Key Issues > Federal and Private Sector Pay Comparisons
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Federal and Private Sector Pay Comparisons

A careful consideration of federal pay is an essential part of fiscal stewardship and is necessary to support the recruitment and retention of a competent, successful workforce.

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It is the policy of Congress that pay for federal workers under the General Schedule--the pay system covering the majority of federal employees—be in line with pay for comparable nonfederal workers. However, recent studies comparing the compensation of federal employees to workers in other sectors arrived at different conclusions as to which sector had the higher pay and the size of the pay disparities.

We reviewed 6 key studies issued since 2005 and determined that their findings differed because they each used different approaches, methods, and data. As a result, their findings should not be taken in isolation as the answer to how federal pay and total compensation compares with other sectors. When looking within and across the studies, it is important to understand their methodological differences because they affect how the studies can be interpreted.

Looking for our recommendations? Click on any report to find each associated recommendation and its current implementation status.

Federal Workers:

Results of Studies on Federal Pay Varied Due to Differing Methodologies
Published: Jun 22, 2012. Publicly Released: Jul 23, 2012.

Human Capital:

Federal Housing Administration:

More Reports

Defense Contractors:

Information on the Impact of Reducing the Cap on Employee Compensation Costs
Published: Jun 19, 2013. Publicly Released: Jun 19, 2013.

Federal Employees' Compensation Act:

Effects of Proposed Changes on Partial Disability Beneficiaries Depend on Employment After Injury
Published: Dec 7, 2012. Publicly Released: Dec 7, 2012.

Human Capital:

American Samoa and Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands:

Employment, Earnings, and Status of Key Industries Since Minimum Wage Increases Began
Published: Jun 23, 2011. Publicly Released: Jun 23, 2011.

Women in Management:

Analysis of Female Managers' Representation, Characteristics, and Pay
Published: Sep 20, 2010. Publicly Released: Sep 28, 2010.

Human Capital:

Questions for the Record Related to Military Compensation
Published: Jun 3, 2010. Publicly Released: Jun 3, 2010.

Military Personnel:

American Samoa and Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands:

Wages, Employment, Employer Actions, Earnings, and Worker Views Since Minimum Wage Increases Began
Published: Apr 8, 2010. Publicly Released: Apr 8, 2010.

Military Personnel:

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