Public v private sector: Who earns more?

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ONS pay estimates assume employees of those banks reclassified to the public sector in 2008 were in the private sector throughout. Photo: Reuters

The Office for National Statisticstoday calculates the gap between pay in the public and private sector to bejust over 8%. That's 8% more in the public sector, believe it or not.

That might surprise you, but as our documentary on ITV1 showed (you can still watch it here) private sector worker pay has fallenbehind.

And the gap has been widening.

But there are important caveats:

  • The survey does not count the self-employed
  • The calculations are made in April, which excludes the main bonus season
  • Staff in the public sector tend to be older, and higher skilled and higher earnings tend to reflect both of those elements
  • Many jobs that traditionally would have been low paid in the public sector have been outsourced to private companies in recent years, which brings the average pay levels down

You can read more of the ONS analysis here.