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Government employee salaries and salaries for public sector positions generally are published because taxpayers pay public employees' wages. Therefore, whether you're looking for government employee salaries to explore a career in public service or you're simply curious about how public sector wages compare to private sector earnings, information about government employee salaries is easily accessible.
Decide what you're looking for -- typical government salaries, federal, state or local government agency pay or an individual government employee's salary. This determines the resources you need to access salary information.
Research mandated government salaries using online resources such as the federal government's job website to find salaries according to position and location. The federal government career website is USAJobs.gov. There are several commercial websites for government jobs; however, USAJobs.gov is the only site supported by the federal government that contains official, accurate and up-to-date information about job vacancies and salaries. You can access typical salaries just by conducting a search by federal government agency, job title, pay grade or salary range.
Review commercial, government and public interest websites such as Legistorm.com and the Congressional Research Service for information about elected officials' pay. They also are federal government employees and their salaries are a matter of public record. In 2011, U.S. Congressional salaries were $174,000 annually. Members in leadership roles such as Speaker of the House and Majority and Minority leaders were earned annually salaries of $223,500 and $193,400, respectively.
Access the U.S. Office of Personnel Management website for General Schedule and Senior Executive Service salaries for federal government positions. OPM publishes annual salary tables for GS and SES positions. GS positions are staff and management positions designated by grades and steps, such as GS-12, Step 9. According to OPM 2012 Salary Table, a federal government employee at GS-12, Step 9 earns $76,346 annually. Senior Executive Service positions are high-level leadership positions in the federal government system. According to the OPM salary table for Administrative Law Judges -- classified as Senior Executive Series personnel -- 2012 salaries ranged from $103,900 to $155,500.
Read state government public records legislation -- referred to as Sunshine Act laws in some jurisdictions. Public employees' salaries are subject to disclosure based on open records acts that make public sector wages available for public inspection. Many states publish salaries according to employee name, job title or position. For example, the Missouri Accountability Portal has search capabilities according to employee name, state government agency and job title.
- USAJobs: Advanced Search
- Legistorm: About member of Congress Salaries
- Conressional Research Service: Congressional Salaries and Allowances
- U.S. Office of Personnel Management: 2012 General Schedule (GS) Locality Pay Tables
- U.S. Office of Personnel Management: Salary Table No. 2012-ALJ
- Missouri Accountability Portal: Employees
Ruth Mayhew has been writing since the mid-1980s, and she has been an HR subject matter expert since 1995. Her work appears in "The Multi-Generational Workforce in the Health Care Industry," and she has been cited in numerous publications, including journals and textbooks that focus on human resources management practices. She holds a Master of Arts in sociology from the University of Missouri-Kansas City. In addition, she earned both the SHRM-Senior Certified Professional (SHRM-SCP), through the Society for Human Resource Management, and certification as a Senior Professional Human Resources (SPHR) through the Human Resources Certification Institute. Ruth also is certified as a facilitator for the Center for Creative Leadership Benchmarks 360 Assessment Suite, and is a Logical Operations Modern Classroom Certified Trainer. Ruth resides in North Carolina and works from her office in the nation's capital, Washington, D.C. <!--StartFragment--><!--EndFragment-->
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