State will hire contractor to compare public and private employee wages

The state has begun a sweeping analysis of its employees’ salaries to determine whether poor pay is contributing to ongoing hiring woes.

The Alaska Department of Administration published a request for proposals, seeking a contractor to perform a comparison between state pay in Alaska, pay in the private sector and pay among other governments.

The comparison will include 404 different job classes, including positions as varied as prison guards, archaeologists, ferry workers, tax auditors, and the people in charge of regulating the accuracy of gas pumps and grocery store scales.

An $800,000 contract will be issued Nov. 15, and the request calls for a final report to be delivered no later than June 30, 2024, the final day of the state fiscal year. That would allow any recommendations to be incorporated into the budget process for the following year.

During the spring legislative session, lawmakers heard extensive testimony about short-staffed state agencies and budgeted $1 million for the survey.

Meanwhile, hiring woes have continued throughout the summer.

As of Sept. 14, the executive branch of state government had 15,650 positions, with 13,273 filled — almost a 15% vacancy rate.

The Alaska Beacon is an independent, donor-funded news organization.


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