State employee compensation makes up a large portion of the state budget. DOP contracted with a national survey firm, The Segal Company, with more than 70 years of industry experience, to conduct the 2010 salary survey. The survey compared the base salaries for 78 representative jobs as of September 2009 to similar private sector and other public sector (county, city) jobs.
The state salary survey found that, on average, lower-wage state workers (e.g., food service, laundry worker) earn more than their private-sector counterparts – while those at a higher salary (e.g., accountants, auditors, IT) earn less.
Washington’s survey findings are similar to a national study commissioned by the Center for State and Local Government Excellence and a briefing paper (#276) issued by the Economic Policy Institute (EPI); both found public sector employees generally earn less than their private sector counterparts.