Who's getting the worst pension deal - private or public sector workers?

Private sector workers
77% (44 votes)
Public sector workers
23% (13 votes)
Total votes: 57

Your Comments

Swings and roundabouts, depending on the economy.

During the boom years, public sector do less well, but at least there is certainty in the lean years. You could think of it like a fixed rate mortgage - predictable and certain, but when interest rates are low, you lose out. All those people in the private sector moaning now have forgotten that they have made huge gains on their pensions in the good years - and probably will again, provided they are not about to retire immediately.

Same goes for pay, as well - we aren't paid anything like as much as the private sector and bonuses are a thing of our dreams, but we did get a 2½% pay rise this year, following several years of approx. 3% - not exciting, but steady...

On the other hand, cuts and reorganisations are regular and savage and the concept of a job for life is a distant memory in local authorities. Nor is there any such thing as "promotion" (at least in theory) - in order to get a pay rise, other than an annual increment, you have to change jobs to a more highly graded one, usually under competitive open interview conditions. I've had three different posts in less than three years and I really ought to be moving on again.... Does absolutely nothing for any kind of stability/staff retention.

I agree with the comments above

Nobody seems to remember when the Public Sector had to tighten their belts with 2% or less for years , while the Private Sector had carte blanche as long as they hid behind productivity.

What about all the Private Sector workers that retired in the 90's at 55yrs of age with very large lump sums and pensions ( made up to as if they had retired at 65 ) ?

The pension in the public sector has always been factored into to any pay negotiations, with the result that pay always lagged behind that in the private sector. So what the government spends on pensions it saves on pay.

In fact Civil Service pensions have changed in July 2007 from "final salary" to "career average" and there are other changes including changes to redundancy payments coming in.

Private sector workers seem to forget that public sector workers have their salaries 'docked' for their pensions every month. Having worked in the public sector for 40 years, working at 'my vocation!' and NEVER getting a bonus, I consider that my pension has been paid for - by me.
It would have been nice to have had the money when I was younger to enable me to have, say, a larger house, or I could have opted to put the 7% of my monthly salary into a private pension fund

Makes me laugh this bashing the Public Service Pensions - and no, I do not have a Public Pension to look forward to.

The Public Service do not get Bonuses, High Wages, Company Cars, BUPA and other 'Perks' .... their 'Perk' is their Pension! It should be left well alone - they have earned it and deserve it.

The Private Sector have done really well over the past large number of years, to gripe now at those who have suffered low pay is not on.

I don't know where MrRee thinks that all private sector workers enjoy bonuses, high wages,Company Cars, BUPA, other perks etc, the majority of private sector workers are manual workers on incomes of less than £25,000.

I have retired on a final salary pension which is considered to be one of the best, however it is nowhere near my neighbours who has received a 5% rise this year and is funded by taxpayers, he was a Teacher.

Private sector pension funds have to EARN their income unlike those of the Public sector, however I would say that the Maual work public sector workers will not earn a high salary and large pension, unlike the bosses, but thats the same in the private anyway.

It is time to CAP public sector pensions, especially when some are reputed be in excess of £50,000 per annum, the bosses again who have enjoyed high salaries to boot.

I agree with the comments on Public Sector Pensions and pay - the lower paid members of Public sector staffs' only benefit is their pension. They don't get large pay rises or bonuses, they don't get private health care. So why be so down on them. Over the past 6 or so years local government have had to show 2% savings year on year this effects the moral of staff, yet the services still have to be provided, the Private Sector has all the perks and when times get hard they blame the public sector - even though the bankers were the ones who have caused all the problems. Private sector staff would not be willing to work the hours that public sector staff do without additional pay, or benefits.

I work in the private sector and I don't get big bonuses, company cars or BUPA healthcare... and pretty soon I probably won't have a half decent pension anymore either.

Private sector does not just equal banks and financial institutions - it includes people working in lots of other sectors who don't have high salaries, bonuses or other 'perks'...

To the three public sector flag wavers above I say this: If the public sector was run as most companies are, with people actually having to contribute to the bottom line (ie. making money so they can be paid) then they can start whining about private sector workers.

I worked in the public sector for 5 years until I thankfully got out. I worked with some very good people but many others were lazy, inefficient, constantly taking sick days and constantly whining about how the private sector were 'so much better paid' but not doing anything about it? Why? Because most public sector jobs are a nice easy comfy ride until you retire on a fat pension at 55 or somesuch. Who are your clients? The public - and they don't really count as you get paid however bad you are at your job.

You don't have to hit targets, you don't have to compete against other companies for business, you don't have to every day prove your worth otherwise the writing is on the wall, you don't have to stay late and work weekends to meet a deadline - deadline?? Whats that I hear you cry!! '9 to 5' largely does not exist in the private sector. In the public domain its adhered to rigidly.

A mate of mine worked in a quango for 6 years on a healthy £40k plus salary and he wasn't that high up. Then he was offered a new position he didn't really want or redundancy - and a £60K cheque which he gladly accepted and got a new private sector job within a few weeks.

Another mate just got laid off from Halifax after 20 years. Redundancy? - two months pay and a pot plant!!

Private and poor

Yes I have to agree with every word of Private and Proud and add one more significant difference, between the public and pivate pension contributor. This difference will ultimately lead to the promised social unrest,

Since the 1990's the government has helped itself  to the tax on dividends which private pensions rely on. The result for myself and millions of other private pension holders, is that our pensions, (mine in place for more than 30 years) can do no more than hold their place in inflation. Result. I should be able to retire in average comfort, when I am 85, even though I will have paid (with some employer contributions) continuously since age 23. Had the government not decided to take 5billion per year from private pensions, then in my case, retirement in comfort would have been nearer to 70. What really galls me as that  an increasing amount of tax I pay will be needed to secure all the public pensions who are still guaranteed. By taking from the private sector in this way, they will be pushing people who have worked continuously all their lives and paid tax for everyone of those years, into poverty in retirement, supported (yes again) by the tax payer. 

I work in the Public Sector and have done for 20 years and one of the things that attracted me was the pension scheme, because at the end of the day, it gives me an element of certainty about what my pension will be without the pitfalls of how stock markets perform.

If stock markets perform well for a sustained period of time this might mean that I would be worse off in retirement.

Jobs within the Private and Public Sector are open to all to apply, so if you work in the private sector and the only thing you are interested in is a public sector pension apply for a job.

 In the 1950s I went into National Service with the RAMC after six months of study I earned very good qualifications, as a result I was posted to the war office in London as a PA to a Major and I thoroughly enjoyed the work. I was also working alongside a majority of Civil Servants and some were extremely dedicated to their work, however, the majority appeared not to have much work to do and were constantly griping about their pay and promotion prospects whilst those of us in military uniform were,by contrast, holding very important jobs. My everlasting impression of this example of the Public Sector is therefore, not very good. Most departments appeared very much over staffed and teatimes were the highlight of their day. 

Very few people working in the Private Sector are over staffed, everyone has to prove their worth to there employers and the vast majority do not have company pension schemes but have to make provision for their own. 


Some important points from the above comments have not been raised.

Over the passed several years many companies including the Ex' Utilities have stopped Final Salary Pensions (FSP). Some employees were able to move their FSPs from the old employer to the new one in most cases this is no longer available. Most companies required similar employee contributions to that of the public sector. There is no job security, guaranteed pay rises nor a full weeks pay in the private sector. Times can be good in an healthy economy, but when times are bad they are really bad, 2.7 million unemployed will confirm that!

I have many past and present friends in the public sector who were and are hard working people . My only comment would be that their jobs ARE more secure than those on the 'outside'

You only have to look at the comments made in the poll that 90% are from public sector workers. This is because there is a strong myth, mainly given by national newspapers, that public sector workers sit in ivory towers in Whitehall, dressed in their pinstripe suits, earning vasts amount of money, retireing early with a huge non contributary pension.

The facts are that many of the public sector workers earn less than £17K a year. Many have had to fight for an increase in pay as they were being paid below the minimum wage. The majority of public sector workers are made up of low paid women.

I, as a public sector worker earn £20K a year. I have 28 yrs service in. My pay has been frozen for the next 2 years. This leaves me with the dilema whereby after years of loyal service and being 55 years old next. My pension is not increasing, as my pay does not increase and i would still say the pension is small and not huge as it is imaginged by all the newspapers and all the readers of those newspaers. Please back off public sector workers, they do not deserve the bad press given.

It is the oldest trick in the book for the rich and right wing commentators in the media to try and divide private sector and public sector workers. Setting one group of low paid workers against another is a great way of diverting attention from the real issues affecting the economy. Basically the current system has failed. We need to rebuild a high quality manufacturing sector and reduce our dependence on the volatile financial sector. We need to reduce wage and pension inequality so that we feel we are all working to benefit the country as a whole, not just enriching a few at the top.

I used to work in the public sector, but I now work for a large supermarket chain. My private sector pension will be much worse because the company abandoned its final salary pension scheme - despite the fact that it makes millions of £s in profits, which are increasing year on year.

I don't agree that low paid public sector workers should have their pensions cut, just because some greedy employers in the private sector are cutting the pensions of their low paid workers to increase their personal bonuses and short term profits. It is in the long term interest of the economy that all workers are part of a properly regulated final salary scheme to which both employers and employees contribute. If we don't do this there is going to be a massive strain on the benefits and tax system in years to come, which will hurt everyone.

The money from final salary schemes goes back into the economy anyway, as OAPs will use their pensions to buy goods and services from the private and public sectors. Don't believe the right-wing propaganda - its just a way of attacking the low paid in the public and private sector, so that the rich can make a quick buck in the short term.

I do not think there is anything to be gained by this type of survey which only serves to alienate public sector workers from the rest of society.

I wish all public sector workers already in retirement and those approaching retirement age a long and happy retirement.

To public sector workers still in employment who feel they have the right to use their industrial muscle to claim unfair pensions which will make private sector workers work even more years to pay the cost thereof, then shame on you.

What about the public sector workers in let's say...The NHS... Let's add...Frontline staff...Nurse, as an example??!

Nurses are poorly paid in this country for the job they do and I'm sorry to burst a certain persons bubble but they are not lazy! Far from it. All the NHS can provide them with of any benefit whatsoever (unless you're in management ofcourse) is a decent pension, which is obviously being called into question.

Next time you selfish people rant on about how hard done by you are... Think of the people that save your lives!

As a point of interest during the General Election campaign all three of the major parties undertook to protect existing accrued rights for public sector pensions. Osbourne in his first budget blew that right out of the water! He is upgrading public sector pensions by the CPI and not RPI. There is only 3% difference at the moment. Over the last ten years it would have been 8%. Oh and he is planning to upgrade all benefits and pensions by CPI in future. The personal allowance for pensioners is also not being upgraded. Possibly because it is going to disappear to increase the tax take.

Interesting thought, isn't it?

The public sector has to take the pain as well as the private.
When Gordon Brown raided the private sector pensions I don't remember the public sector complaining saying this was unfair. That cost me £1500 a year in lost pension, every year for the rest of my life, for no fault of mine (an I had had to contribute all my working life) but 'for the good of all' so they say.
So stop winging and accept that the country cant afford to pay the high pensions and take the pain as I have had to do (or give me back my lost money) and take a cut 'for the good of all'.