Public sector IT workers close the gap on private sector pay

Public sector pay for IT professionals has caught up with the private sector following a significant rise in public sector salaries over the past 12 months.

Salaries for public sector IT professionals, which have traditionally lagged behind the private sector, are now comparable with corporate IT salaries, research from Personnel Today sister publication Computer Weekly reveals.

The survey, compiled by SSL research, shows that public sector salaries for permanent IT staff are now on average just 10% lower than the private sector average.

This deficit that is more than made up for by generous public sector pension schemes and holiday entitlement.

The pay gap between the public and private sectors has steadily narrowed from 15% in late 2003 to 10.33% in 2005, the survey reveals.

Anne Swain, chief executive of the recruitment body the Association of Technology Staffing Companies, said: “The gap is much tighter now. A lot of the higher salaries are from central government. Local government is a bit behind but is moving upwards.”

The upturn has led to a change in attitude among IT professionals, who are beginning to view the public sector as a credible place to work, said Bruce Mair, principal consultant at recruitment firm Harvey Nash.

“There is a recognition that some public sector work is quite challenging, technically and from a business perspective,” he said.

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