Securities and Exchange Commission Human Capital Survey

GAO-05-118R: Published: Nov 10, 2004. Publicly Released: Nov 10, 2004.

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Orice M. Williams
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This document presents the results of a recent GAO survey of human capital issues at the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). In March and April 2004, we conducted a follow-up to our 2001 human capital survey of SEC attorneys, accountants, and examiners to benchmark their views after the agency had implemented pay parity and work-life programs. 2001 SEC survey respondents were overwhelmingly dissatisfied with pay and identified other nonpay issues as warranting SEC management's attention. The 2004 survey generally covered the same issue areas that we addressed in the 2001 survey, including (1) compensation, (2) overall job satisfaction, (3) work-life balance, (4) supervision and management, (5) performance appraisal and incentive system, (6) opportunities for advancement, (7) organizational structure and support, (8) communication within divisions and offices, and (9) training.

Compared to the 2001 SEC survey respondents, the 2004 respondents were significantly more satisfied with their pay and their ability to use flexitime and flexiplace. The improvement in employee satisfaction with compensation and worklife programs could be attributed to SEC's recent implementation of pay parity and increased focus on implementing work-life programs. In addition, overall the employees remained satisfied with their jobs and the meaningfulness of their work. While employee satisfaction has improved with respect to compensation and worklife programs, the levels of satisfaction have decreased in three nonpay categories. Specifically, employees were less satisfied with (1) the quality of supervision provided by their immediate supervisor and (2) the extent to which management communicates, in a timely manner, information that affects their work and the guidance they receive from management on their work priorities, and they were more dissatisfied with (3) the ability of SEC's performance appraisal system to motivate employees to perform well and the consistency with which the system is applied. These areas, which were previously mentioned in our 2001 report as warranting management attention, appear to be areas SEC should continue to address.

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