Pay gap methodology: What do you think?


Should the federal government change the way it determines the gap between public and private pay? It’s been a hot political topic this year, and the new Republican majority in the House is certain to shine a spotlight on federal salaries. Many critics say the government’s pay gap method doesn’t hold water and needs a complete overhaul.

Vote in our poll on our homepage, and then sound off here on what you think should be done.


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  1. In order to make a meaningful comparison, you have to specify the ground rules in advance. Which jobs are being compared to each other? Are they really essentially the same? In making the comparison, are we talking strictly about salaries? How about fringe benefits?

    There are so many people in so many jobs, in the Federal government, comparisons are really difficult. How about this? Take a look at the “quit rate” for feds. Mr. Berry says it is just 2%. If this is true, then it carries a lot of weight, with me. I’ll bet the quit rate for private industry is considerably higher.

    In my opinion, feds have a pretty good deal, and they know it.

  2. Feds do have good benfits. Years ago, especiallybefore 2006, several private sector companies were also providing good benfits. Now there is less security in the private sector. Although some feds don’t leave the gov, many do change jobs several times within the gov for the same negative reasons others leave altogether in the private sector. Also many feds stay because they are over 40 and know that it is harder to compete with younger folks entering the workplace with newer college degrees and 5-10 years experience.
    The largest group of those who do leave fed employment are about 35 years old with about 10 years with the gov. They take their training and experience to the private sector or their own business because they get tired of the bureaucracy at the top levels. The fed needs to ensure that senior positions are held by competent people who know how to manage and mentor. Micro-managers, dictators and those who are promoted through the buddy system are costing tax payers a lot of money.

  3. Let’s have a good look at this. Put together a bipartisan panel of experts. Compare apples with apples, occupation with occupation. Ignore the buzz generated by partisan groups who are using this issue to further their agenda. Make this about total transparency, no sacred cows, and no puffery. Our taxpayers deserve this kind of comprehensive review.

  4. There has always been a pay disparity between fed and private sector. I am tired of waiting for the pay disparity problems so I am retiring next year.

  5. The knee jerk reaction regarding Feds pay is typical of the pie in the sky incoming who start throwing claims around with instant fixes. By the Gov’s own figures, fed employees are not overpaid in comparison with their private counterparts. Are we discussing huge numbers of over $150k salaries recently added to the payroll…?, then say so and cut those salaries. We feds know that there are too many at the top of the food chain receiving salaries AND 1/3 Salary BONUSES they do not deserve. But do not put the rest of us in the same category. We are asked to do more with less like the rest of the country. If you want to cut the budget why dont we furlough those in Congress and freeze their salaries? It is totally off base to freeze salaries and COLAs for the entire work force. Get rid of the fat at the top, cut the bonuses, get rid of the Czars and other duplicative, overlapping positions, get the ratio of managers and supervisors to employees back within reason. Generalizing in any shape or form is not recommended if you are looking for accuracy. If the work force takes a hit, Congress should take the same along with the contractors but let’s make sure everyone is fully informed first!!

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