• Egocentrism is the inability to differentiate between self and other. More specifically, it is the inability to untangle subjective schemas from objective reality; an inability to understand or assume any perspective other than their own.
• Senior civil servants are seeking to break the link between their pay and that of politicians. They also maintain they are earning in some cases up to 30 per cent less than their managerial counterparts in the private sector.
A growing discrepancy between public and private sector pay?
Is it just us or are we missing the point? The Association of Higher Civil and Public Servants, which represents about 3,000 senior staff and managers in the Civil Service, has called for the establishment of an independent pay determination mechanism to address what is described as “the growing discrepancy between public and private sector pay”.
Doctors can do it
There are many, many fine public servants in this country. We agree we need to pay a proper level of pay to maintain high standards of administration in the country. However, besides the fact that the country is still financially running on empty – we continue to borrow just to keep going – at ISME we haven’t noticed an exodus of senior public servants exiting to go to work in the private sector. Surely if the private sector is so attractive, 30% more attractive, there wouldn’t be a senior civil servant left in the country? Isn’t that pay differential exactly what we are told is driving doctors from our shores? If doctors are willing and able to move why aren’t civil servants doing the exact same thing?
Maybe it’s an ISME mind set but surely if a person wants to earn more money they have to go where the demand is. If senior civil servants want more money why don’t they leave the public sector and either join a private sector company or better still, set up a company of their own? Unfortunately this is where the egocentrism kicks in. There appears to be an inability to understand or assume a perspective other than their own. This egocentrism is fed by trade unionists, whose lot in life is to stir up discontent, to cloak any outside perspective and encourage the belief that their members are being hard-done by. That’s how and why trade union leaders are paid more than their members after all.
A radical proposal
We are a ‘solutions driven’ organisation here at ISME – as well as setting up the ‘independent pay determination mechanism’, as is being sought, how about this for a radical idea? The public sector is very keen on professional education, being given time and taxpayers’ money to take degree courses. How about, instead, they are offered a ‘total immersion’ in an SME, for a minimum of twelve months, so they can understand the world from a different perspective? The outcome would be fascinating and we might also find we have found a cure for this particular form of egocentrism?