How come the poor paid public sector employees earn more than the private sector?

"The Office for National Statistics found that full-time public sector staff earned an average of £74 a week more than those in the private sector. Once employer pension contributions were included, the gap rose to £136, illustrating the generous pay-and-perks deals enjoyed by local and central government workers."


Busybob more capable!!!! I know the civil service is not!!!

12 Answers

  • Anonymous
    9 years ago
    Best Answer

    There are lies, damned lies, and then there are statistics. Given the flavour of the current government, I would expect the ONS to be clever enough to manipulate statistics to produce this ammunition for the Condems. For a proper analysis of these statistics, they need to be taken on a job for job likeness, rather than a whole average. You cannot, for instance, include the rates of pay in an area like catering and the hotel industry, because there are no comparable public sector jobs.

    There were, until the Tories privatised them, driving down pay and conditions for workers, and service levels for customers. Public services often provide Rolls Royce service at a Lada price. The private sector never does, as although wages are low, profit comes first. How can it be cheaper to run an organisation on a profit basis than a non profit basis?

    Having worked in both the public and private sectors, I can honestly say, that, over the past 30 years, the public sector is treated the worst in terms of pay, terms and condititions, and job security.

  • Leona
    Lv 4
    4 years ago

    They don't. That article talks about averages not specifics. If you want to compare a private sector janitor with public sector janitor I'd say you are probably right. The public sector janitor would make more. But now if want to compare a private sector engineer to a public sector engineer you would be way off the mark. The government engineer makes no where near what a private sector engineer makes. and I think you'd find this true for all highly educated, highly trained professions. Now do most public sector jobs offer better benefits? Yes. That is the only drawing card the public sector can offer to get qualified people since they can not come close to competing on straight salaries alone.

  • 9 years ago

    What can I say my best friend Scep has said it all, Well done Scep I could have said it better but why bother when you said all that needed to be said. Yes Scep, I didn't realise you worked in public sector as well. Great answer Scep.

    Edit; Who am I

    'Gertch yer'

    Scep is absolutely right

    ATB Red

    PS Scep

    You have let him off to lightly, Give him another slap for me.

    By the way thumbs up No 7 was mine xxxxxxxxxxx

    Edit Spit.

    I'm sorry your take umbrage Spit but on this occasion I actually agree with Sceptic because unknown to me we seem to have some thing in common, his point about how you evaluate the work between public and private sector is very relevant. The public sector is very PC and the skills and formalities expected from a public servant are very different to that expected in the private sector.

    ATB Red

  • 9 years ago

    It's very simple actually. The private sector workers negotiate their fees with a strict employer who doesn't like to waste money. They have to earn every euro they get. The public sector workers use their unions to blackmail some wussy politicians into submissions. The vast majority of them are Labour voters and they sell their vote to keep those parasites in power. Their constant motto is "the work is too hard. We need more workers." And then more parasites are hired and the cycle continues. Of course none of them is ever fired regardless of their efficiency.

    That's the way parasites work.

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  • 9 years ago

    First question: Is the telegraph biased or unbiased? I would have to say it's biased because it errs towards a Conservative Party bias.

    Secondly: If the figures are correct perhaps it shows that the managers in the public sector and their workers are more able and intelligent than their peers in the private sector.

  • 9 years ago

    They are and it is not right, I work in the building industry and we work alongside council builders, they go home earlier than us, they earn bigger bonuses and they get nearly twice as many holidays as we do.

    Edit: Red

    I'm surprised at your view on this I think the public sector are lazy bastards

  • Bill
    Lv 7
    9 years ago

    In America, the huge gap between pay in the private sector and pay received by public employees, not to mention the job security, lavish benefits and retirement fringes, and job security enjoyed by those who supposedly serve" the public, is also, now a major issue in an era where most Americans are struggling, and massive tax increases loom on January 1st. for us.

    I like the idea of Merit Pay. I will speak about teachers because it is what I know best, but this could apply to other fields. there were howls of protest coming from Los Angeles teachers whose evaluations on their effectiveness in raising student test scores have been published in the Los Angeles Times.

    But that is to be expected, for teachers are among the very few professions who feel that they can write their own job descriptions and evaluations. The statement of one teacher, that she was proud to have ranked “’less effective,’” because that showed that she chose to “’teach to the emotional and academic needs’” of her students was quite telling.

    But teachers have rewritten their own job descriptions under the cloak of “professionalism.”

    Merit pay alone will not right a topsy-turvy system. As in politics, we need more citizen activism. There needs to be much more oversight of curricula. Teachers themselves should be tested on the subjects they teach, for studies show that their knowledge translates into student success. We should take advantage of technology—not the attention-inhibiting, expensive razzle-dazzle “learning” programs—but cameras in the classroom. In addition to being able to view classrooms on tape, citizens should be invited to sit in on classes and evaluate.

    Teachers unions will object loudly, citing such concerns as privacy, the First Amendment, “professional standards,” etc. But other employees know that even their email correspondence on the job is subject to scrutiny by employers and that their raises are based on performance. Why should it be any different for teachers?

    In fiscal year 2008, 11,254 Illinois public school employees had annual salaries exceeding $100,000, up from 9,591 in 2007. When pensions, retirement health insurance, and employee insurance are added, public school employees’ total compensation is about 30 percent more than their salary. That means more than 40,000 Illinois public school employees, or about 25 percent, have total compensation of more than $100,000 per year.

    And that $100,000 does not include the value of tenure or a nine-month work year. o_O

  • 9 years ago

    I'm a Union man, amazed at my own stupidity. Employed by the so-called private sector. I don't support the Liebour party, yet I have to finance That bunch of scoundrels that want to keep leading us over the edge of a cliff by driving the country more and more into debt. People better realise that our public services are full of NON-jobbers pretty soon. Inspectors of wheelie bin wheels, inspectors of this inspectors of that. I'm not jealous of public sector workers - on the contrary, and I don't want to be rude, but they don't actually produce anything at all. They don't put anything back! They don't generate any jobs for the poor, they don't seem to serve any purpose at all.

    Sack 'em smithers. Sheveck.... that's a crap song that belongs to 1973. Change the chune ffs. Tell 'em Sheepy..... fetch!

    EDIT. SCEPTIC below..... well sit in your nice warm office then and work till your're 67. Most of us in the real world that do REAL jobs have to work in snow, ice, wind,driving rain and 30 degree plus heat till we're 67 and drop dead at our work benches. I'm not whining either, I love my job, it keeps me fit and it puts smug little people like you into perspective that push paper around offices, and the riskiest thing you do during the day is walking to your coffee machine in the office. But once again your absolute TOTAL arrogance precedes you. I bet you are a wheelie bin inspector really. "Soz Mr So-in-So, but you left your bin lid up by at least ONE inch...... now take your medicine, here's a 50 quid fine" . That'll go nicely towards Sceptics pension. Now don't trip over any pencils on the office floor in the morning will you?

    FACT - over 25% of all council tax goes towards council workers pensions. Pay for your own pensions like the rest of the real people have to. Don't expect that the whole world owes you a living, it doesn't.

    EDIT TWO. Not bitter at all Sceptic old chap, but I need no lectures from you. From what I've seen of you on here, it is you that is bitter. It is true that many public service jobs offer great and valued returns for our taxes and it goes without saying that you aren't all wasters, so please don't TWIST what I am saying and make out that my comment is an out-and-out attack on ALL public servants. Clearly it is not! However, now that the public purse has run out, now that many non productive council and govt jobs have proven too cost infective thanks to the last 13 years of Labour wastage, it looks like it is you that is now on the ropes and you are just making feeble excuses and trying to justify years of squander and waste of hard working taxpayers money, money that should have been put into creating REAL productive jobs that would have helped balance the book a bit and provide good trade skills to our deprived young people in inner cities. I'm ex forces 9 years served. I did my time as a public servant therefore, so I've been there and done all that and served blah blah blah and nearly got by bottom shot off too! So please don't tell me about the brave and the bold fire / police / brain surgeons, when you know, and I know that there are far too many wheelie bin inspectors and doggy doo finers in town halls. Far too many paper tigers when the whole idea of computerisation was to get rid of bureaucrats NOT take on more of the blighters. You are top heavy with bureaucracy and you well know it! Personally, I now choose a more peaceful and productive path that would hopefully put something back into society, and not keep draining it.

    But if your back's against the wall and your job is on the line, then I do sympathise and I get your point...... Regards.

  • Anonymous
    9 years ago

    Don't moan. Organise!

    Youtube thumbnail



    You are such a good negotiator - negoiate a better deal than you have now. Don't moan. You don't like the system? You don't like socialism? Become a capitalist. It is quite easy to start. Rent a market stall. Sell your computer and buy some T-shirts and a few dodgy DVDs and you are away. You could become a C21st Richard Branson...but don't moan. Cameron, Clegg and company, like their mentor, Thatcher, would like to see us all good little capitalist entrepreneurs who can make their way in life without the intervention of the state. Is that not what you voted for, if you voted at all?

    Addendum 2:

  • 9 years ago

    But it's a fallacious comparison, because nowhere does it claim that the wages are a like-for-like comparison.

    So are you comparing a hairdresser with a nurse? A builder with a teacher? It's a meaningless stat.

    And, as a well-paid public sector worker, I don't know of anyone who gets a "two-thirds pay pension for life" - I'll get a pension equivalent to half my salary after 45 years of pension contributions (I'll be 67 then). I'm not moaning - it's a well funded pension, every bit as good as I could have got privately - but their quote is not typical.

    Incidentally, aren't all pensions for life? Don't they start when you retire and end when you die?

    I don't doubt it's a genuine stat, but it tells us nothing, and certainly doesn't back up the spin that the Daily Torygraph are putting on it.

    EDIT: Who Am I? You call me arrogant and smug, yet listen to you, the only person whose job is worthwhile because you get cold and wet sometimes, and occasionally get your hands dirty.

    Yet you don't know what I do in the public sector. But, because you get your hands cold and dirty sometimes, you are more valuable, more of a 'worker' than the nurse, the surgeon, the care worker with the elderly or handicapped, the social worker with the large caseload, the soldier, the teacher, the police officer, the firefighter, the prison officer, the sailor, the GP.

    I don't know what you do, and you don't know what I do. But I'm not so arrogant that I think I'm 'more of a real worker' because the state pays my wages, rather than some corporation.

    I've never complained about my lot - I know I get a good wage, and an attractive pension. But it's what I chose to do, what I worked hard to achieve the qualifications for, just as you do what you chose. You could have chosen to work in the public sector - it isn't a closed shop.

    Luckily, you chose a real job - not like those slackers in the NHS, or the Education Service, or the Police, or the Armed Services, of the Fire Brigade!

    You sound a rather bitter fellow.

    And by the way, I do pay for my own pension, at least in part. My occupational pension, while an attractive package, isn't free. I pay 6% of my annual income towards it.

    EDIT: Exactly, and as a former public servant in the forces, you, of all people should see how divisive this "public" v "private" sector debate actually is.

    I think I'm in a real, valuable job in education that I've progressed to over nearly thirty years. My own back really isn't to the wall, as I'm not a pen-pusher in a made-up job, and I don't believe my position is under threat.

    The original question was about the stat that public sector employees, on average earn more than private sector employees. My point is still that it is meaningless, as it isn't a like-for like comparison.

    What this shouldn't do is to set those working in the private sector and those working in the public sector against one another - that's a classic divide and conquer scenario.

    My own view, for what it's worth, is that we in the public sector are a buffer on the economy. When times are good, the private sector outstrips us, with faster wage growth, bonuses etc. The public sector is used to slow down unsustainable growth with wage restraint and less growth in jobs. In the boom times you benefit from working in the private sector.

    When times are hard, the public sector is used to buoy up the economy - to take some of the sting out of increased unemployment, to make sure some people still have money in their pockets. Those in the private sector suffer earliest and harshest, and often pay with their jobs.

    It's a balance - you don't share in the boom in the public sector, and you keep your job during the bust. And a balanced Western economy needs both to complement one another and work together.

    So the worst thing that the public and private sector can do is to snipe at one another - because we both need one another.

    I didn't mean to cause offence, but your original response did stray into the personal references about which you know nothing.

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