Securities and Exchange Commission: SEC Personnel Survey Results (a supplement to GAO-17-65)

Background

This e-supplement presents the results from three GAO web-based surveys of Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) employees. The purpose of these surveys was to obtain employees' views about SEC's organizational culture and about various aspects of working at SEC, including questions on (1) personnel management issues related to recruitment, training, staff development, and resources; (2) communication between and within divisions and offices; (3) leadership and management; (4) performance management and promotions; and (5) organizational culture and climate. Our surveys included both multiple-choice and open-ended questions.

We administered three surveys to different employee groups at SEC, as described below. Each employee group was generally asked the same questions, although some questions differed among surveys based on what was relevant to that group. We chose to survey all SEC employees instead of a sample to provide the largest feasible number of SEC employees with a chance to voice their opinions.

(a) Mission-critical office and divisions. We define the mission-critical office and divisions as those in SEC primarily responsible for implementing the agency's mission: the Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations (OCIE) and the Divisions of Corporation Finance, Enforcement, Investment Management, Economic and Risk Analysis, and Trading and Markets. The survey of the mission-critical office and divisions included nonsupervisors and supervisors in five occupational categories (accountants, attorneys, examiners, economists, and financial analysts). Our survey population for the mission-critical office and divisions consisted of employees who were employed at SEC as of September 30, 2015, according to SEC data. We administered the survey to mission-critical employees, including both nonsupervisors and supervisors, between October 2015 and May 2016. A total of 1,819 of the 2,627 nonsupervisors and supervisors in the mission-critical divisions and office responded to our survey for a response rate of 69 percent.

(b) All other divisions and offices. The survey of all other offices and divisions included nonsupervisors and supervisors from the rest of the agency (i.e., non-mission-critical offices and divisions), but also included staff from the mission-critical office and divisions who were not in one of the five occupational categories listed above. We administered the survey to employees, including supervisors and nonsupervisors, in all other offices and divisions between May 2016 and September 2016. Our survey population for the survey consisted of employees who were employed at SEC as of February 29, 2016, according to SEC data. A total of 969 of the 1,609 nonsupervisors and supervisors in all other offices and divisions responded for a response rate of 60 percent.

(c) All senior officers. We administered the survey to SEC senior officers--specifically, those at the SO-1, SO-2, and SO-3 pay grades--between April 2016 and July 2016. Our survey population for the survey consisted of employees who were employed at SEC as of February 29, 2016, according to SEC data. A total of 104 of the 148 senior officers responded to our survey for a response rate of 70 percent.

We carried out a statistical nonresponse bias analysis for the surveys of mission-critical employees and all other employees using available administrative data and determined that we could not assume that the nonrespondents were missing at random. For this reason, the results of the employee survey are presented as tabulations from a census survey. We do not make any attempt to extrapolate the findings to the 31 percent of mission-critical employees and 40 percent of all other employees who chose not to complete our survey.

We conducted this performance audit from July 2015 to December 2016 in accordance with generally accepted government auditing standards. Those standards require that we plan and perform the audit to obtain sufficient, appropriate evidence to provide a reasonable basis for our findings and conclusions based on our audit objectives. We believe that the evidence obtained provides a reasonable basis for our findings and conclusions based on our audit objectives.

Contents

View the summary results

Contact

Michael Clements, (202) 512-8678 or clementsm@gao.gov

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