A report from the Iowa Policy Project says there is an “earnings penalty” for state and local government workers. Researcher Andrew Cannon wrote the report and talked about his findings today with reporters. Cannon says the study shows that public sector workers are paid less than private sector workers.
“And even when we account for public sector workers’ benefit packages, which have been the subject of recent debate — public sector workers are compensate less than their private sector workers,” Cannon says. He says local government workers –which includes public school teachers — fare even worse than the private sector.
Cannon says they found disparities in pay based on gender between private and public sector workers. He says a male state government worker overall would be compensated 6% less, including insurance and pension, than a similarly educated private sector worker. For a male local government worker, he says the “compensation penalty” is nine percent, and says women fare even worse when compared to the private sector.
Cannon says they looked at several factors involved in compensation and education is the most significant factor in his findings. He says the education levels of the two workforces are significantly different, as he says over half of the public sector workers have a four-year degree or higher, while just 20% of the private sector workers have a four-year degree or higher. Cannon says 80% of Iowa’s private sector workers have a two-year college degree or less, compared to 46% in the public sector.
Cannon’s study goes against Governor Branstad’s claim that public sector workers are making 47% more than private sector workers. But Cannon says the study used by the governor doesn’t separate out jobs so a convenience store worker would be compared with a university professor. He says that’s not an apples-to-apples comparison.
“Retail sales, food service jobs and other often low-paid and part-time jobs represent a full 20-percent of private sector jobs, while in the public sector, they represent just about two percent,” Cannon says, “similarly two-thirds of public sector jobs can be classified as professional and administrative, while just half of private sector jobs can be so classified.”
Cannon says the state’s 50,000 teachers and educators are one of the reasons so many of the public sector jobs are classified as professional and administrative. Iowa Public Policy’s executive director, David Osterburg says the report was released because of the current talks at the capitol about public workers salaries.
Republican says I-P-P is a liberal organization Osterburg says whether his organization is liberal or not, it is non-partisian and is not doing anything in conjunction with Democrats on this issue.
See the public/private salary report here: IPP report PDF