Job Satisfaction and Expected Turnover Among Federal, State, and Local Public Health Practitioners

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To use data on the governmental public health workforce to examine demographics and elucidate drivers of job satisfaction and intent to leave one's organization.


Using microdata from the 2014 Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey and 2014 Public Health Workforce Interests and Needs Survey, we drew comparisons between federal, state, and local public health staff. We fitted logistic regressions to examine correlates of both job satisfaction and intent to leave one's organization within the coming year.


Correlates of job satisfaction included pay satisfaction, organizational support, and employee involvement. Approximately 40% of federal, state, and local staff said they were either considering leaving their organization in the next year or were planning to retire by 2020.


Public health practitioners largely like their jobs, but many are dissatisfied with their pay and are considering working elsewhere. More should be done to understand the determinants of job satisfaction and how to successfully retain high-quality staff.

Public Health Implications

Public health is at a crossroads. Significant turnover is expected in the coming years. Retention efforts should engage staff across all levels of public health.

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