Quiz time: The main reason federal workers quit their jobs is:1) They can no longer stand government cafeteria food.

2) They are afraid they will be eaten by tigers.

3) They can get better pay elsewhere.

Dumb question, right? Number 3 is the obvious answer.

The fact that people leave government because they say they are going to greener financial pastures is the chief conclusion from a new, special 56-page report from the Merit Systems Protection Board. The board was trying to find out why 120,000 to 150,000 people leave government each year.

The exit interview survey of 2,778 federal workers was made last spring. About 1,500 workers resigned and 1,000 retired. They represented 198 federal personnel offices. During the exit interview period, about 11,700 workers left government via those personnel offices.

The fact that people say they are leaving for more money isn't earth-shaking news. But a statistical look at the departing employees shows some interesting things: Some workers were leaving for private-sector jobs that paid less, and most thought that working for the government had made them more (not less) desirable to private-sector employers. Based on the board's exit interviews:

The average employee quitting the government was 35 years old, with 7.6 years of federal service.

Two of every three were women.

One in every 10 was a supervisor.

51 percent had at least bachelor's degrees.

Six of every 10 had one of the two top job performance ratings.

About 70 percent said their average government salary ($27,000) would go to about $34,000 in the private sector.

Nearly one in four reported the same salary, or less, in the new non-federal job.

Eight of every 10 said that working for the government had made them "more marketable" in the private sector.

56 percent of the workers who were leaving federal employment said they would recommend the government to a friend seeking a job. According to an early Merit Systems Protection Board study, about 49 percent of federal workers who are not leaving would recommend government employment to a friend.NTEU Wins FDIC

The National Treasury Employees Union has won the right to be the bargaining agent for more than 3,400 Division of Liquidation workers at the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. The vote was 1,273 to 575 in favor of the union as the exclusive bargaining agent.

In most federal agencies, unions can bargain only on non-wage, non-fringe items. But a recent ruling by the Supreme Court may pave the way for collective bargaining over such things as pay at FDIC and other quasi-federal agencies where salaries are not set by Congress and the White House.Writing Award

The Society of Federal Labor Relations Professionals is looking for contributions to set up a writing award as a memorial to Geoffrey D. Spinks, a very popular society member who died recently. For details, call 640-3898.