This report from the city comptroller says, on average, the public sector doesn’t pay as well as the private sector.
I’m going through the report now, but two passages caught my attention.
The most highly-educated, highly-paid workers in City government earn relatively less than they do in the private sector, and workers at the lower end of the pay scale earn more. In fact, the pattern seems to be even more exaggerated in the city than it is nationally. For example, lawyers in city employment earn only 40 percent, on average, of what their for-profit counterparts earn. Accountants and auditors in city government earn about 52 percent as much as their privatesector counterparts, and computer programmers earn 73 percent as much. Conversely, carpenters in New York City government earn 46 percent more than their for-profit peers, and bus and truck mechanics earn 30 percent more.
It does not necessarily follow, however, that because private firms are shifting toward defined contribution plans, government agencies should as well.
[W]ith respect to employee contributions, many active City civilian workers are treated more favorably than their equivalents in large corporate [defined contribution] plans.