Public Service Costs - The Elephant in the Room


Jxbr - I assume you get the 45% from 10,735 COs vs. 23,740 total.

These figures are from late 2009. A lot of higher grades left since under cost neutral early retirement. Howlin’s 53% figure may be the current correct figure.

I agree that he shouldn’t say COs are eanring an average 22K, I can’t see how they are as that’s the starting point (plus starting points are 10% lower for all NEW civil and public servants going forward).

But it may be sloppy journalism, not quoting him verbatim. The mean for a CO would be a high 20K I reckon.


Can anybody tell me public sector wage bill for 2011 and how it compares to 2000 or so? Maybe for bonus points how that compares to the social welfare bill.


Exchequer sector Pay & Pensions:

It’s only Jan 30. Not a hope of the true 2011 figure for ages but maybe an estimate somwhere.

2010 Public sector Pay & Pensions bill was 17.3bn Net … al0510.pdf

Social Protection:

2011 Estimate 14.2 bn. 2010 figure 13.2 bn … nglish.pdf


I got some different numbers:

2010 Welfare

2010 is the last year for which full actual social welfare spending data is available. … stats.aspx … 0stats.pdf

Total social welfare expenditure 20,848,230,000

2010 Public Sector wages

402,100 employed by 910.8 Public Service Average Weekly Salary x 52 = €19,044,099,360 - see … language=0

The Department of Finance differ in what they call the Public Service and the Public Sector. Shortly after going on the hair-splitting course, they then went on a team-building balancing-angels-on-the-head-of-a-pin-counting weekend.

And for comparison:

Net tax receipts for 2010 - 31,918,425,924 … index.html … evenue.pdf

Budget 2012

Estimates of Receipts and Expenditure for the Year ending 31st December 2012 - … 202012.pdf

Income 38,081,000,000

Expenditure 51,223,000,000

Diference -13,142,000,000

Part II - Expenditure Allocations 2012 - 2014 - … rt%202.pdf

Social welfare budget 2012 - 20,533,000,000



Attend :
from the DOF document above :

NO LAs and no semistates, surely they should be included as well.


20.8 billion in 2010. In 2000 this was 6.7 billion, so an increase of 210% in 11 years. Public service costs are obviously an issue but certainly not the “elephant in the room” in comparison to social welfare. In 2002 the welfare budget increased by 21% despite the low levels of unemployment. … 0stats.pdf


There are over 6,000 people employed by Dublin City Council alone, just one of the three councils that service Dublin. What do they all do? WHAT THE FUCK DO THEY ALL DO? Somebody tell me.


Social welfare and public service wage spending are roughly equal and total around 37-40 billion, depending on what you count as a public servant (local authorities, etc.).

Public service wage spending has doubled since 2000.

The room is full of elephants and these are the two largest. But they have both been rendered untouchable by this government.


No wondering in this thread unless it about the veracity of numbers how and where they have been sourced and what might they also help to uncover. Anything else will be far too subjective and get in the way of discovery! So far not bad. Few comments could be dropped but so far some insights. Keep it up and don’t get personal either.

This will lead to even richer debate as we go but we need to round in all we can numbers wise. To know the form and feel with what the structure to the cost of Governance.


Has it doubled? I can’t find the right documents for that one.
I don’t consider public sector pay an elephant in the room as it gets more than its fair share of discussion in the media and on here.

( Pay distro for higher-end LA employees )

More as I get them.

backup :

PQ 17 May.


Article from Mr. Gurdgiev last year … -need.html

EHECS survey … tLbCYjVo7Q

(says 392000 in pub sector )


My reading of the situation is based on the CSO numbers from EHQ08 time series - … language=0

There is only data available for three quarters of 2011 so far so take 2010 as the last year for which full data is available.


301,500 Public Servants x 644.38 Average Weekly Wage x 52 = €10,103,000,000


402,100 Public Servants x 910.8 Average Weekly Wage x 52 = €19,044,099,360

This underrepresents the figures slightly as it takes the numbers for the last quarter rather than calculating values for each quarter. For example, the numbers of public services in the four quarters of 2010 were:

2010Q1 403,700
2010Q2 402,100
2010Q3 401,100
2010Q4 402,100


Spoken like someone interested in a rational debate about these matters and with no axe to grind whatsoever.


The numbers that were presented for Europe as a comparison. I presume the way the numbers are compiled are standardised (i.e. include armed forces or not; semi-states etc.)? Given Greece’s track record in particular in submitting correct figures there has to be an uncertainty factor attached to those stats presented.

That said though, even considering this uncertainty, the numbers are so severe from the PIIGS perspective that I think they paint a pretty clear picture.


Big big difference between the salary costs Gross and Net.

For instance, figures being thrown about from 250m to 300m in cost of increments for 2012.

Firstly, how can you estimate this before all those staff leave end of Feb.

Secondly, 250m is gross. You can take away a third right away for tax paid, so you’re talking around 150m net max.

But if you stop increments the unions (and Gov. inc Enda & Howlin) will regard it as breaching Croke Park. You will then have national strikes, pissed off staff who will work slower, to a lower standard, take more sick days, etc, etc.

When the dust settles, would it actually have been worth it?


hasn’t happened for paycuts/pension levies etc. to date - while I hear people complaining most are too afraid to kick up much fuss. I would imagine that they will announce a suspension for x years in the upcoming budget using the force majeure clause of the CPA and (if necessary) any emergency powers they need to give themselves. They might do a paycut instead but I think former is more likely. Not advocating just future gazing.

[Disclosure: I am a Public servant who did receive increments at one time (maybe 5) but not for last 6+ years and none likely in the future]


Not if you accept the argument that the increments are mostly going to the low paid…


A request from the troika was to get some decent stats. One result of this is the Public Expenditure and Reform website which gives numbers and costs going back several years.

For example here’s the number of whole time equivalents (WTE) employed in the CS, Defence, Edu, Health, Justice, Local Auth and NCSA( not sure what that means - Quangos?)

1994 215,337.00
1995 218,703.00
1996 218,980.00
1997 222,013.00
1998 226,306.00
1999 233,077.00
2000 247,343.00
2001 269,799.00
2002 279,274.00
2003 279,609.00
2004 284,787.00
2005 292,129.00
2006 304,512.00
2007 312,131.00
2008 320,387.17
2009 310,747.14
2010 305,967.26
2011 Q1 303,903.05
2011 Q2 302,769.70

The WTE designation may be significant as it could help underestimate the pension costs, e.g. two 60 year old retiring job sharers would be entitled to two near full pensions if they only started sharing towards the end of their career.


With a normal business increments are given based on two things. How the company has performed in the previous year and how each individual staff member has performed in the business year. There are people whom I work with (most of them actually) haven’t had a wage increase in 4 years.

If things aren’t addressed now or at least over the next few years then the endemic weaknesses in the system will certainly persist when there is money again. This is probably the best opportunity to address known issues with the current set up.

People should be rewarded (where possible) for performing beyond expectation or for continuing to meet required standards. I don’t have a problem with a job for life but in terms of rewards at least reward those who deserve it and not all and sundry. Where’s the incentive?

Put this way Employee A does F All from one week to the next and so doesn’t see any career progression and more importantly no increments. Employee B performs admirably and reaps their just rewards. Employee A has 3 options (great to have them): (1) Wallow away as is happy with their lot and not cost the state any more than they should (2) Buck up and aspire to be like Employee B (3) Ship out upon discovering a more beneficial venture to leech off.

Note: I’m private sector as mentioned above. My wife is a Public Servant