Public sector workers feel undervalued and underpaid

Public sector employees feel undervalued and think their pay does not match their performance, according to a new study.

The poll of 1,200 public and private sector workers, commissioned by civil service and public sector membership group CSMA Club, found that 69% of those in the public sector feel less valued by society than 10 years ago – more than double the proportion of those in the private sector (34%).

The research suggests that many public sector employees blame the media for making them feel undervalued, with 66% of public sector employees feeling the media creates a negative bias towards them.

In addition to feeling undervalued, the majority also believe they are underpaid, with only a quarter feeling their pay adequately reflects their performance, compared to almost 40% of those in the private sector.

Discontent with pay could be driven by increased working hours, the survey suggests, given that over half of public sector respondents (54%) stated that they are expected to work longer hours compared with five years ago.

Despite perceived negativity about their roles, public sector employees retain a pride in their work – with 51% saying they felt proud to tell others where they worked, compared to only 37% of private sector employees. Almost two-thirds (61%) in the public sector said their job allowed them to give something back to society, while only a third in the private sector gave the same response.

Carl Fillery, chief executive of CSMA Club, said:  “It is clear that although some dissatisfaction with pay and working conditions exists, our survey suggests those in the public sector are extremely committed to their work and gain a huge sense of personal satisfaction from it.

“But we know from separate research that despite the slow thawing of the freeze on public sector pay, employees are worse off now in real terms than they were three years ago.

“Public sector employees’ outlook on their sector is shifting rapidly so it is crucial that managers and HR professionals recognise that reward and recognition is as important a factor in effective employee engagement in the public sector as it is in the private sector.”

Tell us what you think – have your say below or email [email protected]


M   29/03/2015 at 21:47

I currently work in a public sector role. I do at least four people's job and more and yet never feel appreciated. The more you do is more they expect and the pay is still stagnant!

Garin Of Bodmin   08/04/2015 at 19:22

The right wing media is certainly anti public sector worker, branding them lazy, overpaid, underworked, overstaffed and to blame for the government spending deficit. Almost in the same way the NAZI party used Jews as scapegoats for germany's economic crisis. The question is not about affordability, but how public sector employees are treated. I would suggest it is now poorly. But the UK public believes the ranting of the likes of the mail and telegraph, more fool them. A retention and recruitment problem is brewing in much of the public sector. So let market forces take hold, let the public sector dwindle. The UK public will at some point realize that social, environmental, law and order, and health services are essential for a quality life and environment, but by then it will perhaps be too late to rectify the running down of the public sector.

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