Public Sector Pay – Time to redress the balance.

For too long we have been operating in the UK a publicly funded job creation scheme, which in itself would not be such a bad thing were it not for the fact that those taking from and taking out of the public sector would appear to be entirely motivated by money.  That, in public service, is fundamentally wrong.

The median average hourly rate of pay in the public sector is 30% higher than the private sector.

We had last weekend the well publicised story of the former leader of South Somerset District Council leaving his post and accepting a pay off in salary, redundancy payments and pension contributions of £569,000 after 6 years service.

Yes, that’s right, you read it correctly, FIVE – HUNDRED & SIXTY NINE THOUSAND POUNDS!

My issue is that none or certainly nowhere near enough of the money that is spent on wages in the public sector goes to those that deserve it most.  Nurses, Teachers, Police Officers, Fire Fighters.  There are countless others I can add to that list.  These are the people that should be reaping the benefit of the increase in standards that we have seen in the last 10 years in public sector pay and conditions.  So why aren’t they?

The problem is that those that enter public service in these posts do so generally out of a sense of vocation, purpose and to serve others.  They don’t do it first and foremost for the money, they do it for a whole host of other reasons.  Therefore they tend to be at the back of the queue when it comes to being rewarded for the great work that they do.  They deserve a great wage for doing great work.  They don’t get it.  That sucks.

I don’t buy the argument that Public Sector bodies need to pay great salaries to attract great talent at the top.  If you are motivated by money ( and there is nothing wrong in that ) then by all means stay in the private sector, take your risks, take your chances and fill your boots.

If you are motivated by a desire to serve the greater good and public service ticks that box for you then by all means go run a hospital, a local council, but why on earth should you even think you should be paid more than the Prime Minister for doing so?  Who is running the remuneration committees in these organisation?

Certainly don’t walk away with in excess of 1/2 million quid for voluntary redundancy when the vast majority of those in your employ are earning less than 25 times that number!  That disgusts me.   It smacks of greed, lining of one’s own pocket from the public purse.  I know it happens, it is just not right and something needs to be done to stop it.

I would be delighted were I to be evidencing the average median hourly rate in the public sector was 30% higher than the private sector because nurses were paid so much more.  That figure is so high because those at the top have their noses in the trough, and its our trough.

If the CEO of a FTSE 100 company is being paid millions that is an issue for his or hers shareholders.  It is their money, not mine ( unless of course they are a bank! )  Time to redress the balance.  Give the money to those that deserve it most.  That is the basis of great public service.



Filed under Careers, Remuneration

5 responses to “Public Sector Pay – Time to redress the balance.

  1. Pingback: Tweets that mention Public Sector Pay – Time to redress the balance. | The Recruiters Little Black Book --

  2. Really well expressed point of view and one that’s crytallised my thinking. I guess market forces shape the private sector broadly for the good but the public sector is open to the influence of patronage etc .

    • Thank you for your response David and indeed your kind words, much appreciated. More should be done in my view to ensure those delivering much needed services at the front line are more appropriately rewarded. The value of the work they do is not reflected in what they are paid for doing it. Thanks again, great to engage with you.

  3. The median hourly rate tells you nothing about what people are actually paid. The difference between median hourly rates has risen because the public sector has outsourced most of its low-paid jobs to the private sector.

    The IFS (who are one of the more reliable sources for stuff like this) reckon that the real difference, when you compare like with like jobs, is around 7.5%. Much of this is due to recent private sector pay freezes. The current public sector pay freeze will probably even things out over the next couple of years.

    Senior salaries in the private sector are still way ahead of those in the public sector, even after taking pensions into account.

    • Thanks Rick for your contribution and indeed the additional links and information, much appreciated. I accept entirely your premise that private sector salaries are ahead of those in the public sector. What I have issue with is those heading publicly funded bodies should not be taking in excess of half a million quid of yours and mines hard earned for six years service, not in times of austerity, not ever and especially when those at the point of delivery earn less in many cases than the national average. If money is your motivator, not a problem. Work in the private sector, take your chances and fill your boots. Thanks again, sorry my tech failings made for a tardy response to your comments!

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