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U.S. Department of Education Still Not an Awesome Place to Work

The U.S. Department of Education ranked 18th out of 23 mid-size federal agencies in terms of the best places in the federal government to work, according to new 2013 rankings from the Partnership for Public Service.

So, the agency certainly isn't anywhere near the best place to work in the federal government, but it's getting better. In 2003, the agency received a job-satisfaction score of 53.8. Now, the score is 57.6. The Education Department's general upward trend (despite a low-morale dip in 2012) comes as overall satisfaction in mid-size agencies has been declining since 2010.

The Education Department ranks above the Small Business Administration and the National Labor Relations Board, among others, for job satisfaction. But, it's not as great as the No. 1 mid-size agency: the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.

Compared to 2003, Education Department employees are giving the agency—and their boss, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan—higher marks for providing effective leadership and fostering teamwork. Generally, among all mid-size agencies, Education Department officials seem to be fairly satisfied with their pay. However, it's important to note the survey was done before the October government shutdown.

Men are generally happier than women at the department, and those over age 40 are happier than their younger peers.

Where are workers giving the department lower marks, relative to other agencies? Work-life balance, mission match (the idea that employees feel their skills are being used well), and strategic management. 

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