June 16, 2010

Is it any wonder why, "If you can't beat 'em, join 'em" is so appealing?

Marc Comtois

To paraphrase, "Government acres is the place to be, government jobs are the life you see...":

Under the Obama administration, the government is doing such a good job that it's decided to reward itself. Last year, Uncle Sam paid out $408 million in bonuses to 1.3 million federal workers...That $408 million figure only counts bonuses that were handed out to about 65 percent of the federal work force. The FOI request didn't cover awards handed out by the Defense and Treasury departments, security agencies, the White House, Congress and various other federal agencies and commissions. In 2008, the last year information was available, the Department of Defense alone handed out $92 million in bonuses to its 687,000 employees.

Federal bonuses are being doled out liberally, even as federal salaries are exploding. From December 2007 through June 2009, the number of federal workers earning six figures increased from 14 to 19 percent. In 2008, average federal compensation, including pay and benefits, was $119,982 -- considerably more than the $59,909 average in the private sector, according to the Commerce Department's Bureau of Economic Analysis. In the midst of a brutal economic downturn that saw millions of jobs lost and unemployment soar above 10 percent, the Office of Personnel Management data shows the federal workforce actually added nearly 100,000 jobs from December 2008 to December 2009.

Bonuses for good performance are nice in theory, and in they work in private sector, when they are paired with consequences (you know, getting fired) if you don't perform. As the article points out, though, in government, it's "all carrot and no stick."

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>In 2008, average federal compensation, including pay and benefits, was $119,982 -- considerably more than the $59,909 average in the private sector

Is that a misleading stat? Does the federal government employ legions of dishwashers, convenience store clerks and wal-mart greeters?

In simpler words, are Federal Employees by definition better educated than the so-called private sector?

I assume we could compare the pay on Wall Street or among doctors or lawyers or anything else...with the private sector....with known results. But whether that is a valid comparison is another story.

Posted by: Stuart at June 16, 2010 12:52 PM

Where do I sign up?

Posted by: Patrick at June 16, 2010 1:05 PM

Patrick: USAJOBS.com

They are on a massive federal hiring spree at the moment. I've gotten 5 different federal job offers in the past 3 months.

Most federal agencies now have substantial loan forgiveness programs as well.

Posted by: Dan at June 16, 2010 2:31 PM

My niece got a job at the GSA - they are fixing up every Federal building in the country to use less energy.....pretty big program, but will save more than it costs (as Dan always tells us he does).

My son says he is tempted....after hearing about her job. It's a heck of a deal, when most other choices these days means getting abused by your employer for next to nothing.

Posted by: Stuart at June 16, 2010 8:16 PM
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