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Compare jobs on equal terms

Sir -- The comment by Daniel McConnell that public sector workers are "paid more than their counterparts in the private sector" (Sunday Independent, April 17, 2011) is misleading.

It implies that this is the finding of a job-by-job comparison of the two groups.

The only independent review which examined and compared public and private sector jobs on a like-for-like basis was the 2008 benchmarking report, which found that "there is little or no public-service premium, if comparison is made with private-sector employees in large establishments" which the report notes "accounts for a significant majority of public-sector workers".

Comparisons made on average salaries are virtually meaningless as they do not take into account the fundamental differences between the two groups.

Engineers working in the private sector are paid more than school caretakers, but is this a reason to conclude that the engineers are overpaid?

It is interesting that large percentages are thrown about when comparing public and private sector wages without acknowledging the differences in job descriptions and qualifications between the two groups.

Kevin P McCarthy,

Killarney, Co Kerry

Sunday Independent