Are Federal Workers Overpaid?

Are Federal Workers Overpaid?

The average federal worker earns more than the average private-sector worker, but may be paid less to do the same work.

Chris McConnell | GovCentral

A law-school graduate starting at a Washington, DC law firm can expect to earn around $140,000 in their first year. That same graduate starting at the Department of Justice down the street will start at $60,000. While the DOJ lawyer can get up to $10,000 a year to repay student loans, the private sector lawyer should probably pick up the tab at Chef Geoff’s.

Likewise, a mid-career IT Project Manager can expect to earn $80,000 at the Department of Veterans Affairs, but that same position in for a company like AT&T can earn you double that.

Starting a career in federal government is more than just a salary though. Many people choose public service to contribute to the greater good of society or for a greater work-life balance. In many cases, a federal worker may have more responsibility than their private-sector counterpart. For example, a laboratory technician at the Centers for Disease Control is researching the cure for HIV and a Federal Agent with the Federal Bureau of Investigations is undercover right now, rooting out the next corruption scandal.

In the federal government, there may be a cap on your earning potential, but not in your potential to affect change for the greater good.

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