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Senior professionals

The Department of Commerce employees over 400 executives and senior professionals to lead an agency that touches the lives of Americans every day - by encouraging economic growth that benefits all American industries, workers and consumers; enhancing America’s technological leadership and environmental stewardship; and advocating for market growth strategies.

With 12 bureaus supporting such a diverse mission, Commerce is seeking individuals with a broad range of backgrounds and skills to take on challenging assignments in the Senior Executive Service (SES), Senior Level Positions (SL), and Scientific and Professional Positions (ST).

Senior Executive Service (SES)

The SES is a corps of men and women who administer public programs at the top levels of Federal Government. Positions are primarily managerial and supervisory. The SES is a grade-less system in which salary is linked to individual performance.

Basic annual salaries range from $114,468 to $158,500; however, an agency with a certified SES performance appraisal system can set basic pay at rates up to $172,200 (subject to change). Members of the SES are not eligible for locality pay. Some positions include additional recruitment incentives. The OPM SES web page contains additional information and resources on the SES.

How SES Jobs Are Filled

Each Federal agency determines the qualifications required for its SES positions, and whether to consider only current Federal civil service appointees or all qualified candidates. At the Department of Commerce, SES jobs are open to all qualified candidates.

There are two methods of entry into the SES:

  • Apply directly to a Federal agency for a specific SES position
  • Apply for a Federal Agency’s SES Candidate Development Program (SESCDP). Qualifications Review Board (QRB) certified graduates of an SESCDP advertised to “all qualified Civil Service appointees” or “all qualified persons” are eligible for (but not guaranteed) career appointment to an SES position without further competition.

Qualifications Requirements

In addition to the professional/technical qualifications of a particular position, the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) has identified five Executive Core Qualifications (ECQs) common to all SES positions. For SES Basic Qualifications, refer to OPM’s SES Qualifications Guide.

Senior Level Positions (SL)

The SL pay system was established under the Federal Employees Pay Comparability Act of 1990 (FEPCA) to replace grades GS-16, 17, and 18 of the General Schedule. Positions in the SL system are classified above GS-15, but do not meet the executive criteria characteristic of the SES, nor do they involve the fundamental research and development responsibilities that are characteristic of the ST pay system. SL positions may be in either the competitive or excepted service. For additional information on SL positions, see page 6 of the “Guide to Executive Service.”

Scientific and Professional Positions (ST)

Positions that are classifiable above the GS-15 level, but do not meet the SES functional criteria, are appropriately placed in the ST system if they involve performance of high-level research and development in the physical, biological, medical, or engineering sciences, or a closely-related field. ST positions are established under 5 U.S. C. 3104. All ST positions are in the competitive service. Additional information on ST positions is available on page 7 of the “Guide to Executive Service.”