Would a 1 Percent Raise Make Up For Three Years of Frozen Pay?

The White House has urged lawmakers to provide the pay boost.

The White House on Monday called on lawmakers to end a three-year freeze on federal employee pay as it takes up the first round of spending bills for the upcoming fiscal year.

“The administration urges the Congress to provide the proposed 1 percent pay increase for federal civilian employees,” the administration said in a policy statement on bills to fund the Homeland Security and Veteran Affairs departments. “As the president stated in his 2014 budget, a permanent pay freeze is neither sustainable nor desirable.”

Government Executive reported last week that while neither of the appropriations bills include a pay raise for federal employees, the bills leave open the possibility for feds to receive the 1 percent pay increase starting in January. A budget outline passed by the House in March also is silent on a federal pay raise, in contrast to prior budget plans that recommended extending the salary freeze.

The 1 percent proposed pay increase, while modest, could help federal agencies regain the competitive edge in recruiting and retaining IT workers that has been lost over the past few years as a result of frozen pay. Recent surveys indicate that pay for federal tech workers continues to lag behind their private sector counterparts, who earned a greater than 5 percent average increase in pay last year, bringing average salaries up to $84,619.

In addition, salaries for entry-level IT workers -- those the government will be competing for as more seasoned workers retire -- rose 8 percent last year, according to technology jobs website Dice.com.  

Are you optimistic about the potential for a 1 percent pay increase in 2014? Even so, will the modest increase do much to help the government regain its competitive edge for IT workers?