It shows some of the problems in comparing the two sectors before showing the results of a procedure aimed at best making comparisons:
The public sector consists of a higher percentage of higher skill jobs with the private sector a higher percentage of lower skill (pay tends to increase with skill level of the job).
The public sector consists of an older and more experienced workforce than the private sector (pay tends to increase with age and experience).
The private sector consists of a wider pay distribution with more higher earners but also more lower earners than the public sector.
Around 1 in 2 workers in the public sector have a degree or a further education qualification. It is around 1 in 3 in the private sector.
Public sector workers earn more for each level of qualification up to degree level where those with a degree earn less (4.1%) than the private sector (not controlling for other factors).
Controlling for as many of these differences as far as possible it is estimated public sector workers earned around 8.2% more per hour in April 2011 than those in the private sector.
Source: Office for National Statistics
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