There is no doubt that some Federal employees’ compensation is below the market for what they do, but the same number or more are far above it. The government and unions hide behind the idea that the government employees do much more complex work or have greater responsibility, but we seldom select people for positions based on the requirements of the job; what we us is the vague requirements for a series that we want to fill a position. In truth, very few jobs in the government do not have a direct private sector counterpart; in fact, the government is reducing the number of government-only jobs through its normal operations and the need to reduce costs (e.g. contract air traffic controllers that work for private sector companies—those are private sector air traffic controllers).
I propose that the Federal Government establish salary indexes for job series that are tied to labor categories in the private sector. Leave out arbitrary increases and ceilings, instead opting to pay workers a fair rate for what they do based on the demand for their skills and skill level. Include incentives for industry certifications (and applicable government counterparts) so that workers are encouraged to increase their value to the organization rather than obtain career status and then “camp out” until retirement. Combined with real performance measures, this will allow the government to get the most bang for its labor buck!