Wales Institute of Social & Economic Research, Data & Methods
Sefydliad Ymchwil Gymdeithasol ac Economaidd, Data a Dulliau Cymru

Work quality

Pay and Job Quality: Is the Grass Greener in the Public Sector?

The unadjusted public-private sector pay differential has attracted considerable political interest since the coalition government came to power in the UK in 2010. It has been used to justify changes to pay setting arrangements and the imposition of pay restraint on the public sector. However, previous analyses have shown that a large part of the premium can be explained by differences in individual and employment characteristics. This chapter takes that approach a step further by additionally examining sector differences in the intrinsic quality of work which may further contribute to explaining the pay gap. To do so, it draws on the Skills and Employment Survey series carried out in 1997, 2001, 2006 and 2012. Using the data contained in these surveys, the chapter challenges the suggestion that working in the public sector attracts a ‘double premium’ of better pay and better quality jobs. It suggests instead that pay differentials compensate for differences in the characteristics of work and its intrinsic features.

Outputs

Blackaby, D, Felstead, A, Jones, M, Makepeace, G, Murphy, P and Wass, V (2015) ‘Is the public sector pay advantage explained by differences in job quality?’, in Felstead, A, Gallie D and Green, F (eds.) Unequal Britain at Work, Oxford: Oxford University Press, forthcoming.

Blackaby, D, Felstead, A, Jones, M, Makepeace, G, Murphy, P and Wass, V (2014) ‘Better quality work and better pay in the public sector?’, WISERD Report, January, Cardiff: Wales Institute of Social and Economic Research, Data and Methods, 

Blackaby, D, Felstead, A, Jones, M, Makepeace, G, Murphy, P and Wass, V (2014) ‘Is the public sector pay advantage explained by differences in job quality?’ Paper presented to the ‘Using Secondary Data Analysis to Research Economic Performance’, National Institute for Economic and Social Research, London, 24 June.

Blackaby, D, Felstead, A, Jones, M, Makepeace, G, Murphy, P, and Wass, V (2014) ‘Better quality work and better pay in the public sector?’, paper presented to the Unequal Work in Britain Workshop, Nuffield College, Oxford, 15-16 January.

Felstead, A (2013) ‘Working under pressure and in fear – the survivors of the recession’, invited paper given to the Cardiff Philosophy Café, The Gate, Cardiff, 18 June.

Links

Short reports available for download on the Skills and Employment Survey Project page.

Further Information

For more information about this project please contact Professor Alan Felstead, Cardiff School of Social Sciences, Cardiff University (Email: alanfelstead@caerdydd.ac.uk)