Public service workers 'should follow private sector examples' over wages

Public sector workers need to follow the examples of their counterparts in the private sector - and admit that their salaries should be performance-based.

That is the conclusion of the world's largest chartered human resources and development professional body.

The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development's (CIPD) new survey of 3,000 employees showed that just a third of state-employed staff thought their wages should reflect their own performance, compared to over half of those working in the private sector.

The CIPD said that forging closer links between pay and performance in public sector employment was essential if the Government was to keep on track with reforming public services - as well as improving service delivery and value for taxpayers.

Key to this, it said, was public sector staff themselves waking up to the fact that salaries should also reflect their individual capabilities and not just keeping pace with inflation.

Of those surveyed in the private sector, 54% said earnings should be performance-related, 36% inflation-linked and 32% based on experience.

In the public sector, most workers (55%) said salaries should reflect the cost of living, followed by individual performance (36%) and their experience (33%).

The poll also revealed that private sector workers thought that those in the public sector should be paid according to individual skills (55%), organisational skills (33%) and team performances (26%).

Public sector staff said that private sector workers should be paid based on how well they performed, but were more unwilling to see their own pay packets linked to individual performance (36%), that of their team (11%), or that of their organisation (5%).

Three in ten public sector workers polled wanted pay via a trade union negotiated pay deal, the highest figure since 2010 and perhaps reflecting recent pay restraint among state-employed staff.

CIPD rewards advisor Charles Cotton said: "Establishing a closer link between pay and performance in the public sector is a key element to improving service delivery and value for taxpayers."

He warned that public sector staff could find it difficult to justify pay awards in the eyes of the private sector unless they started linking pay to performance.

Copyright Press Association 2013