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5 days ago

Tax Accountant

Government Office Chicago, IL

Tax preparer / Tax Accountant 4 Year College Degree in Finance or Accounting 46k a year w… CareerBuilder

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U.S. Government Accountability Office Comptroller General Eugene Louis Dodaro
Eugene Louis Dodaro
53 Ratings
  • 2 people found this helpful  

    Good Place to Work But GAO has Significant Flaws

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Senior Analyst in Washington, DC (US)
    Current Employee - Senior Analyst in Washington, DC (US)

    I have been working at U.S. Government Accountability Office full-time (more than 10 years)


    The work at GAO is interesting and quite varied as it can involve many different government agencies and programs, which means that employees have opportunities to learn continuously, and don't get bogged down in repetitive annual work cycles, which is often the case at other federal agencies (although as observed by many leaving comments on this site, GAO's work processes can be stultifying). Because GAO is continuously recruiting new employees to replace retirees and others who leave, there are significant opportunities for growth and advancement. If you master GAO's work processes and writing technique, and excel at analysis and teamwork and demonstrate a can do approach to your assignments, you will be appreciated and have opportunities for advancement. Also, the team approach to engagements and GAO culture provide built-in mentoring and many opportunities for learning GAO processes. Employees who innovate in use of technology or in use of analytical approaches that complement GAO's engagement methodology are appreciated and likely to be rewarded for their efforts. Also, GAO's pay scale is probably in the upper 30% of federal agencies.


    GAO's appraisal system has the appearance of being criteria-based and objective, but it is significantly flawed and frequently unfair. Based on GAO's own statistics, some demographic groups fare well, while others come out perennially on the short end of the rating system, which because ratings are used to determine pay increases, means that some demographics get lesser increases (e.g., in recent rating cycles, GAO data showed that employees over 50 years of age received less than 1/2 of the higher pay increases of younger employees). Additionally, the rating system can be capricious. For example, after a promotion, employees typically get at least one low annual rating, even if they do extraordinary work. Other examples of the appraisal system being arbitrary are that some employees who are given very difficult assignments and live up to the challenge, are given lower ratings than other employees who are given relatively easy assignments. In GAO's appraisal training, the agency actually defended (praised) this practice (doing something simple "really well" is better than doing something difficult only well). Further, some employees are able to obtain above average ratings by filing or threatening to file a complaint, although be forewarned, this approach can also have the opposite effect. Because GAO is very concerned with being accused of discriminating against some, employees, others who are not from a preferred group may get lower ratings. An example of preferred groups - in less than a decade GAO went from majority male to 58% female (women are rated somewhat higher than men at GAO), and the agency is currently taking additional steps to shape workplace demographics (this is either a positive or a negative for those seeking employment at GAO, depending on their demographics). In summary, good workers can and often do receive marginal ratings despite doing good work at GAO. Finally - and this is not a con, just advice - keys to success at GAO are to always appear to be knowledgeable (the appearance of weakness on even a single occasion will often be held against you), never do something that angers those above you (okay that is obvious, however GAO has an especially long corporate memory), and align yourself with a respected supervisor who becomes your advocate - your supervisor is probably the most important person in determining your rating and promotion potential.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    I have none, because I know GAO will not take steps to change the flaws that concern me.

    Neutral Outlook

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