The debate over whether federal employees are paid significantly higher than their private sector counterparts has made headlines recently. Office of Personnel Management Director John Berry issued a statement late Monday contending that such stories are "unfair and untrue," noting that they make comparisons based on gross averages, including retail and restaurant service workers and other entry-level positions that reduce private sector pay in comparison to the federal average.
"Thirty years ago, over 22 percent of our workforce was in blue collar jobs," Berry said. "Now that percentage has dropped by half while the percentage of IT and health professionals has doubled. Data clearly show that many of these highly specialized workers -- doctors, nurses, cybersecurity professionals -- are paid less than their private sector counterparts and are making a significant sacrifice in pay to serve their neighbors."
Berry's statement comes just days after Government Executive reported that a comprehensive study comparing federal and private sector pay could still be a long ways off.