Study: More feds work just for the money

Study: More feds work just for the money

NEW ORLEANS'The number of federal employees who are motivated by a paycheck rather than by performing a job that benefits society has sharply increased since Sept. 11, according to a new Brookings Institution report scheduled to be released June 20.

Paul Light, vice president and director of Governmental Studies at Brookings, a Washington think tank, said yesterday the report found a 10 percent increase in the number of federal employees who said their motivation was pay'up to 41 percent from 31 percent.

'This is deeply disturbing,' said Light, who was the keynote speaker at the Federation of Government Information Processing Council's Management of Change conference. 'The number who come for the common good, the nature of the job or to work with good people'that remained the same. When you look at this first characteristic of federal service you see people motivated by a paycheck.'

Light offered some highlights of the report, which consists of interviews of 1,000 federal employees at home, 1,000 graduating college seniors and 986 randomly selected residents about their views on the federal government work force. The same 1,000 federal workers were interviewed between February and March 2001 and again between March and May 2002 to gauge whether and how their views changed.

The report breaks down federal employees into Defense Department and civilian workers, and found a significant difference between the two. Defense employees are more focused on their agency's mission but are frustrated because they cannot do more to help advance that mission. Civilian workers, on the other hand, are confused about their contribution to their agency's mission, the study said.

'This is a leadership problem, a communication problem and an information-sharing problem,' Light said. 'We have to talk to the employees about how the federal government is a sum greater than the price.'

DOD employees also indicated they have a better sense of their mission since Sept. 11 than civilian workers said they have, the report said.

One of the most positive results of the study was that federal employees said they almost always or often have access to the technology they need to do their jobs well. But they also report that they do not get the necessary training to use the technology, and staffing levels are too low.

'We don't believe in investing in training if it is going to cost something,' Light said. 'We love to talk about it and say it is a wonderful thing, but there is no money in the budget as a separate account or initiative for this. We have to put our money where our beliefs are.'

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