Fed Workers Earning More, Nearing Retirement

February 24, 2004 (PLANSPONSOR.com) - The average federal worker is 46.5 years old, has been on the job 16.8 years, earns $56,400 annually and is also getting closer to retirement.

Those years of services have put the average nonpostal service federal worker at a General Schedule grade of 9.6 in 2002, according to the portrait painted by the Office of Personnel Management’s (OPM) annual fact book on federal civilian employment. In Washington DC, the home base for 16% of all federal workers the averages go up, to a General Schedule grade of 11.5 and an annual base pay of $72,078.

Examining 2002, the OPM found an increase in the total number of federal employees, including postal service workers, of 0.3% to 2,715,500 employees, up from 2,710,000 in 2001. This workforce though is not getting any younger, the 46.5-years-old average age for federal workers is the same as for 2001, but 3.5 years older than the workforce in 1992.

Additionally, the percentage of federal employees eligible for retirement in 2002 was up to 34% from 29% in 2001. By comparison, 10 years ago only 13% of employees were eligible to retire. The 5% hike in retirement eligibility between 2001 and 2002 is the largest year-to-year percentage increase during that 10-year span. Among the federal agencies with the highest percentage of employees eligible for either voluntary or early-out retirement:

  • Small Business Administration (20.9%)
  • nonmilitary components of the Defense Department (19%)
  • Housing and Urban Development Department (18.4%)
  • General Services Administration (18.2%).

For Senior Executive Service employees, who had an average age of 53.8 years and careers in federal work of 25.5 years, 75.3% were eligible for retirement in 2002 – 41.2% were eligible for regular retirement, and an additional 34.1% were eligible for early retirement.

The complete Federal Civilian Workforce Statistics: The Fact Book, 2003 Edition is available at http://www.opm.gov/feddata/factbook/index.htm .