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Federal workers earn 60% more than the private sectors
Old 07-26-2010, 10:41 AM   #1
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Federal workers earn 60% more than the private sectors

For those who keep saying that pays for goverment workers are less than those in the private sectors.

the u.s. middle class is being wiped out here's the stats to prove it: Tech Ticker, Yahoo! Finance
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Old 07-26-2010, 11:25 AM   #2
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A statement is not a statistic.
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Old 07-26-2010, 12:50 PM   #3
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Useless statistic. Now, I am actually of the opinion that federal salaries are at least comparable to private sector counterparts (i.e. Feds are not underpaid). But this stat from your article has no value:
• In the United States, the average federal worker now earns 60% MORE than the average worker in the private sector.

The average worker in the US is a store clerk. The average Federal worker is not. This would be like saying the average worker at (enter-your-favorite-fortune 500 company here) earns 100% more than the average US worker. So what? What you need to compare is:
the average Federal chemist vs the average US chemist;
the average Fed systems programmer vs the average US systems programmer;
The average Fed attorney vs the average US attorney;
Etc.
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Old 07-26-2010, 01:14 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by donheff View Post
Useless statistic. Now, I am actually of the opinion that federal salaries are at least comparable to private sector counterparts (i.e. Feds are not underpaid). But this stat from your article has no value:
• In the United States, the average federal worker now earns 60% MORE than the average worker in the private sector.

The average worker in the US is a store clerk. The average Federal worker is not. This would be like saying the average worker at (enter-your-favorite-fortune 500 company here) earns 100% more than the average US worker. So what? What you need to compare is:
the average Federal chemist vs the average US chemist;
the average Fed systems programmer vs the average US systems programmer;
The average Fed attorney vs the average US attorney;
Etc.
I've done my share of railing about what I think are increasingly unsustainable public sector compensation and benefits when compared to the reeling private sector tax base, but I have to agree with this. We are comparing "average workers" among two radically different groups. The federal government doesn't have a huge number of Wal-Mart greeters or burger flippers, for example. (But nor do they have executives making 500 times what the rank and file are earning.)

I suspect the occupation-by-occupation results would be interesting. It's long been my anecdotal observation that those in the hard sciences and engineering are underpaid compared to the private sector, but the clerical and administrative types are likely paid more than the private sector. Government work tends to set compensation with more emphasis on education and experience, whereas the private sector tends to compensate more on the market-based need for a skill based on employer demand.

This is why many schools have a glut of teachers in areas like English and social sciences, but often have trouble recruiting decent math and science teachers. Public employment doesn't tend to reflect the real and often very sharp market-based value differences based on educational discipline, so the "money" for sci-tech majors is in the business world, whereas for the humanities and social sciences it's in govvie work.
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Old 07-26-2010, 01:21 PM   #5
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Go here if you're interested in w*rking for the federal gummint:

USAJOBS - The Federal Government's Official Jobs Site
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Old 07-26-2010, 03:47 PM   #6
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Go here if you're interested in w*rking for the federal gummint:

USAJOBS - The Federal Government's Official Jobs Site
And make sure your elected representatives understand your feelings regarding pay and benefits for federal employees. Make that issue an important consideration in determining who gets your vote.



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Old 07-26-2010, 04:20 PM   #7
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I suspect the occupation-by-occupation results would be interesting. It's long been my anecdotal observation that those in the hard sciences and engineering are underpaid compared to the private sector, but the clerical and administrative types are likely paid more than the private sector. Government work tends to set compensation with more emphasis on education and experience, whereas the private sector tends to compensate more on the market-based need for a skill based on employer demand.
As someone who has done engineering work both in government and the private sector, I would like to weigh in with my experience. On a pure salary level, those in the private sector generally make a bit more for the same occupation. However, if one takes into account the additional job security in the government, vacation benefits, and other matters, it's probably a wash. If anything, I think the table tilts slightly towards the government side.

On the other hand, I would say there is much more waste of talent and time in the government than in private industry. Government has much less incentive than private industry in ensuring that engineers and other professionals are doing work conmensurate with their skills. I'm not sure how that cranks into the salary equation, since three or four engineers editing the same Power Point slides are still counted as engineers rather than graphics artists for salary purposes.
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Old 07-26-2010, 07:16 PM   #8
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Gov't workers earning more....

It's about time. I spent a lot of time working for them.

I fear the gov't workers haven't been getting raises. Might show how far the private sector has fallen. My guess is that 60% will rise.

Now that I think about it, the "average" executive makes about 300 times what the "average" worker does. Tough times for the private sector worker. Luckily, their numbers are shrinking. ;-)
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Old 07-27-2010, 05:17 PM   #9
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A tale from the real world:

In early June I applied for a job with an agency of the feddle gubmint. I was tipped about the opening by a friend of a friend. This job requires an MBA, 10+ years of pretty specialized experience, etc. It was a perfect fit for me, and my contact passed my resume along to the hiring manager informally and got an enthusiastic response.

OK, I filled out an application which took hours. It had numerous required essays, etc. I finally heard from my contact today. Evidently, the apps went to a different agency in DC which "scored" them via a black box process. The resulting top scoring candidates were sent up to the hiring manager to commence interviews. What they got were a group of entirely unqualified people who would be useless and/or a disaster on the job. They are planning on reposting the opening soon and my contacted is hoping I will apply again.

I wish I were making this up, but it is so similar to the shenanigans I have heard about the military procurement process that it must be reality.
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Old 07-27-2010, 05:31 PM   #10
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A tale from the real world:

In early June I applied for a job with an agency of the feddle gubmint. I was tipped about the opening by a friend of a friend. This job requires an MBA, 10+ years of pretty specialized experience, etc. It was a perfect fit for me, and my contact passed my resume along to the hiring manager informally and got an enthusiastic response.

OK, I filled out an application which took hours. It had numerous required essays, etc. I finally heard from my contact today. Evidently, the apps went to a different agency in DC which "scored" them via a black box process. The resulting top scoring candidates were sent up to the hiring manager to commence interviews. What they got were a group of entirely unqualified people who would be useless and/or a disaster on the job. They are planning on reposting the opening soon and my contacted is hoping I will apply again.

I wish I were making this up, but it is so similar to the shenanigans I have heard about the military procurement process that it must be reality.
I can tell you about what is going on Brewer. It is all well meaning, but often goes awry. Candidates for a job like this are evaluated against a "crediting plan." HR works with line "job experts" who identify "knowledges, skills, and abilities" (KSAs)" needed to excell at the job in question. They usually come up with 4-7 KSAs. Those are the "topics" you write your essays about. For each KSA the job expert identifies examples of what would be marginal, satisfactory, or outstanding experiences in that topic. The little essays you write are supposed to pull out your actual accomplishments in those areas. A person or panel of job experts reads the applications and grades your little essays (and general desdriptions of your work history) against the crediting plan. The top rated applicants are referred top the selecting official. It is easy to screw up this process. If you could see the crediting plan you could tailor your application to answer fit but... The thing to remember is that the outstanding examples will usually involve high level contacts, independent authority, big numbers, etc. You should pump your experience up, use lots of active verbs. Remember the smile test -- it ain't a lie if you merely grin.
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Old 07-27-2010, 05:39 PM   #11
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I can tell you about what is going on Brewer. It is all well meaning, but often goes awry. Candidates for a job like this are evaluated against a "crediting plan." HR works with line "job experts" who identify "knowledges, skills, and abilities" (KSAs)" needed to excell at the job in question. They usually come up with 4-7 KSAs. Those are the "topics" you write your essays about. For each KSA the job expert identifies examples of what would be marginal, satisfactory, or outstanding experiences in that topic. The little essays you write are supposed to pull out your actual accomplishments in those areas. A person or panel of job experts reads the applications and grades your little essays (and general desdriptions of your work history) against the crediting plan. The top rated applicants are referred top the selecting official. It is easy to screw up this process. If you could see the crediting plan you could tailor your application to answer fit but... The thing to remember is that the outstanding examples will usually involve high level contacts, independent authority, big numbers, etc. You should pump your experience up, use lots of active verbs. Remember the smile test -- it ain't a lie if you merely grin.
At this point, I am thinking they can cram it with walnuts. If this is what the hiring process is like, I highly doubt that I want to work there.
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Old 07-27-2010, 05:54 PM   #12
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It must be true. It's on the intertubz.
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Old 07-27-2010, 06:45 PM   #13
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At this point, I am thinking they can cram it with walnuts. If this is what the hiring process is like, I highly doubt that I want to work there.
Don't judge them on that. The hiring process sucks but often the work is interesting.
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Old 07-27-2010, 08:21 PM   #14
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Don't judge them on that. The hiring process sucks but often the work is interesting.
I agree.

One other thing--If your friend that tipped you off about the opening actually knows firsthand about the job and the circumstances/situation and still told you about it, then presumably they are actually going to consider "outsiders" to fill the position. In many cases, all this advertising, boarding of record, and interviewing is little more than a show, as it is required by regs/law but the likely hire is already well known to everyone involved (even the KSAs can be tailored to "fit" the exact person they already know they want.) If a friend told you about it, then this likely isn't being done--which is good and right.

As a note, some positions (especially less specialized ones or ones with a lot of applicants) are subject to machine scoring of the digital applications. Some folks blatantly stuff their resumes with every specialty-specific acronym and bit-o-jargon in hopes of matching the needed keywords so their application will be selected to be read by an actual human. It's not fun being the human who receives the "winners" to review and score.
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Old 07-28-2010, 12:04 PM   #15
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I've seen similar job hiring hijinks. Some times, the "chosen" person doesn't make it thru the black box process so the hiring manager chooses to readvertise. So the process starts all over again! I've seen it readvertised 3 times once!

The black box can be a computer scan, that looks for keywords sometimes. Or some low paid staffer who doesn't know a dang thing about the job being filled.

It really is a horror show. 6+ month waits are common.

Last year I finally started making more $ in my fed job than I made back in 2001 working for LU. That is not taking inflation into consideration. Similar jobs, IT management/support. I have many more users, computers, locations and $$ managed here in my current fed job.
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Old 07-28-2010, 04:06 PM   #16
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The black box can be a computer scan, that looks for keywords sometimes. Or some low paid staffer who doesn't know a dang thing about the job being filled...
Someone once told they applied for a job and called HR to check their status. The response was they weren't qualified because they didn't have a bachelors degree, they only had a masters! You have to love those GS-5 clerks.
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Old 07-31-2010, 05:27 PM   #17
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The response was they weren't qualified because they didn't have a bachelors degree, they only had a masters! You have to love those GS-5 clerks.
LOL!
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Old 07-31-2010, 05:30 PM   #18
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Oh, something I wonder: How many Gov't jobs require security clearances? What percentage of the public can't get a clearance due to legal issues or debt issues?

I guess if I can find out that info I can see what sort of premium to place on gov't workers.
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