Here is why millions queue up for a government job: it already pays quite well.
From school teachers and clerks to even software engineers, the government and public sector pay fresh recruits substantially more than private firms but employees lose the edge as they rise to higher echelons.
These were the findings of a study authorised by the seventh pay panel that the commission headed by justice AK Mathur threw back at employee associations which sought parity with the private sector.
For instance, the report found that a fresh software engineer in the private sector could expect a monthly salary of only around Rs 25,000 against Rs 52,000 in the government and Rs 70,000 in the public sector.
Similarly, it said the salary at entry and middle levels for scientists is higher in the government than in the private sector. It is only at senior levels that the “compensation is slightly better in the private sector,” the pay panel said in the findings submitted last week.
And this is the situation before the pay hikes recommended by the panel come into force. No wonder public recruitment body ,the Staff Selection Commission, received over 17 million applications in 2014 for about 55,000 jobs.
Shekhar Singh, an academic who has lectured civil servants, said there was need for more transparency.
“Not just on what decisions are taken by the government on the panel’s recommendation but also why the government accepted, or rejected, every suggestion,” he said.
The study by the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad estimated the pay packets in the private sector on the basis of job advertisements and questionnaires to private firms, big and small.
One reason why experienced and highly-skilled staffers in the government lose out to their counterparts in the private sector is because the government hasn’t been able to devise a credible mechanism to assess performance.
So, while it quickly bettered the previous pay commission’s recommendation for performance-related bonus to employees, it never came up with a system to actually measure performance or make employees accountable.
Instead, the government has tried to reduce costs by outsourcing jobs to the private sector where it pays a fraction of the salary that government employees get. So, for instance, it pays Rs 33,000 a month on recruiting a data entry operator directly but no more than Rs 12,000 when the job is outsourced.