Senior Executive Service:

Reasons Why Career Members Left in Fiscal Year 1985

GGD-87-106FS: Published: Aug 12, 1987. Publicly Released: Aug 12, 1987.

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In response to a congressional request, GAO examined the characteristics of career members of the Senior Executive Service (SES) who left their positions in fiscal year (FY) 1985.

GAO found that: (1) the 615 career SES members who left SES in FY 1985 represented 9.9 percent of the average SES career membership during the year; (2) of the 469 former members who completed the questionnaire, 68.4 percent retired, 19.6 resigned, 7.5 percent stayed in government but accepted lesser positions, and 4.5 percent left under other circumstances; (3) while SES members noted a wide variety of reasons for leaving their positions, the most important were agency-specific or governmentwide and the least important were job-specific; (4) SES members who resigned were more than twice as likely to stress salary- and career-development concerns than those who retreated to lesser positions or those who retired; (5) SES members who left in FY 1985 were generally similar to those who remained employed in terms of educational level, years of federal executive service, and occupation; (6) a majority took another paid position after leaving SES; and (7) while a majority of SES members would not advise persons starting a career today to enter public service, SES members frequently commented that overall they enjoyed their careers.

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