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Senior Executive Service Facts & Figures



This is your source for SES data. Explore the links below to find out more.

Demographics: A comprehensive snapshot of the senior executive workforce. Includes information on age, gender, education, etc.

Plum Book: Learn about policy and supporting positions in the Legislative and Executive Branches of the Federal Government.


A comprehensive snapshot of the senior executive workforce
Type of AppointmentNumber Sept '13Percent Sept '13
Career 7,190 90.90%
Non-career 625 7.90%
Limited term 93 1.18%
Limited emergency 2 0.03%
Total 7,9101 100.00%
GenderNumber Sept '13Percent Sept '13
Female 2,666 33.69%
Male 5,248 66.31%
Total 7,914 100.00%
RaceNumber Sept '13Percent Sept '13
American Indian, Alaskan Native 92 1.16%
Asian 241 3.05%
Black/African American 904 11.42%
Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander 10 0.13%
Hispanic/Latino 323 4.08%
White 6,341 80.12%
Unspecified 3 0.04%
Total 7,914 100.00%
AccessionsNumber through Sept '13Percent through Sept '13Percent of Total Sept '13 Count2
Transfer 95 24.05% 1.20%
New Hire 300 75.95% 3.79%
Total 395 100.00% 4.99%
DisabilityNumber Sept '13Percent Sept '13
No Disability 7,302 92.27%
Non-targeted Disability 300 3.79%
Unspecified Disability 230 2.91%
Unknown Disability 45 0.57%
Targeted Disability 37 0.47%
Total 7,914 100.00%
Averages by Appointment Type Through September 2013Length of Service on SES Entry (years)Length of Federal Service (years)Time in SES (years)Time in Current Position (years)
Career 18.3 23.5 4.4 4.0
Non-career 7.1 8.2 3.6 2.8
Non-Permanent 15.6 16.8 1.7 2.1
Total 16.4 22.3 4.2 3.9
Agencies with Largest Number of SESNumber Sept '13
Department of Defense 1,250
Department of Justice 768
Department of Homeland Security 604
Department of Energy 482
Department of the Treasury 474
Department of Health and Human Services 443
National Aeronautics & Space Administration 411
Department of Veterans Affairs 373
Department of Commerce 363
Department of Agriculture 346
SES in the Washington, DC Metropolitan AreaNumber Sept '13Percent of Total Sept '133
District of Columbia 3,973 50.20%
Virginia 1,145 14.47%
Maryland 872 11.02%
States with more than 50 SES Members (Excluding the Washington, DC Metropolitan Area)Number Sept '13
California 203
Texas 185
Georgia 136
Illinois 106
Alabama 99
Pennsylvania 96
Florida 94
Colorado 90
New York 86
Ohio 86
Washington 58
Massachusetts 53

1 "Unspecified" category was not included because it is not a valid option for Type of Appointment. Four SES members were classified as "unspecified".
2,3 Total count used for calculations = 7,914
* Average Age 54 years as of September 2013
7,462 Positions Filled from 8,905 Total Allocations as of April 30, 2014
* Source: Executive and Schedule C System and Central Personnel Data File & EHRI- Statistical Data Mart

Plum Book

Every four years, just after the Presidential election, the "United States Government Policy and Supporting Positions" is published. It is commonly known as the Plum Book and is alternately published between the House and Senate.

The Plum Book has a listing of over 7,000 civil service leadership and support positions (filled and vacant) in the Legislative and Executive branches of the Federal Government that may be subject to noncompetitive appointments. These positions include agency heads and their immediate subordinates, policy executives and advisors, and aides who report to these officials. Many positions have duties which support Administration policies and programs. The people holding these positions usually have a close and confidential relationship with the agency head or other key officials.

What positions are included in the Plum Book?

  • Executive Schedule and salary-equivalent positions paid at the rates established for Levels I through V of the Executive Schedule
  • Senior Executive Service "General" positions (i.e., those positions which may be filled by a career, noncareer, or limited appointment) *
  • Senior Foreign Service positions *
  • Schedule C positions excepted from the competitive service by the President, or by the Director, Office of Personnel Management, because of the confidential or policy-determining nature of the position duties
  • Other confidential or policy-determining positions at the GS-14 and above level excepted from the competitive civil service by law because of the confidential or policy-determining nature of the position duties

What positions are excluded from the Plum Book?

  • Senior Executive Service (SES) "Career Reserved" positions (those positions that can be filled only by career appointment)
  • Schedule A and Schedule B positions
  • Competitive Service positions
  • Other positions filled competitively under agency merit systems established by statute (i.e., GS grade equivalent (GG) positions in certain agencies)

* The majority of Senior Executive Service and Senior Foreign Service positions are filled by career appointment because of the statutory limitations on the number that may be filled by noncareer appointment.

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