What Does the US Office of Personnel Management (OPM) Do?

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The US Office of Personnel Management (OPM) is an entity that manages federal job postings, sets policy on government hiring procedures, and conducts background checks and security clearances.

Office of Personnel Management Overview

The U.S. government Office of Personnel Management oversees the federal civil service merit system and enforces fair practices in the management of personnel. The OPM manages health and other insurance programs for federal employees and retirees, and pension benefits for retirees and their families.

They provide management tools including training and development programs for federal employees and agencies.

The OPM also supplies information about US Government jobs, Veteran’s resources, student opportunities, federal employee and retiree resources, and policies for human resources practitioners and agencies.

The following resources are available from the US OPM.

Federal Government Job Listings and Applications

USAJobs (USAJobs.gov) is the Federal Government's official source for Federal Government job listings, job applications, and employment information. The Federal Government hires workers in many fields, at all levels of experience, including healthcare, law, information technology, security, aviation, environmental, automation, communication, navigation, economics, HR, agriculture, education, and more.

You can search USAJobs by keyword, location, job category, salary range, and pay grade. Users can also search based upon eligibility for federal employment.

OPM provides special resources for veterans, military spouses, members of the National Guard and Reserves, students and recent graduates, senior executives, individuals with disabilities, families of overseas employees, Native Americans, Peace Corps, AmeriCorps, and Vista members,

OPM advertises job-related events through the site such as virtual seminars on Overview of the Federal Hiring Process, Interviewing, Writing Your Federal Resume, Finding and Applying for Jobs with the Federal Government, Navigating USAJOBS, and Employment Opportunities with Disabilities.

Student Resources

The Pathways Program offers federal internships and employment opportunities for current students, recent graduates, and those with an advanced degree. Pathways has three components: the Internship Program, Recent Graduates Program, and the Presidential Management Fellows Program.

Students and recent graduates can browse an index of federal agencies from A to Z, and search for federal job titles by a list of college majors

Veterans' Resources

The Federal Government recognizes the experience, training, and skills of Veterans, and offers preferential hiring for many service members. Veterans with a disability receive a 10 point preference when applying for federal jobs and other veterans are awarded a 5 point preference. Opportunities are available worldwide and in many diverse fields.

Tools and resources for all U.S. Veterans, including job opportunities, forms, benefits, and program information, as well as training assistance for private sector employment are available.

Individuals with Disabilities

The Federal Government makes a concerted effort to recruit and accommodate job seekers and employees with disabilities. The OPM site contains information regarding the hiring process for disabled individuals.

Selective Placement Program Coordinators (SPPC) help agencies recruit, hire, and accommodate people with disabilities. The SPPC can guide disabled individuals through the application process and answer questions. Most federal agencies, but not all, have an SPPC or equivalent role, such as a Special Emphasis Program Manager.

Federal Employee Resources

As an employer, the Federal Government strives to be competitive with the most successful and best companies to work for in the world. They offer opportunities for telework to enhance work-life balance, incentives and opportunities for career development, and excellent health care and benefits packages.

Information for federal employees including new employee resources, training tools and resources, and retirement and healthcare benefits is found on the website.

Federal Salary Information

The general salary schedule (GS), law enforcement officer (LEO), executive and senior-level employee, and special salary rate tables are available. Federal salary is adjusted for the cost of living and major metropolitan areas have different pay schedules. 

There are 15 pay grades for federal positions in the general salary schedule with 10 steps within each grade. Pay ranges from about $20,000 per year to about $160,000 based on the job requirements and geographic location.

OPM Practitioner/Agency Resources

Human resources practitioners will find information about human capital, hiring authorities, and classification and qualification for federal employees. The Human Capital Assessment and Accountability Framework (HCAAF) outlines merit system principles, Veterans preference rules, and other civil service regulations. There are links to information on talent, leadership and knowledge management, accountability, strategic alignment, and results-oriented performance culture.

Here, you can find information on hiring authorities available to agencies hiring Veterans, students, and interns, as well as information about the classifications used to determine pay scale, title, grade, and qualifications for Federal Government jobs.