Federal vs. private sector pay: where the gaps are

Released: 
January 22, 2013

The federal government pays less educated workers more, on average, than similarly qualified workers in the private sector. More educated workers make less.

The latest figures show the federal government pays its workers 2 percent more, on average, than workers in the private sector. But comparing education levels tells the full story.

Turns out workers with a high school diploma or less do far better with Uncle Sam, earning 21 percent higher pay than counterparts in the private sector. Factor in benefits, and the total compensation package is 36 percent higher.

Its a different story, though, for workers with professional or doctorate degrees. The private sector pays them 23 percent more than the federal government. Consider the value of benefits and the private sector still pays these educated workers more by 18 percent.

See our infographic for more on federal vs. private sector pay. Read What Do Others Say for extra perspective, then add to the discussion below. What do you think about the disparities?