Click here to skip navigation
This website uses features which update page content based on user actions. If you are using assistive technology to view web content, please ensure your settings allow for the page content to update after initial load (this is sometimes called "forms mode"). Additionally, if you are using assistive technology and would like to be notified of items via alert boxes, please follow this link to enable alert boxes for your session profile.
An official website of the United States Government.
Skip Navigation

In This Section

Senior Executive Service Facts & Figures



This is your source for SES data. Explore the links below to find out more.

Demographics: A comprehensive snapshot of the senior executive workforce. Includes information on age, gender, education, etc.

Annual Data Report: The most current data on SES salaries, ratings, and awards.

Plum Book: Learn about policy and supporting positions in the Legislative and Executive Branches of the Federal Government.


A comprehensive snapshot of the senior executive workforce
Type of AppointmentNumber Sept '12Percent Sept '12
Career 7,199 89.94%
Non-career 675 8.43%
Limited term 117 1.46%
Limited emergency 3 0.04%
Total 7,9941 100.00%
GenderNumber Sept '12Percent Sept '12
Female 2,678 33.46%
Male 5,326 66.54%
RaceNumber Sept '12Percent Sept '12
Asian, American Indian, Alaskan Native, Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander 354 4.42%
Black/African American 875 10.93%
Hispanic/Latino 328 4.10%
White 6,444 80.51%
Unspecified 3 0.04%
AccessionsNumber through June '12Percent through June '12Percent of Total June '12 (Count: 7,996)
Transfer 90 30.61% 1.17%
New Hire 204 69.39% 2.55%
Total 294 100.00% 3.68%
DisabilityNumber Sept '12Percent Sept '12
No Disability 7,385 92.27%
Non-targeted Disability 292 3.65%
Unspecified Disability 243 3.04%
Unknown Disability 49 0.61%
Targeted Disability 35 0.44%
Averages by Appointment Type Through June 2012Length of Service on SES Entry (years)Length of Federal Service (years)Time in SES (years)Time in Current Position (years)
Career 18.4 23.1 6.4 3.4
Non-career 7.9 7.1 3.1 1.8
Limited Term/Emergency 17.1 16.4 2.1 1.1
Total 17.8 21.6 6.1 3.2
Agencies with Largest Number of SESNumber Sept '12
Department of Defense 1,243
Department of Justice 749
Department of Homeland Security 614
Department of the Treasury 493
Department of Energy 471
Department of Health and Human Services 460
National Aeronautics & Space Administration 416
Department of Veterans Affairs 387
Department of Commerce 372
Department of Agriculture 344
SES in the Washington, DC Metropolitan AreaNumber Sept '12Percent of Total Sept '12 (Count: 8,004)
District of Columbia 4,013 50.14%
Virginia 1,165 14.56%
Maryland 858 10.72%
States with more than 50 SES Members (Excluding the Washington, DC Metropolitan Area)Number Sept '12
California 213
Texas 202
Georgia 150
Illinois 109
Pennsylvania 102
Colorado 96
Florida 96
Alabama 93
Ohio 90
New York 84
Washington 54

1 "Unspecified" category was not included because it is not a valid option for Type of Appointment. Ten SES members were classified as "unspecified".
* Average Age 54 years
7,587 Positions Filled from 8,818 Total Allocations
* Source: As of December 12, 2012, Executive and Schedule C System and Central Personnel Data File & EHRI- Statistical Data Mart

Annual Data Reports

The most current data on SES pay for performance including salaries, ratings, and awards.







Plum Book

Every four years, just after the Presidential election, the "United States Government Policy and Supporting Positions" is published. It is commonly known as the Plum Book and is alternately published between the House and Senate.

The Plum Book has a listing of over 7,000 civil service leadership and support positions (filled and vacant) in the Legislative and Executive branches of the Federal Government that may be subject to noncompetitive appointments. These positions include agency heads and their immediate subordinates, policy executives and advisors, and aides who report to these officials. Many positions have duties which support Administration policies and programs. The people holding these positions usually have a close and confidential relationship with the agency head or other key officials.

What positions are included in the Plum Book?

  • Executive Schedule and salary-equivalent positions paid at the rates established for Levels I through V of the Executive Schedule
  • Senior Executive Service "General" positions (i.e., those positions which may be filled by a career, noncareer, or limited appointment) *
  • Senior Foreign Service positions *
  • Schedule C positions excepted from the competitive service by the President, or by the Director, Office of Personnel Management, because of the confidential or policy-determining nature of the position duties
  • Other confidential or policy-determining positions at the GS-14 and above level excepted from the competitive civil service by law because of the confidential or policy-determining nature of the position duties

What positions are excluded from the Plum Book?

  • Senior Executive Service (SES) "Career Reserved" positions (those positions that can be filled only by career appointment)
  • Schedule A and Schedule B positions
  • Competitive Service positions
  • Other positions filled competitively under agency merit systems established by statute (i.e., GS grade equivalent (GG) positions in certain agencies)

* The majority of Senior Executive Service and Senior Foreign Service positions are filled by career appointment because of the statutory limitations on the number that may be filled by noncareer appointment.

Control Panel