Prospective candidates are attracted to SES positions primarily because they will be able to contribute more to the agencies’ mission, have greater opportunities for creativity and innovation, and have increased responsibility and authority.  On the other hand, many are reluctant to aspire to SES positions because of concerns that new responsibilities will have a negative impact on the balance between work and family, and will increase their chances of being transferred to another geographical location.   These comments were provided by participants in a survey conducted by the Senior Executives Association (SEA) and Avue Technologies Corporation.  In the online survey, nearly 12,000 GS-14/15 personnel were asked if they were likely to apply for an SES position and answer a series of questions about perspective service in the SES.  Over 58 percent of respondents indicated that they were “interested in becoming a member of the Senior Executive Service,” while 22 percent were noncommittal, and about 20 percent were not interested.  Generally, respondents did not consider pay a serious positive or negative in their desire to compete for an SES position.  However, many did express concern that the pay differential between SES and GS-14/15 positions did not adequately reflect the differences in workload, responsibility, and risk.  In a report—Taking the Helm:  Attracting the Next Generation of Federal Leaders—analyzing the data collected by the survey, the SEA made a number of recommendations to make the SES more attractive to potential candidates.  The SEA called for agencies to 1) set and communicate “clear and consistent performance expectations for SES employees”; 2) simplify the SES job application process, and 3) offer additional developmental opportunities to qualified and interested GS-14/15s.  Regarding pay issues, the SEA report recommended that Congress and the administration provide an “assured annual” pay increase to SES personnel rated fully successful or better, and assure that new SES employees get at least a 5 percent salary increase.  In addition, the report proposed that calculated retirement annuities should include performance awards and retention and recruitment allowances.  And, repeating a recommendation that it has often made in the past, the SEA urged Congress to delink its pay from that of SES personnel.