Click here to skip navigation
An official website of the United States Government.

Our Director Director's Blog

Welcome! We are committed to recruiting and retaining a world-class workforce for the American people.

Take a look at our blogs and share with others. Once you are on a particular blog page, you can give us the thumbs up. Connect with Acting Director Cobert on Twitter: @OPMDirector and Facebook.com/OPMDirector. Also, find us on other social media channels.

Last week, thousands of Americans came together in Washington, D.C. for the first ever United State of Women conference, a day-long celebration of what women have achieved and a conversation about the important work we still need to do to reach gender equality.

I’m happy to say that like many agencies throughout the Federal Government, as an active member of the White House Council on Women and Girls, OPM participated in the lead-up to this historic event. We provided information about the status of women in the Federal service – from narrowing the gender pay gap to flexibilities and work-life programs that make it easier for women – and men – to succeed in the workplace, to the Federal Government’s record of hiring women, especially in some mission critical positions.

As you’ll see in the Women in the Federal Workforce infographics, today the 897,892 women who work for the Federal Government make up 44 percent of the entire Federal workforce. Women are succeeding across government – from entry-level positions to various leadership roles. Here are just a couple of examples:

  • The number of Federal women working in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics – or STEM – fields is on the rise. In 2008, 64,574 were working in Federal STEM jobs. That number rose to 70,047 in 2015. Women have been hired at an increasing rate into the Pathways Programs, including the Presidential Management Fellows (PMF) programs. The PMF is the Federal Government’s flagship leadership development program, which has a special STEM track.

  • The  representation  of  women  in  the Senior Executive Service (SES), the  Federal Government’s highest  career  level, increased by five percent between  2008  and  2015. And OPM is working with agencies across government to increase awareness of leadership development programs like Executive Women in Motion and other mentoring and training opportunities.

By creating opportunity at every level of the workforce, we are working to attract, empower, and retain a talented and productive workforce.  Our commitment to workplace flexibilities and employee wellness makes the Federal service an ideal place for employees to build their careers and cultivate fulfilling lives outside the workplace.

Building on directives from the President, OPM developed two comprehensive handbooks and an online training course to help Federal employees better understand their leave and workplace flexibility options, including providing support for elder care, childbirth, adoption, and foster care.

The government continues to be a model employer for men and women in helping them maintain a healthy work-life balance and feel fulfilled in their jobs. Data from the Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey (FEVS) shows that satisfaction with Federal work-life programs is very high among women – and men - who participate in programs such as flexible work schedules, telework, health and wellness programs, the Employee Assistance Program (EAP), child care programs, and elder care programs.

The data also shows that the gender pay gap in the Federal government continues to narrow. In 2014, nationally, women were paid 79 cents for every dollar a man was paid. In 2015, across the Federal Government, women in white-collar jobs were paid 89 cents on the dollar. With more women than ever contributing to the government’s mission critical occupations, the gender pay gap continues to narrow even more for women working in STEM, IT/cyber security, economist, auditor, contract specialist, and human resources positions jobs. In the Senior Executive Service, as of 2015, women were paid equally with their male counterparts.

In April of 2014, in response to a memorandum from the President, OPM issued a Governmentwide Strategy on Advancing Pay Equality in the Federal Government. Since that strategy was issued, OPM has taken a number of actions to narrow the gender pay gap in the Federal workforce. For example, on July 30, 2015, we issued a memorandum cautioning agencies not to solely use a job candidate’s existing salary to set pay, as that can potentially adversely affect candidates who may have taken time off from their careers or whose existing salary doesn’t reflect an applicant’s current qualifications.  


The summit shone a spotlight on the accomplishments women have made in the workplace and on the work still to be done. At OPM and across the Federal Government, we continue to work to make sure all employees are aware of the workplace flexibilities they may be eligible for, and to encourage women – and men – to work in the many mission critical occupations and to apply for leadership positions.


Black background with gay pride flag shaped in a heart, with the words '2016 Pride Inside and Out, LGBT Pride Month'

June is Pride Month and each year we set aside this month to reaffirm our commitment to equal opportunity for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community. As the nation’s largest employer, the Federal Government sets an example and tone for all other employers, an example that reinforces the fact that employment discrimination based on one’s sexual orientation or gender identity is simply unacceptable.

This June, across the Federal family and throughout the nation, Americans are grieving and angry at the horrific massacre at a nightclub in Orlando. As the President said in the aftermath of the shootings:  “As Americans, we are united in grief, in outrage, and in resolve to defend our people.”

All of our people.

As Federal employees and as Americans, we will stand together and refuse to allow the brutal murders in Orlando to deter us. This is a time for the Federal community to come together, to support each other, and to not let this tragedy lessen our resolve to continue the important work of promoting equal opportunity and preventing discrimination.

At OPM we have been at the forefront of implementing Administration policy and court decisions that expand rights for the LGBT community. When the Supreme Court ruled in United States v. Windsor that the Federal Government must recognize same-sex marriages in states where they were allowed, OPM was the first agency to roll out benefits. Even before the Windsor decision, OPM spearheaded and effort to expand agencies’ ability to extend benefits to same-sex partners of Federal employees and their children where the law would permit.

The President also issued an Executive Order making it clear that Federal employees and employees of Federal contractors are protected from discrimination in the workplace based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

President Obama spoke of this commitment in his Pride Month proclamation: “There remains much work to do to extend the promise of our country to every American, but because of the acts of courage of the millions who came out and spoke out to demand justice and of those who quietly toiled and pushed for progress, our Nation has made great strides in recognizing what these brave individuals long knew to be true in their hearts -- that love is love and that no person should be judged by anything but the content of their character.”

We still have work to do and it would be a disservice to the LGBT community – as well as all minority communities – to suggest that discrimination is a thing of the past. But here at OPM we are committed to doing everything possible to prevent any discrimination in our Federal workplaces. We have worked to make sure LGBT employees have the same rights and benefits as all Federal employees. From health insurance to leave to care for a same-sex partner when they are sick, our hope is to make sure that no Federal employee ever receives unequal treatment.

We also want to make sure that members of the LGBT community and all Federal employees who experience any type of discrimination in the Federal workplace know their options for recourse. That is why on June 15 from 1:30 p.m. to 3 p.m.  OPM will be hosting an event at its headquarters entitled “Addressing LGBT Discrimination in Federal Employment.” The program will also be webcast. We hope you will join us as representatives from the Equal Opportunity Employment Council, Office of Special Counsel, and OPM discuss what protections exist and how to handle any discrimination that you may experience in the workplace.

Not only is discrimination based on one’s sexual orientation or gender identity illegal, it also diminishes the Federal Government’s ability to hire, retain, and promote a talented workforce. I urge everyone to take time this month – and every month throughout the year- to support the members of the LGBT community all across this country who work to eliminate and prevent discrimination everywhere.


Pink speach bubble with green background. Speach bubble contains the following 'WILL NEVER REACH YOUR SUPERVISOR OR COLLEAGUES'. Headline reads 'HOW YOU SPECIFICALLY ANSWER'. Lower corner right pink colored sub text reads '#FEVS'

Stephen Shih is Deputy Associate Director, Employee Services, Executive Resources and Employee Development at OPM. 

The Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey (FEVS) is one of the most important tools we have in government. It provides us with a tremendous amount of data on the experiences and views of Federal employees. In 2015, more than 421,700 Federal employees from 78 different agencies completed the FEVS, voicing their perceptions of leadership practices, training and development, work-life, and opportunities for career advancement.

We listened.

OPM has been working in partnership with agency leaders across government to help them make data-driven changes that will improve employee engagement, which in turn will lead to organizational success.  We're committed to fostering conversations about the drivers of engagement identified by the FEVS, sharing effective tools and strategies developed by agencies to improve employees' experiences, and creating government-wide resources to provide all employees with access to critical data and information.  For example, OPM recently released more no cost, online courses for Federal employees -- Maximizing Employee Engagement and Introduction to Leave, Work-Life and Workplace Flexibilities as well as a portal focused on employee engagement--UnlockTalent.gov.

OPM is not the only agency taking action.  Senior leaders and managers across the Federal Government gained insights from your feedback and are implementing innovative solutions to create a culture of engagement.  Here are just a few examples:

  • The Department of State's workforce said it wanted work-life supports, so their agency's approach to engagement involves maximizing the availability and use of work-life programs.  Through strategic partnerships among senior leaders, employee affinity groups, and unions, they've achieved progressive outcomes, such as the establishment of a back-up dependent care program, new lactation rooms, and the launch of a leave bank.
  • The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) identified challenges with performance management from the FEVS results and is committed to making meaningful changes to address this area of employee concern.  One strategy NASA developed is  training for all second-level supervisors that stresses the need that performance measures are applied in the same way for all employees.
  • The Department of Veterans Affairs answered its employees desire for more leadership training. The VA developed a very successful Leaders Developing Leaders program.  Since its inception, they trained 450 Senior Executive Service members and are bringing the program to many more employees.  The goal is to train 10,000-12,000 leaders.

Agencies across the Federal Government are making strides like this to build the workforce we need to serve the American people in the future.

But we know cultivating a culture of engagement is an ongoing process of listening to employees, identifying challenges, and working together to develop and implement solutions.  That's why it's critical that you participate in this year's FEVS.  We need you to tell us what's working and what still needs to be improved.

Leaders at every level from agency heads to front-line supervisors are listening. Take the survey today. Let your voice be heard.


graphic with bright yellow background. Primary image on left is a large speech bubble filled with different sizes of vibrantly colored people icons. Headline: Let your voice be heard. Subhead: Take the survey today. Blue box below Headline and Subheadline has white text that reads: Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey, Employees Influencing Change. Pink footer has white text that reads, from left to right: OPM.gov/FEVS, U.S. Office of Personnel Management, #FEVS

Each year, OPM’s Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey (FEVS) gives Federal employees across government the opportunity to confidentially tell their supervisors and managers what works well and what needs improvement when it comes to their agency, their specific job and their work environment. Many of you have received an email at your agency email address inviting you to participate in this voluntary, confidential survey. Now is the time for you to express your opinions.

It’s up to each agency to use this feedback, but rest assured, your managers and supervisors take these results very seriously. One of the most important pillars of the President’s Management Agenda calls on agencies to improve employee engagement. This survey is a key tool to help them do that. We’ve seen great change across government as a result of past surveys.

For example, at OPM as a result of the feedback we received from the 2015 survey, we:

  • Increased information about what is happening around the agency
  • Created workshops for employees and supervisors
  • Enhanced Employee Resource Groups
  • Re-launched the OPM Mentoring Program
  • Expanded Diversity and Inclusion Dialogues
  • Provided more opportunities to get to know senior leaders 
    through brown bag lunch series

I encourage all those who have been invited to participate in this year’s FEVS to complete the survey. We want your opinions regarding your job, your agency, and your workplace as a whole. Each employee’s voice can inspire change. Everyone’s responses help agencies identify areas that need attention. The more responses we receive, the better we understand your opinions and needs.

We make confidentiality of the results a priority. Every piece of feedback you give in the survey is confidential. Any information that would allow personal identification is always withheld when survey results are shared with your manager, others in the agency, or in publicly released reports regarding the survey.  So please be as honest as possible. If your agency’s leadership knows exactly how you feel, that’s when meaningful change can happen. 

The deadline for completing the FEVS is fast approaching. Different agencies have different closing dates, but the deadline for the first wave of surveys is the week of June 6; the second and final wave closes the week of June 14. If you have questions about your FEVS survey, send an email to the address included in the email message you received inviting you to participate.

The FEVS takes about 25 minutes to complete and can generally be filled out during work hours. Of course, participation in the survey is voluntary. But please consider lending your voice - this is your chance to give your opinions and let your leadership know the issues are most critical to you. 


- Photo of 3 marines during a memorial service at the Tomb of The Unknown Soldier. 6 golden stars beneath Headline: Memorial Day 2016.

Dan Thibodeau is a USAJOBS Program Manager 

With Memorial Day weekend upon us, Americans will be firing up their grills and shopping for a good sale. But let’s not forget what this holiday is truly about. It’s not about launching the summer season or even thanking our heroic veterans for their service to America. Memorial Day is a somber day of remembrance for the 1.8 million Americans who have given their lives in defense of this country.

Created after the Civil War, this holiday was intended to give Americans the opportunity to share their feelings, pride, respect, and honor for those who paid the ultimate price while serving in our nation’s military. This day, in particular, is especially meaningful for me. As a former Sergeant in the Marine Corps, I spent four years serving as an Aviation Ordnanceman before being medically discharged from the military. During my time in the service, and since getting out, I’ve wanted to do something to honor those who died while serving.

Sergeant Joshua James Frazier was tragically killed by a sniper in Iraq in February, 2007. The 24-year-old Marine from Spotsylvania, Va., had recently been promoted and was scheduled to head home in just two months when his life was cut short.

To honor my Marine brother, I will spend two years raising a black Labrador retriever, who is currently in training to become a service dog with Warrior Canine Connection. His name, fittingly, is Frazier.

Frazier, who will celebrate his first birthday this October, is on track to become a mobility service dog with Warrior Canine Connection, an organization that enlists recovering veterans (like myself) to train service dogs for fellow wounded veterans. These dogs help wounded warriors reconnect with life, their families, their communities and each other in many ways. They are trained to help open doors, retrieve items, and turn on lights, among other duties.

Frazier is a busy boy. He goes everywhere with me, including my office here at OPM.  He even has his own Facebook page, if you would like to stay up-to-date on his adventures.

Last weekend, we attended a motorcycle ride honoring Sergeant Frazier and Army Sergeant Nicholas Mason. More than 600 motorcyclists participated in the annual ride, which was designed to honor and remember Virginia’s fallen service members and to reach out and help those veterans who are wounded, disabled, or in need.  

For those OPM employees who live near Washington D.C., we are lucky to have the opportunity to visit multiple memorials dedicated to those killed in action, including Arlington National Cemetery, the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, the WWII, Korean, and Vietnam Veterans memorials. My personal favorite is the veteran’s exhibit at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History.

But even if you don’t live in D.C., cities across the country have memorials, cemeteries, and museums dedicated to our country’s fallen service members. If you have the chance, please take time on Monday to visit one of these landmarks and reflect on the true meaning of Memorial Day. 

 Photo of a man and his dog posing in front of OPM's building. Photo of a dog looking into the camera.

Photo of The Missing Military Service Member TablePhoto of the Vietnam War Memorial.


Control Panel

Unexpected Error

There was an unexpected error when performing your action.

Your error has been logged and the appropriate people notified. You may close this message and try your command again, perhaps after refreshing the page. If you continue to experience issues, please notify the site administrator.

Working...