 GOVERNMENT AGENCIES WITH THE LONGEST AVERAGE FEDERAL TENURE
1. ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY 19.4 YEARS 2. EQUAL EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITY COMMISSION 19.3 YEARS 3. NATIONAL AERONAUTICS AND SPACE ADMINISTRATION 19.2 YEARS 4. FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION 19.1 YEARS 5. NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS BOARD 18.8 YEARS

31.7

13.5

68.3

86.5

FED FIGURES | FEDERAL WORKFORCE

PERCENT OF TOTAL WORKFORce BY LOCATION
Over 77 percent of the entire federal workforce is located outside of Washington, D.C., Virginia and Maryland. In contrast, only about 23 percent of the SES works outside of the same geographic area. Out of all federal employees, the top ten jurisdictions together account for a full 56.4 percent of the overall federal workforce. These numbers are only for civilian employees and do not include members of the uniformed services stationed at bases across the country. TOP 10 JURISDICTIONS OTHER STATES (EACH < 2.8%)

CALIFORNIA 8.2% DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA 8.4% VIRGINIA 7.8%

TEXAS 7.2%

56+44
43.6 56.4
MARYLAND 6.7%

4 3

1

5

2

In analyzing federal workforce data, the Partnership finds: • Over time, the federal workforce as a percentage of the total American population has shrunk. In absolute numbers, the federal workforce is roughly the same size it was 40 years ago, even as the U.S. population has increased nearly 50 percent during that time period. The nature of work performed by federal employees has evolved over time, shifting to a larger percentage of more highly skilled workers performing knowledge-based work in professional and administrative occupations. The composition of the SES—the government’s elite cadre of senior leaders—currently does not reflect the composition of the federal workforce overall. There is a greater concentration of SES in the Washington, D.C. area, while the SES is also less diverse in terms of gender, race, veterans status and disabilities. If the government’s top leaders are to better reflect the composition of the federal workforce overall, agency talent pipelines will need to be more open to a larger range of potential future leaders. For the federal government to maintain its status as a world-class workforce, it is crucial to focus on strategic workforce planning, paying careful attention to the individuals entering and exiting federal service. The government must consider its future needs as the type of work undertaken continually evolves in order to obtain and retain the skills government needs most to serve the American people with excellence. For further information on the government’s most recent class of hires, see the Partnership’s “Federal Hiring” Fed Figures.

The Partnership for Public Service is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that works to revitalize our federal government by inspiring a new generation to serve and by transforming the way government works. For further information about the Partnership, visit ourpublicservice.org.

PARTNERSHIP FOR PUBLIC SERVICE