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					  Adam Smith Institute



  Briefing
Costing Jobs
By Jonathan Woolham

One Month in the Life of the Public Sector
Each Wednesday the Guardian              The sense is that of a producer
newspaper publishes a supplement         agenda. Many of these jobs are
called Society.       This section       there because people think they
contains a few articles, often about     ought to be there, rather than in
social developments or stories of        response to a demand for them
personal interest.        Its main       from the general public. These are
function, however, is to advertise       nearly all jobs paid for from public
jobs, overwhelmingly public sector       funds. Money collected in taxation
jobs. Its pages are full of job offers   is used to employ people to do
from local authorities, NHS trusts,      things    which    are    considered
and other public bodies. Each lists      important     not     by     citizens
a title, proposed salary, and brief      themselves, but by various layers
job description.                         of government and officialdom.

In some       issues   the    Society    The pages take the reader into a
supplement consists of over 100          world inhabited by anti-social
pages. Each page features several        behaviour co-ordinators, of racial
jobs. The sheer volume of them is        equality officers, of social inclusion
immense. It is like entering into        officers and community liaison
another country.       One leaves        officers.     The salaries offered
behind the world of productive           average just over ten percent
activity, of goods and services for      higher than the average wage in
which people are willing to pay.         Britain. Clearly, it pays better in
One leaves the wealth-creating           the public sector. Many of the jobs
process     which    sustains    our     seem very vague, although it is not
present and future livelihood and        obvious at first        glance    that
Britain’s economic position in the       Bristol’s ‘walking officers’ are there
world. One enters instead into a         to encourage people to take more
world of public sector services,         exercise.      A ‘tobacco control
some of which seem to be of              manager’ sounds pretty straight-
dubious, if any, economic value.         forward, but a ‘positive activities
                                       2

co-ordinator’ has a job rather less        Contributions, increased last April.
readily divined.                           There will be the costs of
                                           pregnancy, maternity and paternity
The economic necessity of some of          leave. There will be sick pay, by no
these jobs is by no means obvious.         means negligible in a public sector
There is a real impression that            many parts of which average a
some of these jobs were created to         noticeably     higher     rate    of
make work for people, rather than          absenteeism than in the private
to fulfil any need. Looking over the       sector.   There will be pensions,
pages of job descriptions, one has         markedly more generous in public
the impression that much of this           sector than in private, and for the
seems to be political correctness          most part unfunded, to be paid for
translated into situations vacant.         out of present and future taxation.
Many of these jobs might achieve           Provision for these additional costs
worthwhile things, but there is            means that the total cost to the
often     a    sense   that   these        public purse will be considerably
achievements are tiny compared             higher than the actual salaries
with the cost it takes to attain           offered. It could not be less than
them.                                      one third as much again, and may
                                           be higher than that overall.
The other question to ask is
whether these jobs are justified,          Even     without     adding     these
given the state of the economy.            additional costs, the figure for total
They might be pursuing desirable           salaries offered in a year in the
objectives, and ones to which a            Guardian supplement         for   the
rich society should devote some            30,095 jobs comes to £828,269,000.
attention and resources. Whether           With the additional non-wage
the country can afford to spend so         costs, the cost goes to well over £1
much on unproductive work at a             billion. And this does not present
time of economic difficulty is open        itself as any kind of exhaustive
to question.                               account. On the contrary, it is only
                                           a snapshot, an examination of the
The amount of public money poured          jobs advertised in one newspaper
into these activities is certainly         supplement. What it does give is
very large.   In a single month,           an insight into an ongoing process.
eliminating overlap, there were            All over Britain, week by week, jobs
2,315 jobs advertised, offering a          are being advertised and filled
combined salary of £63,713,000.            which make little if any economic
This is equivalent to an average of        contribution to the nation, and
£27,522 per job, a figure more than        most of which are a drain on its
10 percent higher than the average         economy. Many of them have the
wage for jobs over the whole               flavour of a politically correct
economy.                                   agenda.     Individually worthwhile
                                           though some may be, taken
Furthermore, in terms of cost, this        together they amount to a huge
represents only part of what must          burden we are         imposing     on
be spent. As well as salary there          ourselves, and one we cannot
will be additional costs. There will       perhaps afford.
be employers’ National Insurance
                                        3

                                            Herefordshire Council - Area
                                            Rights of Way Officer and Warden
    One Month of Jobs                       Manager (£17k)
   Advertised in Society                    Ealing Primary Care Trust - Five
                                            a Day Local Area Co-ordinator
                                            (£25k)

Issue 1
Total jobs 523                              Issue 3
Total salary £13,585,000                    Total jobs 778
                                            Total salary £22,518,000
Jobs advertised include:
                                            Jobs advertised include:
Durham County Council - Young
People's Substance Misuse Tier 3            Thurrock Council - Diversity Co-
Service Manager (£30k)                      ordinator (£35k)
Borough of Telford - Cultural               Milton      Keynes      Council     -
Activities Co-ordinator for Children        Corporate Equalities Officer (£35k)
and Young People (£22k)                     Hounslow Council - Housing
Portsmouth      City    Council     -       Enabling Officer (£30k)
Children's Services Officer (£26k)          Southwark Council - Senior
Chorley Borough Council - Anti-             Home School Liaison Officer (focus
Social Behaviour co-ordinator               on attendance and punctuality)
Citizens Advice Bureau - Income             (£20k)
Maximisation Worker (£10k) and              Ealing Racial Equality Council -
Benefits Take-up Worker (£19k)              Racial Equality Officer (£20k)
East Kent Coastal Care Trust -              London Borough of Camden -
Smoking     Cessation     Specialist:       Welfare Rights Advisor (£25k)
Inequalities (£20k)                         City of Stoke on Trent - Youth
                                            Music Development Worker (£18k)
                                            Haringey Council - Adoption
Issue 2                                     Social Worker for the African
Total jobs 374                              Caribbean Community (£34k)
Total salary £9,790,000

Jobs advertised include:                    Issue 4
                                            Total jobs 640
Lambeth Borough Council -                   Total salary £17,820,000
Principal Youth and Play Service
Manager (£40k)                              Jobs advertised include:
Calderdale Council - Definitive
Map Review Officer (£21k)                   Lambeth Borough Council -
Lambeth Borough Council -                   Supporting People Team Manager
Scrutiny Lead Officer (£33k) and            (£35-37.2k)
Democratic Services Officer (£25k)          Swindon Borough Council -
University    College    Hospitals          Community Liaison Officer (Local
NHS Trust - Ethics Committee                Nature Reserves) (£17-18.5k)
Administrator (£20k)                        South Tyneside Council - Social
                                            Inclusion Officer (£29-31.3k)
                                        4

City of Salford - Equality Officer
(£24-26k)
Bolton NHS Trust - Tobacco                              Totals:
Control Manager (£29-32.6k)
Herefordshire Council - Public              Single month’s issues
Rights    of   Way    Developments          Total jobs 2,315
Officer (£14.8-20.5k)                       Total salary £63,713,000
Kent       County     Council     -
Development Workers X2 (Minority
Ethnic Communities) (£21.6-26.4k)           In a year
Chesterfield NHS Trust - Five-A-            Total jobs 30,095
Day Co-ordinator (£27k)                     Total salary £828,269,000

                                            Average salary per job:
                                            £27,522




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