Public sector IT staff get bigger pay rises

A survey also points to benefits widely available in the public sector that many private sector workers can only dream about

IT workers in local authorities are getting better salary increases and a wider range of benefits than their counterparts in the private sector.

Average salaries have increased by 5 percent on last year, according to an annual survey commissioned by local government user group Socitm and based on responses from 88 local authorities, around a third of the total.

This is just up on last year's salary increase of 4.8 percent, and ahead of private sector rises which also stood at 4.8 percent.

IT staff working in fire services have received the greatest increase (6.7 percent) while, at a regional level, staff at local authorities in Wales have benefited the most with an average increase also of 6.7 percent.

At the opposite end of the scale, techies at district councils (3.8 percent) and local authorities in the southeast (4.5 percent) have received the lowest average increases.

Recruitment problems have also increased this year, with 51 percent of authorities finding it hard to get staff, up from 31 per cent last year. But the average resignation rate of 2.2 percent (down from 3.6 percent in 2005) compares well with the average of 6.2 percent for the private sector.

The report said fringe benefits and more flexible ways of working are important for authorities unable to compete with the private sector on salaries alone.

Flexible working hours are offered by 99 percent of authorities; 76 percent allow selected staff to work from home; and 92 percent offer job sharing. The report said it is probable that the continued availability of final salary pensions is also a key benefit to local authority staff.

Andy Roberts, chair of Socitm's member services group said in a statement: "As in past surveys it is clear that whilst local authorities may not always offer the highest available salaries, the overall package of benefits is generally very attractive. Local government remains a good place for ICT professionals to develop their careers."