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Employment Dilemma (Need your opinion)

  • Last Updated:
  • Feb 23rd, 2021 12:48 pm
[OP]
Newbie
Jan 4, 2021
4 posts
3 upvotes

Employment Dilemma (Need your opinion)

Hey Guys,

I am fortunate enough to have two opportunities available to me, one in the private sector (retail - food) and the other in the public sector (Ontario Government). The private sector position is offering around 10k more in base salary with a substantial bonus. Likely earning me around 15-17k more annually. This is not considering the cost of annual union fees that come with a public sector job. The public sector job will have annual pay increases, but the top bracket will only get me the salary that I would already be earning in the private sector. The public sector position is full time and will not be offering any kind of salary negotiations. Otherwise both positions are very similar in nature and the benefits are comparable.

Few additional pieces of information:
I work in a very niche field with a skill set that is not transferable to most ministries in the government.
The public sector job will likely offer me better experience overall. Although, I don't think my salary would climb much unless I go into management.

I know public sector jobs are very sought after and it was a long process to get my foot in the door. I'm constantly told by everyone that I'm lucky to have an opportunity to work for the government, especially a full time position. Keeping everything in mind, it feels like I'm making a mistake by wanting to pursue the position in the private sector due to the better salary.

Is my logic flawed? Am I not considering other factors while making this decision? What would you do in my position?
15 replies
Member
Jun 18, 2020
240 posts
193 upvotes
I'd go public, but my personality is extremely risk averse. And spouse is private, so it would be nice complement.

In you calculations, don't forget any pension differences. And don't forget the public one will, I assume, have significant deductions, I'd guess 10 to 13 percent a yr.
[OP]
Newbie
Jan 4, 2021
4 posts
3 upvotes
GTA12345 wrote: I'd go public, but my personality is extremely risk averse. And spouse is private, so it would be nice complement.

In you calculations, don't forget any pension differences. And don't forget the public one will, I assume, have significant deductions, I'd guess 10 to 13 percent a yr.
Would you be able to go into more detail about the deductions? I had no idea about this.
Last edited by wpxs36 on Feb 16th, 2021 3:01 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Deal Addict
Sep 4, 2007
1425 posts
1176 upvotes
Edmonton
How much money are we talking about? If it's $40k vs. $55k it's a very different story from $100k vs. $115k.
[OP]
Newbie
Jan 4, 2021
4 posts
3 upvotes
frozenmelon wrote: How much money are we talking about? If it's $40k vs. $55k it's a very different story from $100k vs. $115k.
Approximately 75 vs 95
Sr. Member
Dec 4, 2013
574 posts
245 upvotes
Mississauga
The stability of public sector is far more than 20k. If you're in your 50s, you should surely choose public. If you're young, you can roll the dice, make 20k annually more for a few years. Try again later in your life for a similar public sector stint.

If I was you, even thou I'm not 50 yet, I wouldn't let government job go
Deal Addict
Sep 4, 2007
1425 posts
1176 upvotes
Edmonton
The public sector position is full time and will not be offering any kind of salary negotiations
This is kind of a red flag. While there is *little* wiggle room in salary negotiation, you can usually negotiate within the band. Did they just flat out say that they won't negotiate? If they didn't, try to push for it based on your qualifications and the fact that you got a better offer. If you can close the gap by 10k then I'd say it's government job hands down.

I would consider the private sector job if it was full-time, permanent , if you're willing to put up with financial instability, and if there is a clear path for exponential growth in salary - say $200-$250k - in 5-10 years.
Member
Jun 18, 2020
240 posts
193 upvotes
wpxs36 wrote: Would you be able to go into more detail about the deductions? I had no idea about this.
Many (I'd guess all?) Ontario public service Jobs have a defined benefit pension. You'd make xx percent of your salary upon retirement until death. But that pension isn't free. Employer takes a percentage of your pay every pay period while working. It can be a lot. Teachers can pay around 12k per yr.

Some would rather have that money and save on their own.

Your private sector role might have similar pension, or better, or worse, or none. It could have a defined contribution pension. Check your offer letters to see what, if any, pension is included.
Deal Addict
Mar 3, 2018
1832 posts
1829 upvotes
GTA
You may not be considering that the public DB pension is deferred salary. It will allow you to retire at a younger age and comfortably. It is a trade off where you would likely have to put the salary difference in an RRSP just to try and have a similar retirement.
Jr. Member
Oct 19, 2008
153 posts
108 upvotes
Halifax, Nova Scotia
On top of the things mentioned above, some thoughts:
Is there a significant difference in benefits? Do those matter to you? (i.e. a friend of mine is on a prescription that costs $6K per dose every 4-6 weeks. That overcomes a HUGE difference in salary.)
Extrapolate that out if you have spouse, kids etc. needing prescriptions, glasses, dental etc.
What stage of your career are you? (Age etc.) Timeline to retirement?
Vacation time differences? (Again, if that matters to you.)
Any difference in commute costs?
There are a lot of factors that contribute to total compensation (benefits, vacation etc.) and costs of employment (commute, parking, dress code etc) that can make a large difference to widen or close the gap between the two options.
Deal Addict
Oct 24, 2010
1343 posts
1117 upvotes
Ottawa
wpxs36 wrote: Would you be able to go into more detail about the deductions? I had no idea about this.
With the federal public service pension, it's 8-10% deducted to pay the employee portion.

The government contributes an equal amount.
Jr. Member
May 29, 2017
159 posts
102 upvotes
I would go public.

Don't get me wrong, union dues and pension plan cost a pretty penny. However my experience theres a lot less bullshit and its cozy.

New hires only come when someone retires and the security holds so much weight. I cant fathom ever leaving based on my horrible past jobs in the private sector.
Sr. Member
Jun 3, 2006
701 posts
102 upvotes
Markham
To me, this is really going to be more a question of what your personality and career aspirations are. Long term, the private sector job has more risk, but more reward (monetary and personal fulfillment). The public sector job is your steady eddy where you know what you're gonna get. If you are the type of person that likes monotony, routine, can live with doing the same thing for years on end, go for the public sector job. However, if you get bored easily, want to change up your job/routine every few years, etc, go for the private sector job.
Deal Addict
Aug 26, 2004
1978 posts
153 upvotes
Toronto
I would look at the pension plan. If you see yourself staying in this position for the rest of your career go for it. Otherwise, some considerations:

1. government debt is at record highs. Province is more limited to raise revenues than the Feds and layoffs aren't unheard of.
2. Province may elect a Hudak style Premier at some point in your career. Remember the promise to lay off 100,000 public sector workers?
3. Contrary to public and media perception governments have been doing more with much much less for years. It's reaching a breaking point. Divorce rates high, long hours without overtime or lieu, mental health leaves and turn over.
4. Management int he public service is not as high caliber as in some industries in the private sector. Many are toxic. Many form cliques including senior management and gang up on particular employees to drive them out.
5. Government will stay small for quite some time. Promotional opportunities may not be there. The gray tsunami may simply not get replaced.
6. Benefit providers are to the lowest bidder. and the service is poor and they constantly give you a hard time with every claim you make.
Deal Addict
Feb 4, 2010
4141 posts
2922 upvotes
If work-life balance (35 hours/week, vacation), and job security is important then go for public sector (you didn't mention DB pension - that's a significant plus)

If money, career, climbing the corporate ladder, using your brain is important (with longer work hours, less vacation) then go for private sector
Deal Fanatic
User avatar
Dec 27, 2009
7162 posts
4343 upvotes
Victoria, BC
Retail-food is very risky. I'd take the government job in a heartbeat.

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