Public sector�s not so bad


Good pay and hours. Public sector workers are shattering the myth of poor pay and long hours, according to the personnel management trade body.

A Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) study of pay and employment trends has found that public sector job prospects and relative salaries have improved considerably since the late 1990s. Because of shorter working hours, public sector workers earn on average 63p an hour more than their private sector counterparts.

The CIPD estimates that frontline staff professionals account for about one in four of the new public sector jobs created between 1998 and 2004.

A similar proportion are back office managers and administrators, with the remaining 50% described as �intermediate� staff such as teaching assistants and care support workers.

Figures published earlier this month by the Office for National Statistics show that employment in the public sector rose by 72,000 in the year to March 2005.

Health and social services recorded the largest increases in public sector staff by adding 50,000 jobs. �The perception that public sector workers are poorly paid and deserve special attention perhaps needs some revision in the light of these findings,� said CIPD chief economist John Philpott.

�If one compares the median worker in the private and public sectors, for example, the public sector worker is better off by �12 a week.�

Since 1998, public sector staff numbers have increased by 658,000, and now stands at more than 5.8 million, and account for one in five of all people employed.

Mark Swain, director at recruiter Fusion People�s branch in Eastleigh, Hampshire, believes that government-related employers have made a noticeable effort recently to improve their image.

�The sector is a more attractive proposition, especially for people seeking a good work-life balance,� he said. �Training is particularly good in the sector, and it is now very competitive on salaries.�

Domenic Donatantonio

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