Are public sector pensions too generous?

Yes (I work in the public sector)
6% (5 votes)
Yes (I work in the private sector)
58% (45 votes)
No (I work in the public sector)
24% (19 votes)
No (I work in the private sector)
12% (9 votes)
Total votes: 78

Your Comments

Have been too lucrative for a long time hence the ridiculous taxes we pay. Public sector over generous pension provisions suggest employee discrimination. Too much money has been spent already on filling the pension black holes created by Government.

Ask this question of any retiree that worked in the private section and as paid dearly for his/her index linked pension over a 50+ year period. The Public sections have enjoyed a cosseted existence over the past 2 decades without earning the rewards they received. (New Labour policy ?). Why should our Council Tax be used to provide comfortable living conditions for their staff.

Are you joking. I have worked in the public sector since leaving school over 20 years ago. I have had to endure poor rates of pay and have been told the upside is the pension. we deal with people that society forgets about and dont earn the going rate of the outside world. why dont i leave i hear you say. why should i. i love my job and i have trained hard for a position in the public sector that isnt available in the private sector.

and if you know anything about local government pensions you will know that they are the most closely regulated and ethical pension schemes out there and any worker can join with any length of service

Hey Dave - news for you. I paid for my index linked pension throughout my working life.

I work in the public sector and have paid 11% of my salary for the last 30 years for my pension. I have had a private pension expert state that he could treble my pension if I paid the same amount to him. So some public sector workers do pay for their pensions.

And Dave, I've more news for you - New labour as you call them haven't been in government for the past 2 decades. The Tories were in for a sizeable period of that.

I have worked in both private and public sector ie; NHS and having recently retired early on health grounds I can confidently state that for the majority of NHS employees the pension is far lower than if they worked in the private sector.
It is true for both sectors that the top 5% reward themselves generously at a scale far higher than the average employee in both salary and pension.

Where I live the pay for LGO's is a lot more than local salaries. In my time as a contract worker with the local council found many of the officers in place wouldn't last in commerce.

I work in the low paid public sector in IT and the equivalent private sector job carries up to 50% higher salary so I feel I've earned my pension.

From where do you get the quaint idea that public sector pay is worse than the private sector? Apart from the bankers and other fat cats, the majority of private sector workers are paid less than the public sector. They also have less favourable conditions. e.g. I bet that every single public sector worker that couldn't (or didn't want to ) make it into work this week will still be paid a full week's wages. In the real world many people will have lost pay by taking their time off unpaid, or by utilising a day of their holiday. That reminds me - private sector holidays are usually worse than those enjoyed by the public sector. How do I know? I used to work in the public sector before I grew tired of working with people, some of whom thought that they were doing the public a favour, and went to work in a more demanding job for less money but more prospect of fulfillment.

Hey Silver Saver,

Why change jobs for less money? Some might say commendable, I say in the long term financially irresponsible! Also, the public sector is much more regulated than some of the mickey mouse organisations i have worked for in the private sector. Oh and by the way, I am still in the private sector.

As a retired self employed person who has had to work well in excess of the 'standard working week' for 30 years to make a living and to also make full payments into a private pension; it makes me furious to hear of public sector workers complain that the good pension provisions is compensation for low pay rates. They don't know what hard work is in my observation and also the state contributes to their pension. They get far too high a pension at my expense - it should be stopped and NOW!!

I voted on a 'work in private sector' option as that's where my last job was (for 10 years), but have previously worked for 13 years in a government owned company (guess the pension is much like a public sector one - certainly the best preserved pension I have) and am now not working (laid off last year).....

I paid a higher percentage of my salary into the "pension pot" when I was contributing to my 'public sector' pension compared to my 'private sector' - so surely it's only fair to expect a better return on my money from there? 


It's a shame the voting isn't split according to the type(s) of pension people will get (public only, private only, both, neither) if the idea is to see how the results are 'swayed' according to what people qualify for.

Now that things aren't so good in the private sector people need something to complain about and now it's public sector pensions. What theses people have coveniently forgotten is that for many years salaries and bonuses have been far higher than for the equivalent posts in the public sector. I like many others, took this into consideration when deciding on the direction of our careers and securing a good living in retirement.

Yes they are too generous. There are very few private sector final salary schemes left and the current public sector pension arrangements show no awareness of the realities of the world we now live in. We cannot afford these final salary schemes any more! Clearly Mr Brown wants to avoid tackling this issue as the present arrangement pretty much guarantees him lots of easy votes when he finally goes to the electorate.

I'm a radiographer who has worked in the NHS for 18 years, and pay the same taxes as everyone else.

After qualifying I was earning less/hour than my student job working in a bookmakers.
In the nineties I saw fellow non NHS related graduates earn substantially more than me, get perks (car allowances, bonuses, even company paid Xmas parties!).
In the noughties we had some recognition as there was a major skills shortage, trying to keep up with the government targets but we managed to provide an adequate service. Then 3 years ago the gov't asked us to run as a business (fair enough), hence we lost a number of posts but are not allowed to make a profit to replace them.
In a couple of years time I will have to work an extra 2.5 hours a week, for no extra pay, but 3 days extra leave a year.

The private sector is providing a service for certain diagnostic examinations, however they obviously do make a profit. We do not charge GPs when their patients DNA for appointments the private sector will!

The leave is better than the private sector and the pension we'll see.

I do my job for the patients though wonder why sometimes, as I've been threatened physically and no action is taken against the patient as he was distressed. Working nights patients who also say they have paid their taxes come in for treatment and treat us like s**t, when having treatment that would cost them hundreds of pounds in the US.

It's good to know that there will be a pension that I've contributed (6%) to, but I'll also think I've done something with my life, ie helped others, not work for a company that is there just to make a profit.

It is amazing how you all have such strong opinions when the vast majority of you have not had experience in both public & private sectors. Just the typical British ability to talk & not listen on virtually all subjects.

Take my word for it, the private sector wages are higher than their public sector counterparts & equally public sector pensions are better than private.

This is well known, so you all made a career decision & must live with that decision. LIVE WITH IT!

yes the pensions are far too high. i am retired but worked in the privated sector.

I spent 37 years working in the public sector.For the first 25 years I earned considerably less than private sector employees with similar degrees.Only in the last 10 years did my salary begin to match that of equivalent private sector jobs.Also,contrary to impressions given in the media,I worked longer hours.60 hrs per week was the average,with some weeks involving 80 hrs commitment.I received no overtime.As much as anything,this was out of a wish to do my job properly(it's called public service!)
Now,I find that the fact I receive a half decent pension is a cause of resentment.
So much for recognition of trying to serve the public!

Of course they are paid to much. Why should nearly a quarter of our council taxes go towards paying staff pensions, especially in light of the poor standard of services provided. Most have become very complacent and greedy. If they want good pensions, they should pay for them themselves and not gain them off the backs of other peoples hard work.

Without taking a day off sick for the past thirteen years, I was in work all this week to manage a children's services team of social workers dealing with child protection. So, Silver Saver, save your wide of the mark criticisms of the public sector (you know, the people gritting the roads, collecting the rubbish and looking after some of the most vulnerable people in society). Oh, and yes, those that did not make it in because they live in the countryside will have to use their leave up. We have already had our pensions reviewed and now have to retire with less favourable conditions in 2008 - and now you want our pensions to be reviewed. Give us a break!

Very simple, its part of an overall rewards package. How many share schemes are on offer in local government or the nhs for example. So let's be fair, you take your choices with where you work. If you think another employer offers a better package then move, and don't grumble!

Very simple, its part of an overall rewards package. How many share schemes are on offer in local government or the nhs for example. So let's be fair, you take your choices with where you work. If you think another employer offers a better package then move, and don't grumble!

Very simple, its part of an overall rewards package. How many share schemes are on offer in local government or the nhs for example. So let's be fair, you take your choices with where you work. If you think another employer offers a better package then move, and don't grumble!

Apologies for the message in triplicate - that was the websites fault though.

I'm in the public sector and also contribute 11% of my salary for the final salary pension I have been promised for the last 19 years. If private sector workers feel they are no longer benefitting from the vast amounts of profit sharing, shares issues, christmas bonuses, benefits in kind like company car etc. then they can move to the public sector. There they will find people like me who have foregone these advantages for a modest salary, unsociable shiftwork hours, working through Christmas and New Year holidays, public holidays etc. for the carrot of a decent gauranteed pension.
It seems to me the shouts about public sector pensions have only become an issue when their previously successful equity based pensions have taken a hit due to market conditions (and Gordon Brown's tax take). Please don't blame other people for this predicament, it's not our fault you've spent the bonuses.

I agree with the above. Pensions are, or used to be, part of a package to attract and retain staff. Let’s not also forget that pensions were an investment tool for the employer from which they gleamed huge rewards from investing the money paid. Those returns, in turn, contribute to the amount the employee receives in their pension on retirement. If these pensions where not producing such huge benefits for the employer then they would not have offered such packages. These pensions are only around because at the time they were affordable and lucrative. I do not know of any employer that has not reduced or closed these deals to new employees, as they are no longer as rewarding for the employer. Also note that two of the best pensions, the police and fire and rescue service are such because of the expected early retirement age. 60 year old firemen carry people from burning buildings or chasing a thief down the street. This is why retirement is usually 55 years and is why they pay around 11% in contributions. This was way before the other sectors contributions were increased to meet any shortfall. I think 11% has been paid for the last 20 or so years while other were paying 3 of 4% in comparison.

What a surprise that public sector workers, of whom I am one, think that they deserve their gold-plated pensions. The current government having belatedly realised that a) they had helped destroy the best pension system in Europe; b) they were dramaitcally increasing the numbers of public sector employees and c) they needed to stop the final salary scheme in the same way adopted 85% of private companies. Even though this would honour the commitment made to existing employees and only affect new employees it was vehemently opposed by the unions. Why - one would ask since if the overall wage package could not attract enough public sector workers the conditions would have to improve. Cynically one would say that if final salary pensions were abolished for a pension scheme similar to that enjoyed by the private sector there would still have been an abundance of workers joining the public sector payroll. Although it was true in the past that pay rates were lower in the public sector and compensated by "sick leave" and great pensions this is no longer the case as demonstrated frequently by pay comparisons. The cost of a growing public sector will cause an even greater financial catastrophe that the one currently experienced. This thorny issue needs addressing as soon as possible. Hopefully a change of government will address the not only the pensions but also the numbers of public sector workers.

Oh well! I didn't choose to work in the health service because of the pay ( obviously!) However the fact that my peers with similar level of qualifications who entered the private sector lived in much nicer houses, went on better holidays, actually got bonuses at Christmas, got company cars etc sometimes made me feel, well slightly miffed. I work just as hard as them ( inasmuch as I could judge this). At these times the thought of probably better job security and a reasonable pension seemed a bit of compensation. Now all this bitterness and you want to take this away too! I'd call this a lose, lose situation wouldn't you? Well if you want people in the health service to lose the only marginal benefit they have then you shall reap the reward in vacant posts or in the quality of your treatment. Go ahead, makes sense doesn't it? I'm off to work in private practice and leave my colleagues to struggle. Oh and don't complain when you're faced with a longer waiting list in my speciality.

No, public sector workers work just as hard as those in the private sector. Why doesn't the private sector bring their pensions up in line with those in the public sector. After all we all work hard all our lives and deserve a comfortable retirement.

I work in the Public sector after some 30 years in the private sector and those who claim the Public sector is NOT a cosseted, comfortable and well paid sector don;t know what they are talking about. They should try a private sector job - no final salary pension, paid by results and REAL performance targets not the soft pseudo performance measures imposed by this government. Where are the job cuts in the public sector or the pension deficits!!!!! They will come eventually when the public sector gravy train dries up - because the private sector will no longer be able to afford the vast sums involved in keeping the bloated UK public sector.

I have worked for the local authority for the last 20 yrs and I currently pay £150 a month towards my pension pot add to that my lump sum has been cut from £48000 down to £18000 when I retire, please explain to me how I am better off?

This response is so lacking in informed opinion it repreesents prejudice rather than any factually based view.
Quite simply,it depends upon what type of job you do,whatever the sector-private or public.Every piece of research I have read demonstrates that,relative to responsibility,public sector salaries are lower than private.You don't find many private sector empoyees transferring to public sector jobs and increasing their salaries!
I accept that a public sector manager will be paid more than a private sector shop assistant-and quite right too.There are considerably more shop assistants than public sector employees,therefore average salary comparisons will always be distorted.
As for the need the for public sector employees to join "the real world",does this real world include the "jobs worth" private sector employees who find it hard to even bother serving me,let alone with a smile?Does it include the private sector "efficiency" that is able to sell me a brand new caravan with 13 serious faults,including four dangerous structural ones?Or the garage that serviced my car without changing the oil?
I could go on.The trouble is this whole private v. public sector argument is stoked by journalists who
a) have never worked in the public sector.
b) receive salaries that mean they are able to avoid any meaningful contact with the public sector.
c) need to find a story;which means reporting on failure.Succesful public sector initiatives/outcomes are not "stories."

Wonderfull thing , a public sector job and pension. I worked/ endured with the public sector for 41 years and retired last year on an actuarly reduced pension. I never felt i sacrificed salary for a pension being underworked and rarely stretched over that time.
It was easy. Just keep in with the right crowd and you`ll enjoy a happy job with a bright outlook of an index linked pension. My calculations are that the money i lost taking my pension early will soon be recouped given the index linking i have each year.
Everyone should endeavour to be a public servant. Better still, become and MP . Not only will you get a similar pension deal (better), you`ll get all the additional perks like, free travel, mortgage paid on your "second" home and the odd directorship. If you really play your cards right, you might even get the benefits afforded by The Lords!
My wife retired one month after me on a local authority pension.
The futures bright. the future`s......Just Do It!

Local Government pensions were created by an Act of Parliament and can only be changed by Act of Parliament. They are fully funded and neither Councils nor employees can change the regulations governing these funds, the contributions to or the payments from the funds. Both employees and employers [Councils] contribute to this fund equally, 6% for staff and 5% for manual workers, throughout the employees working life. The funds are valued every five years by actuaries. The pensions are paid from the funds and not out of council tax.

I work in the public sector, local government.
I recently worked out that over the past 4 years I have worked over 10 days withouth additional pay that is over 78 hours. How many private sector workers will do that. In addition through job evaluation I lost salary but still had to do the same work.
Now subject to redundnacy the same as private sector, do not recieve the benefit of private medical insurance, cars, christmas parties, bonuses etc etc. the only saving grace is my pension and I have paid into it over 24 years.
there are some private companies that also pay into pension schemes for their staff.
Like some other writers you make your choices early in life.
Leave us poor local governement workers alone.

You don't sound fulfilled to me.Infact you sound quite bitter..

Many of these comments are not based on fact. The civil service pay is low, as it reflects the good pensions provision - you need to look at the overall pay package, not pensions in isolation.
The Armed Forces, for example have their pay set against job evaluations with the private sector. Comparison wages from November are used to set the pay levels for the following April (a 6 month delay in like for like!). The pay level is then reduced by 9% to take the pension scheme value into account.
When I left the Services after 37 years, my pension would have been significantly higher if the 9% contributions had been placed into a SIPP and I had been paid the full equivalent wage.

And so as the chickens of financial mismanagement come home to roost, as it becomes clear that the 'filthy rich' have bilked the rest of us whilst sneakily moving their ill-gotten gains into off-shore tax havens with government blessing - the co-ordinated campaign in the media to set workers against each other over the issue of pension provision begins....

Surely it must be clear to anyone with a modicum of sense that eroding pension rights for yet more workers is not the way to improve the lot of ordinary people in this country. Rather we should be ensuring that corporations and the super-rich pay their fair share of tax, that the robber barons of private equity are prevented from enriching themselves any further at our expense and that we restore some sanity and fairness to the distribution of rewards amongst workers in the private sector (where the gap between the pay and pension provision of the top few vs the rest has widened mightily in the last 25 yrs).

The pension provisions for road sweepers, teachers and Meals on Wheels ladies are not a genuine problem, and to focus on this is to detract from the real discussion that ought to be had.

There are a lot of different schemes within the public sector.None are as generous as the most generous in the private sector, for the equivalent worker.Most newspapers dont go into the detail but often misrepresent the facts.

There are a lot of different schemes within the public sector.None are as generous as the most generous in the private sector, for the equivalent worker.Most newspapers dont go into the detail but often misrepresent the facts.