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Eye On Boise

Idaho state employee pay lags 18.9% below market, total compensation also lags

State law requires a study and report to the governor and Legislature each year on how Idaho’s state employee compensation stacks up compared to the market. The result this year: Idaho’s classified employee salaries are 18.9 percent below market. That’s compared to comparable jobs in both the public and private sector. Furthermore, Idaho’s state employee pay is 10.7 percent below eight surrounding states, Arizona, Colorado, Montana, New Mexico, Nevada, Utah, Washington and Wyoming.

The report is being presented this afternoon to the House Commerce Committee; you can listen live here, and you can see the full report here.

The report found Idaho had a 12.9 percent turnover rate among classified employees in 2012, down from 12.1 percent in 2011. The top reason employees left in 2012 was to retire, followed by moves to another job for better pay. The majority of those who left for another job went to the private sector.

Analysts for the Hay Group who are addressing the House committee this afternoon reported that Idaho’s benefits are at or above the market, largely due to health care and retirement benefits, but total compensation, including both pay and benefits, is well below the market average for both the public and private sectors. "These positives on the benefit side don't offset all of the deficits on the salary side," said Malinda Riley of the Hay Group. "This is really important in attracting your workforce of the future." She recommended "strategic" pay increases, saying a 3 percent boost would be a good place to start. Gov. Butch Otter hasn't recommended any state employee pay boost in his budget proposal for next year; last year, state workers got 2 percent merit raises, their first increases since fiscal year 2009.

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Betsy Z. Russell
Betsy Z. Russell joined The Spokesman-Review in 1991. She currently is a reporter in the Boise Bureau covering Idaho state government and politics, and other news from Idaho's state capital.

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