Government-wide Analysis

Occupation Findings


The Best Places to Work rankings include results for five mission-critical occupations across government: auditors, contract/acquisition specialists, economists, human resources specialists and information technology/cybersecurity specialists.

The Office of Personnel Management and the Chief Human Capital Officer Council have focused on these occupations because shortages or a loss of staff in these job categories could interfere with the ability of agencies to effectively accomplish their missions.

Among these occupational groups, economists have the highest overall government-wide Best Places to Work employee engagement score (69.4 out of 100), followed by auditors (65.3), HR specialists (61.1) and contract specialists (59.9). IT specialists have the lowest score (56.8), more than two points below the overall government-wide score for all employees.

All five occupation groups saw an increase in their scores from 2015.

The low employee engagement score for IT specialists is particularly troubling because of the importance of computer systems to the basic functioning of government, from managing information and finances, communicating internally and interacting with the public. In addition, security is a major concern, with the government’s computer networks experiencing more than 77,000 intrusions in 2015, an increase of 1303 percent since 2006. The most egregious case was disclosed in June 2015 when OPM announced that more than 20 million current and former federal employees had their personal information stolen.

The Government Accountability Office has identified the management of IT acquisitions and operations as a major government problem, placing this issue on its 2015 “high risk” list where it remains. GAO noted that the executive branch needs to better manage the more than $80 billion that it invests annually in information technology acquisitions and operations.

Government-wide Index Scores by Occupation (out of 100)

Click on the column headings to sort by change or scores by year. Click the links below to view the agency rankings by occupation.

Occupation Change (2015‑16) 2016 2015
Economist 1.3 69.4 68.1
Auditor 2.5 65.3 62.8
HR Specialist 0.5 61.1 60.6
Contract Specialist 1.6 59.9 58.3
All Employees 1.3 59.4 58.1
IT Specialist 0.6 56.8 56.2