This is interesting I think:
Barber also states that we want people to \”believe that public sector wages have overtaken those in the private sector\”. He then rather bizarrely states that they have. Public sector hourly wages overtook the private sector in 1984 and have been higher every year since. He fails to mention, however, that the premium has grown dramatically in recent years, from only 16% in 2001 to almost 30% in 2009.
He puts this down to the fact that a higher proportion of skilled and professional workers are in the public sector, which they are.
It\’s that \”skilled and professional workers\” bit that\’s interesting.
For there\’s been a very strong push over the decades to insist that varied groups of public sector workers must have certain qualifications.
Sure, we\’d all rather like doctors to actually have qualifed as doctors. But it\’s only recently that all nurses in training need to be in degree course rather than the more practical ones that prevailed well into my adult lifetime.
Teachers need not only a degree but also a post graduate qualification: when in fact what they might actually need is the degree and some teaching practice.
A great deal of social work is observation and some social nous, common sense even, yet most of the Guardian\’s job ads require a BA if not an MA.
We can see another nascent campaign to professionalise an entire sector with the shouts about \”high quality child care\” which always seem to come attatched to the observation that everyone in Finland who works with children has a Masters degree.
So, to some extent, the presence of more \”professionals\” in the public sector is because there\’s been a long running campaign to define as \”professions\”, requiring professional qualifications, the things that are done in the public sector.