Government says it has "no problem" attracting workers into public service

Makes case that public service pay remains very attractive in the main...

The Government has stated that public service pay generally remains very attractive and that there is "no problem" recruiting new entrants.

The Department of Public Expenditure and Reform has also indicated that top-level specialist positions are the areas of the public service most in need of pay rise, in a confidential submission to the Public Service Pay Commission seen by the Irish Times.

It has argued that its continued ability to recruit new workers and the rising number of public servants is evidence that entry-level pay, including overtime and allowances, is "competitive in the wider labour market".

However, it found that the current pay for senior personnel in human resources, information technology and finance is a "real disincentive" to attracting experienced people from the private sector.

The new commission is examining the pay levels for all 300,000 State employees in the country, including gardaí, teachers and civil servants. The Government wants the Pay Commission to take into account the increasing value of the public service pension when making its recommendation on State pay for next year, with the Irish Times reporting that Government representatives stressed this point with the commission on Monday.

The submission states:

“In 2015, the Public Appointment Service managed the recruitment process for a number of specialist roles primarily in HR, IT and finance at a senior level in Government departments and the broader Civil Service.

"Feedback from their executive search function suggests that candidates have been very interested in these roles, particularly given the opportunity to make a difference at a senior level in large-scale organisations, such as Government departments. However, the challenge has been that the remuneration (salary and benefits) the candidates currently earn is at least 30% higher than that on offer in the Civil Service.”

The submission comes at a time when public service unions are calling for better pay, following the gardaí securing a €50 million deal earlier this month. The Department of Public Expenditure will make a more detailed submission on pensions to the commission in early 2017.