GCN survey: There's a stronger sense of purpose

Rank-and-file federal IT workers have a moderately stronger sense of purpose and higher morale since last Sept. 11, a GCN survey found. And security is decidedly tighter on all federal fronts.

Overall, about a third'34 percent'of all employees GCN interviewed last month said they felt more purposeful and focused since Sept. 11. A majority, 62 percent, said they felt about the same as before Sept. 11. Only 4 percent felt less purposeful and focused.

But the difference in attitudes between Defense Department and civilian agency employees was marked: 40 percent of Defense IT specialists reported a greater sense of purpose and focus, compared with 28 percent of civilian workers.

More than half, 56 percent, of Defense re-spondents said their sense of purpose was about the same as before Sept. 11, and 68 percent of civilian employees cited no change.

In a recent survey by the Brookings Institution in Washington, at www.brookings.edu, 42 percent of federal employees across all job categories said people they work with had a stronger sense of purpose since Sept. 11; 57 percent said they feel about the same as before; and 1 percent less purposeful. Brookings said 63 percent of Defense employees said workers at their agencies had a greater sense of purpose since Sept. 11, but only 35 percent of non-Defense employees said the same.

On the issue of employee morale, the disparity between Defense and civilian officials also was striking in the GCN survey.

Fifty-two percent of Defense IT specialists said that they perceived morale among employees at their agencies to be at least somewhat higher. By contrast, only 32 percent of civilian respondents cited higher morale at their agencies.

Among the 18 percent of respondents at all agencies who reported lower morale, 14 percent of Defense IT specialists said morale had declined, and 22 percent of their civilian counterparts cited lower morale.

Responses on security matters were more consistent. Sixty-nine percent of the survey participants said their systems were more secure since Sept. 11: 72 percent at Defense agencies and 66 percent at civilian agencies. No one reported that systems were less secure.

As might be expected, a sizeable majority'71 percent'reported that their agencies had implemented tighter security measures in the last year: 68 percent Defense and 74 percent civilian.

Tighter physical access'77 percent'and stronger password polices'61 percent'were the most common security responses at all agencies, the survey found.

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