On higher qualifications in the public sector

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.

8 thoughts on “On higher qualifications in the public sector”

  1. “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.”

    … and no common sense.

  2. The left do need to have some reason for all the students they’ve pushed through university. The magical figure of 100% of students going to university that they seem to be striving for. All so that they can say they have a fairer system where everyone has the same qualifications.

  3. Paper qualifications can be used to cover two weaknesses:
    1 – The person applying for a job is unable to demonstrate they can do it;
    2 – the interviewer of such a person has no idea what the job actually entails, and no idea how to check if interviewees can actually do it.

    Papers in order and accepted, the quality of performance may now inexplicably(?) deteriorate.

  4. Kaytie,

    You’ll notice it’s BA and MA, Not an Sc in sight.

    This is for people in a profession one would hope could interpret statistics and be able to deduce trends and spot real correlations not just coincidences.

  5. Well in my case (Education) it is a BA (Hons),MSc, QTS (Qualified Teacher Status) and the patience of a saint! It’s bad enough giving “Dick and Jane” explanations to Headteachers and the like but I’ve given up trying to explain the “General Linear Models” I have enough trouble getting them to “Just put it in the WHITE BOX on the Screen”. Salary wise, I take home what I earned 10 years ago but at least I have a decent office that most of the management don’t know where it is! Means I can get some meaningful work done without being interrupted by DFQ’s (Damn Fool Questions).
    TTFN 🙂
    (Sorry for rabbiting by the way)

  6. You forgot to mention that average pay in the public sector has risen because most of the low paid jobs were contracted out!!! Obviously that then lowers the average pay in the private sector.

    So most unskilled jobs are now in the private sector.

    That’s the problem with statistics – you need to be careful to compare like with like.

    I just thought I’d point this out for balance.

  7. Oh, and on the subject of comparing like with like – who gets paid more:

    a public finance accountant or a chartered accountant?

    A government lawyer or a defence lawyer? I won’t even mention corporate lawyers or libel lawyers.

    An NHS doctor or a doctor in Harley Street?

    A state school teacher or a teacher in a private school?

    An NHS dentist (if you can find one) or a private dentist? Oh, and 1/6 of the latter apparently earn over £250k now.

    And that’s just for starters 🙂

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