2016 Assessment of the Civilian Acquisition Workforce Personnel Demonstration Project
Lewis, Jennifer Lamping
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Key Findings: Salary levels, salary growth, and retention outcomes in the Department of Defense Civilian Acquisition Workforce Personnel Demonstration Project (AcqDemo) were similar to those in the General Schedule (GS) system, after controlling for an array of other factors. AcqDemo employees earned higher starting salaries but were promoted less frequently relative to equivalent employees in the GS system. Within AcqDemo, higher levels of contribution to the organizational mission were associated with higher salaries, more-rapid salary growth, more promotions, and a greater likelihood of retention. ﾕ However, less than half of AcqDemo survey respondents perceived a link between contribution and compensation. Possible explanations include a perceived lack of transparency regarding how performance ratings are calculated and translated to pay; difficulty measuring employee performance objectively and inclusively, particularly for managers; and a narrowing spread in salaries resulting from pay caps and AcqDemo business practices. A majority of AcqDemo survey respondents expressed concerns about the transparency and fairness of various aspects of the appraisal and compensation system.