Promising Practices Promising PracticesPromising Practices
A forum for government's best ideas and most innovative leaders.

It’s Official—Higher Pay Attracts Better Workers

ARCHIVES
Joe Belanger/Shutterstock.com

It may seem like common sense that if you want to lure better workers, you should pay higher wages. Yet employers and economic theorists alike aren’t sure that’s true, since high pay might attract job applicants who are in it just for the money. So what’s an employer to do? A recent field study from development economist Frederico Finan and colleagues provides an answer: Their research offers the first-ever experimental evidence that higher wages attract workers who are highly skilled and who hold a true interest in the organization’s cause.

The opportunity to conduct a study on real workers applying for real jobs came when the federal government of Mexico, in an attempt to improve public services in areas of the country with weak municipal governments, rolled out a program to hire a network of community-development agents. These agents would live in their assigned area, and their job would be to assess local needs and report these back to the federal government, explains Finan. The community-development agents would be somewhat like Peace Corps volunteers, says Finan, but they’d be recruited from within Mexico and paid for their work.

The program organizers firmly believed that they needed to pay above-average wages in order to draw skilled workers to these jobs, which were often located in remote and crime-ridden areas. Yet the organizers worried that a salary that was too high would attract people who were in it just for the money and not for the cause. That’s a serious concern, since people who are highly motivated to work in the public sector are known to perform better on the job. “If you offer one penny, you know that whomever you chose is there because they love the job,” says Finan. “But if you offer $100,000, you’ll get not only a lot more applicants, but also applicants of the type who are in it for the wrong reasons.”

Read more at Quartz

(Image via Joe Belanger/Shutterstock.com)

FROM OUR SPONSORS
JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Close [ x ] More from GovExec
 
 

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from GovExec.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Sponsored by G Suite

    Cross-Agency Teamwork, Anytime and Anywhere

    Dan McCrae, director of IT service delivery division, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

    Download
  • Data-Centric Security vs. Database-Level Security

    Database-level encryption had its origins in the 1990s and early 2000s in response to very basic risks which largely revolved around the theft of servers, backup tapes and other physical-layer assets. As noted in Verizon’s 2014, Data Breach Investigations Report (DBIR)1, threats today are far more advanced and dangerous.

    Download
  • Sponsored by One Identity

    One Nation Under Guard: Securing User Identities Across State and Local Government

    In 2016, the government can expect even more sophisticated threats on the horizon, making it all the more imperative that agencies enforce proper identity and access management (IAM) practices. In order to better measure the current state of IAM at the state and local level, Government Business Council (GBC) conducted an in-depth research study of state and local employees.

    Download
  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    The Next Federal Evolution of Cloud

    This GBC report explains the evolution of cloud computing in federal government, and provides an outlook for the future of the cloud in government IT.

    Download
  • Sponsored by LTC Partners, administrators of the Federal Long Term Care Insurance Program

    Approaching the Brink of Federal Retirement

    Approximately 10,000 baby boomers are reaching retirement age per day, and a growing number of federal employees are preparing themselves for the next chapter of their lives. Learn how to tackle the challenges that today's workforce faces in laying the groundwork for a smooth and secure retirement.

    Download
  • Sponsored by Hewlett Packard Enterprise

    Cyber Defense 101: Arming the Next Generation of Government Employees

    Read this issue brief to learn about the sector's most potent challenges in the new cyber landscape and how government organizations are building a robust, threat-aware infrastructure

    Download
  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    GBC Issue Brief: Cultivating Digital Services in the Federal Landscape

    Read this GBC issue brief to learn more about the current state of digital services in the government, and how key players are pushing enhancements towards a user-centric approach.

    Download

When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.