PRESS ASSOCIATION - The gap in average earnings between employees in the private and public sectors has widened, with state workers paid nearly 8% more last April, figures show.
Public sector employees were paid on average 7.8% more than their counterparts in the private sector in April 2010, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said.
In contrast, the pay difference between the two sectors was estimated at 5.3% in 2007.
The findings come just days after hundreds of thousands of teachers, lecturers, civil servants and other workers walked out in protest at changes to their pensions.
The ONS said there was a higher proportion of higher-skilled jobs in the public sector, and the gap had widened over the past decade as lower-skilled jobs had been outsourced to the private sector.
Another factor behind the difference is that the state sector contains a higher proportion of older employees, whose earnings have increased over time.
Furthermore, more people in the public sector have a degree. In 2010, some 38% of workers had a degree or equivalent qualification in the public sector, compared with 23% in the private sector.
But when employees with a degree are compared, those in the public sector earned around 5.7% less than those in the private sector, figures showed.
The gap between the top 5 of earners is greater in the private sector than the public sector, the ONS said.
The analysis, drawn from two pieces of research about pay and the UK workforce, does not include other forms of remuneration, such as pension contributions, company cars and health insurance. Moreover, the timing of the research meant that payments made in the normal bonus season of January to March were not taken into account.
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