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1. Based on my perceptions and experiences my ranking of the aforementioned jobs are listed as follows in order of highest average salary to lowest average salary using the job-to-job approach:

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  1. Corporate Executive
  2. Nuclear Scientist
  3. Human Resources Director
  4. Attorney
  5. Medical Researcher
  6. Engineer
  7. Accountant
  8. Construction Worker
  9. Factory Worker
  10. Retail Sales Clerk
  11. Janitor

If we use the gross average pay approach to compare average salary in the non-Federal sector with the average salary for all Federal jobs, we see that that Federal sector averages are higher than the private sector. With jobs in the Federal sector being classified as more professional occupations, these positions require more training and education that in turn require higher compensation. These professional positions require that the employees be responsible for work that could influence business decisions or products. Job responsibilities are one of the most important criteria when classifying and compensating employees, from determining exemption status to movement through steps or grades. The CBO report outlines that most of the private sector positions fall outside of the professional classification. These low wage positions, in their abundance, would bring down the average of the private sector gross average. For example, Wal-Mart, Costco, and McDonald’s are some of the largest retailers in the U.S. With multiple locations in the US, it is easier to understand how on a larger scope the Federal sector average salary would be higher. Also, since the Federal sector has the most positions classified as professional, it would make sense that they would also have the most managerial positions to oversee the professionals as well. Managerial positions require multiple years of experience and knowledge. Proper compensation and classification is needed for these positions as well.

When revisiting the list, there are lower level positions that would need to be dropped if we were only to consider the white-collar jobs. Those jobs would have to be: janitor, retail sales clerk, and factory worker. By definition, white collar positions are those positions that fall under the professional and managerial classification. White-collar positions typically do require some type of education, but can also be substituted with an equivalent amount of experience. The three positions I mentioned do not require formal education or training in order to be completed. It is also important to note that these positions would fall into the lower end of the salary range. These types of positions are not represented in the Federal GS pay system in the same fashion that they are represented in the private sector. From experience technology use on the job is also something that seems to influence how a job is categorized. While a job use of technology is not a criterion that is actually evaluated, there is a correlation that white-collar positions are now dealing with more software and electronics to get jobs done. However, as any psychology major is happy to tell you (myself included), correlation does not equal causation.

With regards to the recent Report on Locality-Based Comparability for the General Schedule, that outlines a job-to job approach in order to identify and reduce local pay disparities, I would agree that this is the best method. If the pay is being evaluated equally for the same position in both sectors, then a job-to-job approach provides the fairest analysis. This approach compares the jobs and not the “personal attributes” of the worker and stays to the mission of “equal pay for equal work”.

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