State employee salaries still trail private sector despite slight increase
State employees’ salaries rose slightly from 2006 to 2007, but they still lag behind what the private sector pays for the same jobs, according a report by the Washington-based American Federation of Teacher’s (AFT) Public Employees division. The median increase of 5.7 percent for the 45 jobs included in the “2007 AFT Public Employees Compensation Survey” is the highest increase in the past five years.
States’ economic rebound in the past two years probably led to the rise in salaries, according to the report. “We still have a long way to go to ensure that all states can recruit and retain skilled professionals for critical public service jobs, but this year’s salary uptick is encouraging,” said AFT President Edward McElroy in a statement.
Jobs showing the most salary growth include architects (9.4 percent), employee benefits analysts (9.3 percent), geologists (8.9 percent) and correctional officers (8.3 percent). Jobs with the smallest salary growth were foresters (3.5 percent), biologists (3.6 percent), senior chemists (3.6 percent) and systems analysts (3.6 percent). Private sector salaries exceeded state salaries in 17 of the 20 cases in which job comparisons were made, and for biologists, buyers, chemists, economists, geologists and lawyers the difference was 50 percent or more. “The bottom line is that public structures and services drive our economy and way of life,” McElroy said. “To continue to reap the benefits of these services, we must invest in them.”
The full report is available at www.aft.org.