pay research report

PCS commissioned Dr Mark Williams of the University of Surrey to write a report on civil service pay trends from 2007 to 2016.

The research which used Office for National Statistics data, shows that from 2010 to 2016 average civil service pay fell by between 8 and 9% in real terms, a larger fall than the rest of the public sector and the wider economy.

The 1% civil service pay cap, the removal of salary progression, increased pension scheme and National Insurance contributions – these have all combined to create a perfect storm.

With inflation projected by the Office of Budget Responsibility to rise and the government’s 1% public sector pay cap due to continue until at least 2020, our members face an unprecedented squeeze in the real value of their earnings.

Dr Williams said of his findings: “Wage growth in Britain is now at its lowest point since the 1920s. Out of the OECD countries, Britain now stands in a group of countries with the likes of Greece and the Czech Republic with respect to wage growth.

"Against this backdrop, my analysis of the latest ONS data for PCS showed that erosion in real pay has been particularly severe for the Civil Service. Civil Service pay has declined by 8-9% in real terms since 2010, while in the rest of the public sector it declined by 3-4%, and the rest of the economy by 7-8%.

"The magnitude of pay erosion in the civil service is even starker when the numbers are broken down by grade. Between 2010 and 2016, grades 6 and 7 experienced a cumulative loss in real earnings of around £20,000, while for senior and higher EOs the cumulative loss was around £13,000. Executive Officers experienced a cumulative loss of around £12,000, while for Administrative Officers and Assistants it was around £3,500.

"If the RPI is used to adjust for the rising cost of living instead of the government’s preferred measure, the CPI, the erosion in real earnings is even more substantial.

"Overall, the research quite clearly demonstrates that civil servants across all grades and departments have suffered a very tangible drop in their living standards since 2010.”

Download and read the full report.

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