Public sector loath to build link between performance and pay

Ben Southwood
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REFORMING the public sector could be compromised if state employees cannot be convinced that their pay should reflect how well they do their job, a human relations body said this morning.

Only 36 per cent of public staff came out in favour of performance-related pay in a survey released this morning, carried out by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD), despite believing that those in the private sector should be exposed to the rigours of such a pay regime.

The results also come in spite of a majority of public sector workers – a balance of 58 per cent – saying their organisation did not reward success and achievement.

This comes in contrast to the 54 per cent of private sector workers who thought pay should reflect performance – and a majority of only two percentage points saying that their firms failed to reward success.

“Establishing a closer link between pay and performance in the public sector is a key element to improving service delivery and value for taxpayers,” said CIPD pay guru Charles Cotton.

“Unless the public sector starts linking pay to performance or better engages with those in the private sector about why their taxes should reward public sector workers differently, public sector employers could find it hard to legitimise pay decisions in the eyes of the private sector,” Cotton added.

The release also revealed that just 26 per cent of staff were enjoying pay rises that kept up with the pace of increases in the cost of living. But as the economy looks like it may be on its way to recovery, the fraction of employees expecting a pay rise has risen for the first time since 2008, bringing it to 48 per cent in 2012, from 45 per cent in 2011.