Public sector now paying better than private firms, says SRC

Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC) Chairperson Lyn Mengich. PHOTO | DIANA NGILA | NMG

The Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC) says the public sector is now paying better than private companies, attributing this to high retention rate of civil servants.

SRC chair Lyn Mengich said the retention rate in the sector remains at 95 percent and that only 1 percent public sector employees are lost to the private sector. The remaining four percent, she explained just move across government departments and agencies.

“You will hear people saying the public sector doesn't pay very well. I want to tell you that it is not the case. Studies we have carried suggest the opposite," Ms Mengich said but did not share the report.

Wage bill

"In terms of attraction and retention, the public sector still remains the employer of choice. The public sector is able to attract and retain the skills required to deliver in the public service,” she said.

By 2020, there were approximately 885,000 public servants, including those in the civil service, teachers, parastatal workers and those working for companies majority-owned by the State.

The number pushed the wage bill by the close of the financial year 2018/2019, to an estimated Sh795 billion. The current wage bill stands at Sh930 billion, according to Ms Mengich, mainly because of salaries and allowances as well as pension liability, as more employees retire from the civil service and life expectancy increases.

The public service has over the years overtaken the private sector as the employer of choice due to hefty salaries and allowances offered by the government. But as government employees earn good perks, the SRC is planning to abolish some facilitative and remunerative allowances by October.

Public funds wastage

Ms Mengich said some allowances are duplicated while others are the same but named differently, and the aim of the commission after the study, is to merge some and abolish others, which creates room for wastage of public funds.

“Our aim is ensure that we emphasize more on the job being done and less of circumstances that create some of these allowances,” she said.

She further said the SRC has acquired a job evaluation tool and will no longer rely on consultants to do job assessments. Ms Mengich said the commission evaluated more than 35,000 jobs last year while the previous commission had analysed about 55,000 jobs.

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