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Public v Private Sector IT Role

  • 14-12-2022 3:15pm
    Registered Users Posts: 3

    Hi All,

    I am considering applying for a public sector IT role but am hesitant as to how the role will be day to day as well as the fact it would entail a not insignificant drop in salary.

    Is it typical for public sector salaries to be less than private sector and typically do other benefits offset this?

    Also, can any boardies offer insight into how a public sector IT role compares to a private sector one.




  • Registered Users Posts: 834 ✭✭✭RainInSummer

    Massive hit in salary v private sector, and that fancy pension at the end of it all is no longer as tasty as it once was.

    I'd avoid to be honest. There's a lot of tech companies out there that treat their employees very well in terms of pay and benefits. You can find ones that better the public sector in terms of work/life balance.

    Worst pay and conditions of my life were in the public sector. Never again.

  • Posts: 0 [Deleted User]

    That pension is not great actually.

    You "get" a state pension but that exact amount is deducted from your own pension. Given that you can guarantee being underpaid, the pension is low to begin with

  • Registered Users Posts: 10,923 ✭✭✭✭Flinty997

    I agree with all the other comments.

    I'd only join if you need the better work life balance which people often do if they have other commitments outside of work. Or want to work less hours.

    Tech companies generally have comparable pensions. You generally work longer hours and have more deadlines. So that's really the trade off.

    I preferred working in the private sector personally.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 10,923 ✭✭✭✭Flinty997

    I'd also much of the value in the public sector pension is if you do the full tenure of service, 40yr or so. if you join and get half that, the pension is obviously much reduced. (buying back years is too expensive) So you'll have to boost it with private pension. Which you could to in the private sector anyway.

    Having less hours and flexible working especially around childcare and such is well worth it. its just not everything. I'd say its more attractive to older people wanting to get out of the rat race.

  • Registered Users Posts: 4,894 ✭✭✭Daith

    Agree with this tbh. I don't work in civil service but public service (same rules pretty much).

    The lack of a specific grade for IT people is one thing. You could be the world's best programmer or whatever but you'll need to be classed as a manager at AP level and above and that might not happen.

    Don't discount the work life balance though. I've worked probably about 5 weekends in 9 years. It's what you want to get out of it I guess

  • Registered Users Posts: 3 NowConfusedAgain

    Thanks all,

    It is job security and the Pension which are my main drivers for considering the switch as I feel we may have some very challenging years ahead.

    In terms of my current role I have 20+ years experience, a good pension I believe where they match 10% and a good work life balance which is why I am hesitant to switch but also feel I would like a change after an extended period with one company.


  • Moderators, Regional Midwest Moderators Posts: 11,016 Mod ✭✭✭✭MarkR

    I may be in the minority, but i'm in an IT role in the public sector, but not in the IT division. Kind of "the tech guy" for a small division, managing projects and systems. Joined 4 years ago and I think it worked out well for me. Work life balance is great. No longer in a 365 support environment.

    If the role is interesting, no harm in looking into it. It's public sector, not servitude, so you can always move on! 😁

  • Registered Users Posts: 4,894 ✭✭✭Daith

    Exactly, you can always move. Tbh I've probably become lazy in the role by not looking for private sector jobs.

    Sounds like you have a decent job though. Not sure of your salary range of course, but be aware you may/probably will have to start at the first point on the scale of the role

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  • Registered Users Posts: 4,763 ✭✭✭Augme

    What exactly is it about the pension that you think is so good? Do you genuinely know what the pension works out as?

    Honestly, you'd be crazy to switch imo. IT is definitely one of the sectors it simply isn't worth it. Also, I don't know what your wfh situation is but you could end up in the office far more often in the Civil Service.

  • Registered Users Posts: 229 ✭✭FazyLucker

    Sounds like you have a decent setup OP, 10% matching pension contribution is really good and will leave you with a very good pension pot. And if you are good your salary will increase quicker than the public sector increment (don't underestimate how poor and slow salary increases are) so that 10% will keep growing. As I said before, I know it is not guaranteed but unless you do full term in the public sector your pension won't be great.

    I know people talk about a few hard years etc but we've had a covid pandemic and a year of war and still there are thousands of IT jobs out there even if a handful of high profile companies are realising they are over subscribed.

    I agree with Augme I think you would be mad to move unless you can get a significant salary jump and your working conditions at the moment are really crap and you are being worked to the bone.

  • Registered Users Posts: 20,298 ✭✭✭✭Rikand

    Your current pension is probably a lot better than a public sector one. Public sector pension not what it used to be and I'm pumping into an AVC to try and bring it up.

    Security and work life balance is the ticket though and what made me switch from private to public. I would never go back to private after 4 years in public. I don't even miss the money I lost anymore. There's more to life than money

  • Registered Users Posts: 4,894 ✭✭✭Daith

    I really have to look at AVC. I'll probably end up with 35 years public if I don't move.

  • Registered Users Posts: 4,263 ✭✭✭robbiezero

    Job security cant be that much of an issue if you have 20+ years experience?

  • Registered Users Posts: 4,263 ✭✭✭robbiezero

    Assuming it is reasonably well rounded experience.

  • Registered Users Posts: 691 ✭✭✭purifol0

    The salaries for IT in the public sector are all over the shop. Main reason is that there isn't a public sector union for them, hence no political pressure can be applied unlike the hundreds of thousands in the INMO and Teachers unions. Yes that many, as they allow retirees as members - good for increasing their pensions long after they retire!

    The holidays are far better than the private sector and hours and workload are usually very low, might be a benefit if you need a work life balance as a primary parent or similar but the massive underpayment in some areas is so jarring Im sometimes surprised they get any CV's at all.

    Prison service currently offering 33K to 56K over 15 years! For candidates with a degree plus certs....LOL.

    Might be ok if you can live way out in the country but for Dublin it isn't liveable unless you are Ok staying with the folks for an extra decade.

  • Registered Users Posts: 10,923 ✭✭✭✭Flinty997

    It's not just the public service that has this problem private sector also has but it's far worse in the public.

    Lots of legacy systems old frameworks and being silo'd on monolithic systems. It's very hard to get someone new to take on a legacy system to release existing staff for new projects. But new staff or contractors get the new projects because they are current in the new stack. Very hard to change that narrative.

    Never be too good at a job (or project) you don't want. Ignore that at your peril in IT.

  • Registered Users Posts: 4,894 ✭✭✭Daith

    I'd say the bigger issue is the lack of a specific grade for IT people. It doesn't really align to the CO/EO/HEO/AP etc. I mean it can kinda, but it doesn't help in attracting talent and also means it values standard civil service skills over specific IT skills

    I mean they tried to advertise a Director of National IT Security at like AP grade and wondered they didn't get a lot of candidates.

  • Registered Users Posts: 27,683 ✭✭✭✭AndrewJRenko

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  • Registered Users Posts: 10,923 ✭✭✭✭Flinty997

    Agree 100% with the lack of technical grade structure. Also with undervaluing of technical IT skills.

  • Registered Users Posts: 691 ✭✭✭purifol0

    "also means it values standard civil service skills over specific IT skills". Real talk. The pen pushers have been softwared out of existance in the private sector. Yet the civil service still hires clerical officers. Whats damning is that I bought car last year and had to physically fill in & post off the log book FFS. That's public sector job security for you, and another reason to detest paying taxes.

  • Registered Users Posts: 4,894 ✭✭✭Daith

    Fine, but even then compared to the private sector it was a much lower salary for a senior IT security role. Which is why they ended up re advertising it at a higher scale.

    It went from €89k to €184k or PO to Dep Sec Gen or whatever.

    Though I suspect the ability to outsource IT in various forms has probably meant the CS is able to keep the grades as is.

  • Registered Users Posts: 691 ✭✭✭purifol0

    Lads that advertised role was bollocks. The gov had an crisis and so its knee jerk reaction was this position. Once the HSE hack was off the headlines the whole "reformation of public sector cyber security" was back-burnered.

  • Posts: 0 [Deleted User]

    Tusla spun up an inhouse cybersecurity team on the back of that.

    They've struggled to fill roles due to pay limitations

  • Registered Users Posts: 648 ✭✭✭PeaSea

    If you want to sit tight in a secure job for a few years, it's an ok decision to make.

    For me, the tech used would be a major factor - will you in 5 years time still be using the same ancient languages and systems and find it hard to get into another job, or will you get a chance to get into new stuff like cloud tech ?

  • Registered Users Posts: 4,894 ✭✭✭Daith

    Yeah was thinking of those roles. I guess it's probably easier to just outsource to a managed SOC for most public sector orgs.

    And outsourcing is completely valid, but again means IT and the public sector has a tricky relationship.

  • Registered Users Posts: 10,923 ✭✭✭✭Flinty997

    Its a fine line, turning down work in old tech and being able to cherry pick just the new stuff.

  • Registered Users Posts: 6,317 ✭✭✭gameoverdude

    Plus their cyber security/ network security are tiny and not experienced.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 6,317 ✭✭✭gameoverdude