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Thread: Public Sector salary negotiation

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2007

    Default Public Sector salary negotiation


    OH has just been offered a job with a government department , we are awaiting details in the post so we only have the salary at the moment and no details on pension relocation etc.

    Other posts on this forum suggest negotiating over salaries, does this apply to public sector jobs? or is it take it a case of take or leave it?

    What do employers consider a resonable time between job offer and start date when you are not in the country (we have already got PR)?

    Thank you

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Scotland > Hamilton, Waikato


    Firstly, congratulations on both the job and PR.

    I would expect your employer would want you out here to start work asap. However you're still negotiations details with them so should have a little grace (if you want it).

    As for the salary, I would have thought that as it's a government department the salary range will be set BUT you may be able to argue that you start at the top end of the scale if you have the experience. Alternatively, you could ask for your salary to be reviewed in say, 3 months time, once they can see how you work. Just an idea.

    Good luck and see you on the other side soon.

  3. #3


    Most government positions have a salary determined by a collective agreement with the PSA or other union, even if you don't join the union your individual employment agreement is likely to have the same salary as the collective.
    You might start at 80% or 85% of the highest salary for your position and then over time work your way up to 100%, depending on the position there might be some room for negotiation over what percentage you start at, but it's also possible that the collective requires everyone start at the same percentage.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Waterloo, Lower Hutt


    As Constablechuck mentioned, Public Sector roles are usually linked to a Job Expectation which is then linked to a Salary (Performance) Range.

    For most roles the PSA act as the key negotiator and their contracts may include extra benefits that other non-PSA members will not receive (e.g. extra bonuses).

    Also, depending on your role, you may want to aim for a Performance rating of at least 100%, as you may find their salary ranges to be below the industry norm. This applies for some Govt organisations more than others.


  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2007


    Hello Everyone...

    I have been interviewing for Public Sector roles in all areas.

    I have found that some are sticking to their Salary Pay Scales similar to our Pay Band/Spine Points here in the UK.

    Although, I have found that some 'Local Authorities' have opted out of these set scales and have moved to a more 'Open Market Pay Scale' to try to get vacancies filled and compete with private business.

    One council are actually negotiating pay rather than settng a strict band. Of course they are trying to set limits, but they seem open to asking what I expect to be paid then considering it. Out of 6 Local Authorities, only one has actually told me the Pay Scale that they will work to. (PSA?)

    Also I have found that some of them will actually pay the full relocation package including medical, visa and container costs along with a council vehicle, rental accommodation and even a lump sum of money to help out.

    One has even said that they will consider financially with the moving in costs associated with our first rental home we find for ourselves.

    This particular council has realised that they actually need to take a holistic approach to retain staff that make the move. They are not only taking care of the 'employee' but also they realise that they have to take care of the employee's family in every way that they can. Including providing a person to show families the town, the facilities, schools etc.

    They have learnt the hard way that private companies are waiting in the wings to swoop down and snatch their new employee with higher salaries etc.

    So I feel that negotiation and requesting benefits are the way to go.

    As one recruitment consutlant has told me - he was interviewing me in London for an NZ council - there are no skilled people in the pool locally and so immigrants are the only way out for these organisations. With a lot of competition for skilled labour from other countries, not least Australia, NZ organisations are having to go that extra mile...more so than in previous years.

    Another factor to take into account is Central Government. They are telling L.A.'s that they need to have qualified staff. This includes the current staff...many of which are close to retirement.

    There are new initiatives to develop qualifications in my area at least. With an Institute and associated membership categories and qualifications required. This means, re-training for current staff...many of whom are not interested with 2-4 years before retirement...and a lack of suitable graduates entering the industry, others have taken the fast boat to OZ.

    So you see that the Public Sector is in some trouble in NZ. They have legal and Statutory obligations to meet, with a lack of resources now and in the future this will be worse with more and more environmental obligations coming along.

    This, by the way, mirrors the UK at least in Development Control. Over 50% of the Building Control Officers are nearing retirement in the UK. There have been drives to recruit and train new staff. The issue is that the Regulations are becoming more and more technical. Without a degree level education, the new recruits, especially from trade backgrounds are finding it difficult to keep up.

    I feel that the private sector will eventually gain more. The government in both countries are already allowing private companies to contract for work previously only carried out by the Public Sector bodies.

    I have already been approached by several private concerns in NZ promising higher salaries than the council...but without the relocation package.

    But I feel that they will be there when I want them in the future!

    If I have gone off track here, I hope that at least someone gained something from my little essay...

    ...gets off of soap box....

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Browns Bay, North Shore


    Beware to tie ins with any negotiated extras.
    If you get extras like removal costs and rental, the council (or any other company) will expect some form of commitment from you, usually contracted that you will pay back the cost, (or some of the cost) if you leave within a set period.

    Not a problem if it is a job you enjoy, that pays well and you settle into the country; but if you need to leave, or don't settle and wish to return to your home country, it could work out very expensive.

    Having said that, get what you can, while you can. if they want you, make them pay.

    Good luck

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2004


    There can be a fair amount of flexibility with government. Who is the job with and what sort of role? More senior role offer a lot more flexibility as do more distinct roles. More generic roles are less flexible.

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