Pay scale for GS 11

Pay scale for GS 11

The General Schedule (GS) pay system in the United States determines pay grades for federal employees based on their job responsibilities and experience. The GS system has 15 grades, ranging from GS 1 (Lowest Grade) to GS 15 (Highest Grade), and each grade is divided into ten steps. An employee's base pay depends on two factors - the GS Paygrade of their job and the Paygrade Step they have achieved (depending on seniority or performance).

What is the GS 11 Pay Grade?

The GS 11 pay grade is a mid-level grade in the GS pay scale. The GS 11 pay grade is generally held by white-collar employees in mid-level positions, for example, Engineers, Accountants, Attorney, and Human Resources Specialists. It is typically assigned to employees with at least one year of specialized experience in their field and a bachelor's degree.

Related: Pay Scale GS: What you Need to Know

Qualifications for GS 11 Employees


To qualify for a GS 11 position, applicants must meet certain requirements. These typically include having a bachelor's degree in a relevant field, such as engineering, computer science, or social work, and at least one year of specialized experience. Depending on the agency and position, this can range from one to three years of relevant work experience. Experience can be gained through internships, co-op programs, volunteer work, or paid employment.

In addition to education and experience, some GS 11 positions may require specialized skills or knowledge, such as proficiency in a foreign language, specialized software or equipment, or a specific certification or licensure. These requirements will vary depending on the position and agency.​

How is GS 11 Pay Determined


Pay scale for GS 11

The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) determines the pay scale for federal employees in the United States, including the GS pay scale. The OPM sets the minimum and maximum pay for each GS grade, and federal agencies can set pay within those ranges based on their budgetary constraints and needs. The pay for GS-11 employees is then determined by a combination of factors, including the step level within the GS-11 grade, the geographic location, and any special pay rates or incentives that may be available to the employee.

The GS system categorizes all jobs into Job Series, each identified with a numerical code. Each series has a starting paygrade, which is the paygrade new hires begin at, and a maximum paygrade, the highest pay grade an employee in that job series can hold. Here are some examples of job types that can be held by a GS-11 employee.

job types that can be held by a GS-11 employee

The starting salary for a GS 11 employee is $59,319 per year at Step 1, with a maximum possible base pay of $77,112 per year at Step 10. See the table below:

starting and maximum salary for a GS 11 employee

What determines the steps in the GS 11 grade?

The steps in the GS 11 grade are determined by an employee's experience level and education. When an employee is initially hired at the GS 11 level, they will typically be placed at Step 1 of the grade. However, if the employee has certain qualifications or experience, they may be placed at a higher step.

The criteria for advancing to a higher step in the GS 11 grade is typically based on time in service and performance. Time in service refers to the time an employee has worked in their current grade. An employee at the GS 11 level must work for at least one year before they are eligible for a step increase. After that, they may be eligible for a step increase every one or two years, depending on their agency's policies. If you get a promotion to a higher pay grade, you get to keep your current step.

Performance is another important factor in determining step increases. Employees who consistently perform at a high level may be eligible for faster step increases or higher starting steps. Performance evaluations are typically conducted annually to determine whether an employee is eligible for a step increase or other bonuses and incentives.

It's important to note that not all federal agencies use the same criteria for determining step increases. Some agencies may have stricter requirements for advancing to a higher step, while others may be more flexible. Additionally, there may be differences in the step increase policies for different occupations or job series.

Related: A Guide to Pay Structuring

GS 11 Pay Scale by Location



The pay scale for GS 11 employees varies by location due to differences in the cost of living and the demand for specific skills and expertise. The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) publishes an annual list of locality pay rates designed to help federal agencies adjust the pay of their employees to account for the differences in the cost of living between different geographic areas. The locality pay rates range from around 15% to 40% of an employee's base pay, depending on the specific location.

Benefits and Perks for GS 11 Pay Scale Employees

GS 11 employees may also be eligible for a range of benefits, including Health Insurance, Retirement Plans, Paid Time Off, Education and Training. The benefits available to GS 11 employees vary depending on their agency and location.

Factors Affecting GS 11 Pay Scale

  1. Education and Experience: One primary factor affecting the GS 11 pay scale is an employee's education and experience. Those with advanced degrees and significant experience in their field are more likely to be hired at a higher salary level and promoted to higher-paying positions.
  2. Geographic Location: As we mentioned earlier, the location in which an employee works can significantly impact their pay rate. Employees in high-cost-of-living areas, such as San Francisco or New York City, will typically earn a higher salary than those in lower-cost areas.
  3. Federal Agency: The federal agency that an employee works for also plays a role in determining their pay scale. Some agencies, such as the Department of Defense, offer higher pay rates than others.
  4. Collective Bargaining Agreements: Some federal employees are members of unions, and collective bargaining agreements determine their pay. These agreements can impact pay rates, benefits, and working conditions.
  5. Budget Constraints: Federal agencies are subject to budget constraints that may limit their ability to offer higher pay rates. Pay raises may sometimes be delayed or denied due to budgetary constraints.
  6. Performance: Employee performance can impact their pay rate through performance-based promotions and pay increases. High-performing employees may be eligible for bonuses or other incentives.
  7. Market Demand: The demand for certain skills and positions can impact pay rates. For example, positions in high-demand fields, such as cybersecurity or healthcare, may offer higher pay rates due to the demand for those skills.

In conclusion, the GS 11 pay scale is an important aspect of the United States federal government's employee compensation system. The pay scale is determined by education, experience, and location. Additionally, GS 11 employees are entitled to various benefits and perks. While there may not be a direct equivalent to the GS 11 pay grade in other countries, understanding the factors that affect public service remuneration in different contexts is important for ensuring fair compensation and attracting talented individuals to government positions.

Mthulisi Mlilo
This article was written by Mthulisi a Consultant at Industrial Psychology Consultants (Pvt) Ltd

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