Private Sector Pensions

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flip_flop | 09:13 Sat 17th Mar 2012 | News
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Private sector salaries are, on average, higher than public sector salaries.

Given the main argument for their excellent pensions no longer stands up to scrutiny (i.e, that the pension was a trade off for their low salaries), why are so many of them still bitching and moaning?


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If you take something away from people what they have always got, they are not going to be happy. Especially where money is concerned.

And I think you will find that private sector pay is still greater.
Have you got that the wrong way round?
If, as you say, the average salary is higher in the private sector (and average hides a large range of differences) then why do you say the claim that a larger pension compensates is no longer valid ?

Most of this sort of thing is a divide & conquer thing to reduce what the workers get anyway. Heard the latest scam, to pay employees doing the same job in a different areas of the country different rates ? That'll even up conditions across the country for sure. Don't get a job in a poor area if you want to save up for a decent retirement.
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The logical extension of your argument is that average house prices should be equalised across the country so that those on public sector salaries can afford a similar house anywhere - since a big slice of average income is spent on funding a roof over one's head (be it mortgage or rented).
I don't think so.
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Unless the BBC were mistaken this morning, the average public sector pension is now greater than the average private sector pension.

OG, I appreciate there are outliers. The public sector have always jealously guarded their pensions because, they argued, they were poorly paid. As this is no longer the case, they should feel the pain the way those of us who are investing in private pensions are, and stop whining that they are going to have to work longer, pay more and receive less - i.e, they will have to do what the private sector are having to do.
I agree with BM...

I pay about £150 - £200 a month more rent to live in the area of the country I do over what it would cost me to live in a similar property "up north" so why shouldn't my salary reflect the higher cost of living I have.

Unless you are suggesting that rental prices are fixed artificially high "up north" in which case private landlords would be raking it in... or rental prices are fixed artificially low "down south" which would result in private landlords not bringing in enough rent to pay for the properties they are renting out.
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I've just realised the absolute balls up I've made of the question!

It should, of course, have read "Public Sector Pensions" and "Public sector salaries are, on average, higher than private sector salaries"
Actually I've just checked.... a similar property within 40miles of Pontefract would cost me about £300 less, or appropriately half the price!
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My answer at 08.56 should have read "Unless the BBC were mistaken this morning, the average public sector salary is now greater than the average private sector salary".

Its early!
I can see why one might try to extend the argument to house prices but I'm unconvinced it is fair to apply a argument to prices what one applies to a going rate for labour. In any event prices will tend to follow the local populations ability to pay, so if folk earned much the same everywhere that would have a levelling affect on house prices. (Given an equal desirability of location and standard of building.)

My woman works in the public sector, I can you she is poorly paid.
And what happened to the word "assure" ?!?!?!?!
As from April I will be paying out more to my pension but I will not see this when I retire. I'll be £40 - 50 short each month. And I've heard that our contracts are going to be changed. They have also said that if you get promoted you will not get a pay increase with the promotion.
as the link in Gromit's answer discusses its not very useful to compare average public sector salary with average private sector salary as the range of jobs in each are not comparable (higher proportion of professionals in NHS for example). Instead job type should be compared e.g. head of a hospital trust with head of a large private enterprise - i believe this would still show a significantly lower public sector salary.
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In any mean average comparison, outliers should be ignored and therefore comparing the boss of an NHS Trust and a private enterprise shouldn't be done.

What should be done is a comparison between 'normal' jobs.
but thats the problem isn't it - normal in the NHS for example is not normal in the private sector
Straight comparrison, one consultant I worked for had two PAs, me and his private sector one, his private sector PA earned £10,000 more than I did a year and could also earn more through certain bonus type things. We did the same job and actually it was well known that I often had final say on a few things over the private PA just because I had more control over that consultants surgery lists. The consultant himself said that he would NEVER offer me a job in his private practice (unless his other PA left and given we are the same age her retirement is some way off!), because I was worth more to him in the NHS as without me there things often went tits up with both his NHS and private work.

I loved my job and the consultant I worked for who was always generous to me at christmas but I think this example would serve as a comparrison for normal jobs maybe.
The reason that private sector pensions exist is be cause the free market works and has to respond to demand. Public sector workers had schemes in place whilst us in the wealth-creating private manufacturing sector (Yes! we used to have one!) had to fight employers to get one running. Obviously, this then became a part of the total remuneration package along with holidays (we had to fight to increase those too), health schemes etc. Being a competitive market meant companies had to complete on the total package. I was lucky enough later to work for an enlightened employer who provided an excellent schem which pays me to live now. Unfortunately as life expectancy rose and investment returns dropped it became unsustainable and the defined benefits were replaced by defined contributions. It's a hard world but younger people now choose to spend huge amounts on their "lifestyle choices" rather than invest in pensions.

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