ISLAMABAD: The Worldwide Bureaucracy Indicators (WWBI) has estimated that in the South Asian region, both Pakistan and India have the largest public sectors with a share of 60 per cent of formal wage employment.
WWBI is the unique cross-national dataset on public sector employment and wages developed by the World Bank’s ‘Bureaucracy Lab’.
According to the indicators, the wage bill in South Asian countries, relative to their public expenditure, is on average, seven percentage points lower than the global average of 28 per cent. There is significant variance among countries in the region, it says.
In Afghanistan, public sector wages make up half of all public spending, yet Pakistan only spends three per cent of its public expenditure on public sector wages.
37pc of South Asian govt workforce employed in public administration
In the South Asia region, 37pc of the total public sector workforce is employed in public administration, followed by healthcare (28pc), and education (26pc).
Compared to the global average, the share of education and healthcare employees in public sector paid employment is lower in the South Asia region. Pakistan has the largest share of education employees working in the public sector workforce (around 35pc).
Globally, the share of women working in the public sector is 46pc, whereas in South Asia, the share is considerably lower (24pc), yet it varies significantly across the region.
In Maldives, half of all public sector employees are women, whereas in Afghanistan and Pakistan, females make up only 13pc of all employees.
In Pakistan, only 2pc of public administration workers are female.
Compared to private sector employees, the region’s average public sector wage premium is above the global average.
Public sector employees in Pakistan have the highest wage premiums compared to their private sector counterparts (over 60pc), followed by Sri Lanka (54pc) and Nepal (40pc). However, public sector employees face a wage penalty in Afghanistan (around 20pc).
In the South Asia region, almost all individuals employed in various public sector institutions enjoy a wage premium compared to all formal wage employees.
On average, India has the highest pay for public sector occupations in the region. Government economists and hospital nurses get paid around 2.6 times more than the global average.
Globally, the public sector is responsible for 16pc of total employment, 30pc of wage employment, and 37pc of formal sector wage employment.
In the South Asia region, public sector employment makes up around 12pc of total employment, 30pc of wage employment, and 39pc formal wage employment
Published in Dawn, July 10th, 2023