Women feds less satisfied than men

By Suzanne Kubota
Senior Internet Editor

Women in the federal workforce are slightly less satisfied than their male counterparts. Especially when it comes to perceptions of fairness and feeling empowered.

The Partnership for Public Service analysed employee surveys conducted by the Office of Personnel Management. They found 66 percent of women reported overall workplace satisfaction, compared to almost 68 percent of male coworkers.

The MSPB validates the Partnership’s finding, saying in a press release on a new report that, “Discrimination on the basis of sex, although less frequent, has not yet completely disappeared from Federal workplaces.”


The separate report out from the Merit Systems Protection Board finds women now occupy about 30 percent of positions in the Senior Executive Service, up 19 percent since 1990.

“The glass ceiling has been fractured, but it has not been shattered,” according to the MSBP. “The glass ceiling persists for reasons other than discrimination.”

“Within a given occupation, women often have lower salaries than men,” according to the MSPB, “and those salary differences cannot be fully explained by differences in measurable factors such as experience and education.”

The Partnership points out it’s not just salary where women and men differ. Women in management report being less satisfied (57.7 percent) than men (60.1 percent) in management in the category of work/life balance. Questions from the OPM survey in the work/life category include, “My workload is reasonable,” “My supervisor supports my need to balance work and other life issues” and “I have sufficient resources (for example, people, materials, budget) to get my job done.”

Across agencies, the Partnership noted a range of differences from one half of a percentage point at the Department of Justice to 10.9 percent on the issue of fairness at their agencies and from 0.2 percent at OPM to 10 percent at VA when it comes to empowerment.

Both the MSPB and the Partnership make similar recommendations. “Federal agencies and managers will need to look beyond past strategies to address contemporary concerns and attain and engage a high-performing, knowledge-based Federal workforce,” said the MSPB.

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