Compensation in selected service occupations

Front-line service delivery agents are the face of the public administration for the majority of citizens, and therefore their behaviour and competence has a direct impact on the public’s perception of public institutions. Police officers and inspectors interact with the users of public services to co-produce efficient and effective public services. Hence, their commitment and motivation is critical to enhance both the quality of public service delivery and the trust of public employees and users in their government

Data are included for occupations related to law and order and tax administration: specifically police inspectors and detectives, police officers, immigration officers, customs inspectors and tax inspectors. While these occupations exist in all countries, these functions may, in some cases, be carried out by sub-central governments for which we do not collect data.

Police inspectors’ compensation amounts on average to USD 81 952 PPP across OECD countries. Police officers’ compensation is about USD 64 795 PPP. A police inspector earns 26.5% more than a police officer on average. This reflects the premium for higher responsibility. In Spain, Australia and France, the gap between compensation of police inspectors and police officers is highest. On the contrary, in Iceland and Estonia police officers and inspectors earn nearly the same amount.

There are relatively small differences in compensation levels among the five occupations, which might indicate that the requirements for these jobs are largely similar. The relative compensation of a specialised occupation to a more general occupation is an indicator of the relative attractiveness of those specialised occupations. These occupations could also be prone to petty corruption. As a result, paying police and tax administrators well might help reduce its occurence. Tax inspectors earn on average 19% less than police inspectors and just 2% more than police officers. The gap between tax inspectors and police inspectors is the highest in Australia, France and Iceland where police inspectors earn more than 30% more than tax inspectors. The gap between tax inspectors and police officers is the highest in Slovenia, Spain and Portugal. Police inspectors earn on average 33% more than customs inspectors earn. This gap is the highest in Australia and Norway and the lowest in Portugal, Sweden and Korea. On average in the OECD countries, immigration officers earn just 5% less than police officers. In Portugal, Spain and Latvia, the compensation of immigration officers is higher than that of police officers, whereas it is lower in Australia, Greece and the United Kingdom.

When corrected by GDP per capita, Chile and Portugal pay the highest compensations in some of these five occupations. On the contrary, in Latvia as well as Lithuania compensations for several service occupations recorded their lowest shares.

Methodology and definitions

Data refer to 2015 and were collected through the 2016 OECD Survey on the Compensation of Employees in Central/Federal Governments. Officials from central ministries and agencies responded to the survey through the OECD Network on Public Employment and Management.

Data are for specific frontline service delivery agents (police inspectors and detectives, police officers, immigration officers, customs inspectors, and tax inspectors). The classification and definition of the occupations are an adaptation of the ISCO-08 codes developed by the International Labour Organization (ILO). Although countries have employees in charge of these tasks, in some countries specific functions cannot be distinguished.

Total compensation includes gross wages and salaries, and employers’ social contributions, both funded as well as unfunded, including pension payments paid through the state budget rather than through employer social contributions (mostly for some pay-as-you-go systems). Social contributions are restricted to health and pensions systems, in order to have consistent data across countries.

Compensation was converted to USD using purchasing power parities (PPPs) for private consumption from the OECD National Accounts Statistics (database). Working time adjustment compensates for differences in time worked, taking into account both the average number of working hours and the average number of holidays.

Comparison to previous data collection results are limited due to small changes in methodology. See Annex D for further information on the methodology.

Further reading

OECD (2012), Public Sector Compensation in Times of Austerity, OECD, Paris.

Figure notes

Data are not available for the Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Israel, Japan, Luxembourg, Mexico, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Poland, the Slovak Republic, Switzerland, Turkey and the United States.

Immigration officers are included in police officers in Austria, Denmark, Iceland and Italy. Immigration officers are included in police inspectors and detectives in Slovenia. Police inspectors and detectives and police officers are mixed in Korea and Sweden. Police inspectors and detectives are included in police officers and immigration officers in Greece. France: data are for 2014 (using PPPs for 2014). Italy: the number of employees includes part time employees and not only full time employees. Korea: data do not include fixed meal allowance and job grade allowance that are provided in all of these positions; compensation for unused annual leaves is also not included. Norway: employees not covered by the basic collective agreement for the civil service are not included.

3.24. Customs inspectors are included in immigration officers in Canada.

3.25. Data are not available for Canada and Chile.

3.26. Data are not available for Denmark. Customs inspectors are included in immigration officers in Canada.

3.24. Annual average compensation of employees in service delivery occupations, 2015
Adjusted for differences in working hours and holidays
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Source: 2016 OECD Survey on Compensation of Employees in Central/Federal Governments; OECD STAN/National Accounts Statistics (database).

 http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/888933532447

3.25. Annual average compensation of central government police inspectors, detectives and officers relative to GDP per capita
picture

Source: 2016 OECD Survey on Compensation of Employees in Central/Federal Governments; OECD STAN/National Accounts Statistics (database).

 http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/888933532466

3.26. Annual average compensation of central government immigration officers, customs and tax inspectors relative to GDP per capita
picture

Source: 2016 OECD Survey on Compensation of Employees in Central/Federal Governments; OECD STAN/National Accounts Statistics (database).

 http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/888933532485