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Ann,

Those are strange numbers. If you take out the cost of benefits, the private sector average wage is $18.42 and the public is $26.26. It must be that the public sector includes more professionals, managers and unionized wage employees, proportionately, than the private sector.

When we advertised jobs in the public sector, our tag line was "Good Pay, Great Benefits."

Frank

Frank:

I can't pretend to have a deep knowledge of that data; it is possible that there is a job make-up difference that accounts for some of the gap, and certainly the impact of unionization could be a factor(although that certainly exists in the private sector as well, tho perhaps not as pervasively). I do know, though, because I have done the studies using local surveys, that public sector employees are (often? typically?) paid at higher levels when you do direct comparisons (e.g., accountant to accountant, receptionist to receptionist). And my consulting colleagues who focus on that sector tell me that it's the case.

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About The Author

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    Compensation consultant Ann Bares is the Managing Partner of Altura Consulting Group. Ann has more than 20 years of experience consulting with organizations in the areas of compensation and performance management.

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