OPM to Spend Year Studying ‘Competitiveness’ of Federal Employee Compensation

Over the next year, the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) and the Office of Management and Budget are slated to study the “competitiveness” of federal compensation, as it compares to compensation for comparable positions within the private sector.

The announcement came as a part of an update to one of the President’s Management Agenda’s (PMA) “Workforce for the 21st Century” CAP Goals, the overarching priorities that are intended to govern the administration’s federal reform and modernization efforts.

Specifically, the two agencies will seek out “market information” and study “the federal government’s competitive posture in total compensation for civilian federal employees, to include base pay, benefits, and other relevant total reward elements.”

How the effort will be impacted by the recent decision to replace OPM Director Jeff Pon (who is listed as the primary “Goal Leader” on this effort) with OMB Deputy Director Margaret Weichert remains to be seen. However, Erich Wagner of Government Executive wrote that, “”Officials at OPM had been working to provide details about the agency’s plans to Government Executive, but declined comment after intervention from OMB.”

The study is expected to be completed by September of next year, with Wagner noting that the study will be far from the first of its kind, citing a Congressional Budget Office study in 2017 that found federal workers make 17 percent more than their private sector counterparts, as well as an April Federal Salary Council study that found that federal employees make 32 percent less than their private sector counterparts.

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