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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 '14Percent Sept '14
Career 7,014 89.99%
Non-career 682 8.75%
Limited term 96 1.23%
Limited emergency 2 0.03%
Total 7,7941 100.00%
GenderNumber Sept '14Percent Sept '14
Female 2,649 33.95%
Male 5,153 66.05%
Total 7,802 100.00%
RaceNumber Sept '14Percent Sept '14
American Indian, Alaskan Native 90 1.15%
Asian 253 3.24%
Black/African American 859 11.01%
Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander 12 0.15%
More than One Race 50 0.64%
Hispanic/Latino 344 4.43%
White 6,193 79.38%
Unspecified 1 0.01%
Total 7,802 100.00%
AccessionsNumber through Sept '14Percent through Sept '14Percent of Total Sept '14 Count2
Transfer 85 19.14% 1.09%
New Hire 359 80.86% 4.60%
Total 444 100.00% 5.69%
DisabilityNumber Sept '14Percent Sept '14
No Disability 7,186 92.10%
Non-targeted Disability 311 3.99%
Unspecified Disability 215 2.76%
Unknown Disability 57 0.73%
Targeted Disability 33 0.42%
Averages by Appointment Type Through September 2014Length of Service on SES Entry (years)Length of Federal Service (years)Time in SES (years)Time in Current Position (years)
Career 18.4 23.4 6.6 3.4
Non-career 8.3 7.9 3.1 1.7
Non-Permanent 16.6 15.7 2.6 1.1
Total 17.8 22 6.2 3.2
Agencies with Largest Number of SESNumber Sept '14
Department of Defense 1,208
Department of Justice 767
Department of Homeland Security 598
Department of the Treasury 464
Department of Energy 462
Department of Health and Human Services 420
National Aeronautics & Space Administration 403
Department of Commerce 384
Department of Veterans Affairs 373
Department of Agriculture 344
SES in the Washington, DC Metropolitan AreaNumber Sept '14Percent of Total Sept '143
District of Columbia 3,986 51.09%
Virginia 1,100 14.10%
Maryland 832 10.66%
States with more than 50 SES Members (Excluding the Washington, DC Metropolitan Area)Number Sept '14
California 199
Texas 187
Georgia 137
Illinois 108
Alabama 99
Colorado 92
Florida 91
New York 90
Pennsylvania 89
Ohio 87
Washington 53

1 "Unspecified" category was not included because it is not a valid option for Type of Appointment. Eight SES members were classified as "unspecified".
2,3 Total count used for calculations = 7,802
* Average Age 54 years as of September 2014
7,397 Positions Filled from 8,957 Total Allocations as of September 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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