How Does Your Salary Compare to the Private Sector?

Who earns more overall – federal workers or private sector employees? While the debate is one that will likely never be resolved, there are some interesting statistics that have been published on the subject. This infographic neatly and concisely compiles some of the key data points on federal salaries.

Who is paid more on average – federal employees or private sector workers? It’s a debate that has gone on for years that is not likely to be settled anytime soon.

While the answer to this question depends largely on who you ask, there have been some interesting statistics published on the subject. The Congressional Budget Office, for example, published a study in 2012 which showed that average pay for federal employees as compared to private sector workers varies across different areas, such as level of education. Federal workers who had a high school diploma earned more than private sector workers with the same level of education while federal employees with a professional degree or doctorate were generally underpaid relative to their private sector counterparts.

This infographic from Face the Facts USA does a nice job of compiling some of the data surrounding the federal pay debate, highlighting key areas such as the breakout of pay differences across education levels.

So who ultimately comes out ahead on salary overall? That remains for you to decide.

About the Author

Ian Smith is one of the co-founders of He has over 20 years of combined experience in media and government services, having worked at two government contracting firms and an online news and web development company prior to his current role at FedSmith.