2008 Survey of the Senior Executive Service

May 14, 2008 – 12:21 pm

The U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) today issued the government wide results from the 2008 Survey of the Senior Executive Service (SES). The Survey was administered on-line in January and February to all SES and focused on the new SES pay-for-performance system, executive development and general attitudes toward work. The survey had a 65 percent response rate.”The results of the survey show the SES is a committed and qualified group of people dedicated to their work on behalf of the American people,” said OPM Director Linda M. Springer. “It also points out that the federal government has work to do in order to continue to develop and attract a highly qualified executive workforce.”

Findings from the Survey include:

  • Senior Executives as a group are proud to be in the SES, they feel a sense of accomplishment through their work, and feel their talents are well used. These are some of the highest rated items on the survey (87-97% favorable).
  • SES respondents believe their pay should be based on performance and feel they are held accountable for achieving results, as well as the fact that they participated in the development of their performance plan (89-93% favorable).
  • Most believe their appraisal fairly reflected their performance (68%–down from 74% in 2006 Federal Human Capital Survey (FHCS).
  • However, communication with executives needs attention: 63% of respondents received a briefing or training on the performance management system, and only 35% of respondents received the overall results of agency ratings, awards and pay adjustments.
  • On the plus side for executive development, it appears that executives are open to the prospect of continuing learning and networking, and many believe in the benefit of job changes (55% – 75% favorable based on questions 31, 32, 33).
  • Most respondents are satisfied or very satisfied with their pay (61%–down from 73% in 2006 FHCS).
  • Just over half (55%) are satisfied with developmental opportunities.
  • Over one-third (35%) of executives indicated that their developmental needs are not assessed, and over a third (37%) have not engaged during their SES tenure in any of the six activities commonly used for developing executives.

The Survey may be found online at www.opm.gov/surveys/results/index.asp.

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