Charges that federal civilian employees receive much higher pay compared to private sector employees are “unfair and untrue” countered John Berry, Director of the Office of Personnel Management (OPM). In a press release issued this week, Berry said that well-publicized reports, such as the CATO Institute and Heritage Foundation studies, do not present fair comparisons of public and private sector pay. Berry said these studies calculate salary levels as gross averages for the private sector, which includes the pay of entry-level employees in the retail and food service sectors. He pointed out that the federal government employs relatively few of these workers, which makes comparisons misleading. Berry said data show that many federal employees are in highly specialized jobs, such as IT and health professionals, and that even here, their pay is lower than that for their counterparts in the private sector. He acknowledged that federal government employees receive good pay and benefits, but pointed out that working for the federal government often “is about more than money.” He applauded the efforts of federal employee who work hard and are dedicated to their jobs. Nevertheless, while Berry expressed confidence in OPM’s figures, he admitted that the process the agency uses to analyze pay data is more than 20 year old. He told Federal Times that OPM and experts from the Labor Department will begin in September to review the procedures used to measure the public/private pay gap.
OPM Director defends federal pay levels, but will review comparison process
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