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What can I earn?

Published: Thursday, 20 January 2005   Category: Public sector

I am a graduate professional with three years experience, earning £28,000. I am considering a move from the private to the public sector by how much can I expect my earnings to fall?

The short answer is not by as much as you think, if at all. With the general exception of central government in Central London, where London weightings in the public sector are not as generous as they are in the private sector, the public sector pays very competitively. The median basic salary for a graduate with your experience is £28,700 in the private sector nationally, compared with £28,300 in the public sector.

The public sector bonuses are also less competitive than in the private sector. However, the public sector more than makes up for it in generous benefits, in particular being far more likely than the private sector to provide final salary pension schemes. Add in the job security, and the overall package is surprisingly competitive.

At your current level, market pay ranges from £4,000 to £35,000 in the public sector, but from £1,000 to £38,000 in the private sector so you'll earn more as a minimum in the public sector, but your potential maximum earnings are likely to be less. In summary, the public sector outside Central London rewards very competitively.

How this reward is made up differs between the sectors, but the common perception of the public sector as being badly paid is no longer the case.

Information provided by Ben Frost at the people management consultancy The Hay Group. The UK HayPayNet database is compiled from salaries supplied by more than 600 organisations. Source: 20/01/05 Ben Frost, www.timesonline.co.uk

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