Charts 2(a) and 2(b) again present the top priority issues identified by each of the four constituencies, but organize them so that private and public sector respondents’ priorities are directly compared, first for management (Chart 2(a)) and then for labour (Chart 2(b)).
It is clear from Chart 2(b) that there is a high degree of consistency between the views of private and public sector labour respondents as to which issues are more or less serious. In very few instances do the proportions of each constituency who view an issue as serious differ by more than 10 percentage points. Where there are differences, private sector labour respondents tend to stress economic performance issues such as Inadequate Investment, International Competitiveness, or Poor Productivity. Public sector labour respondents, on the other hand, stress broader social issues and measures, such as Income Inequality, Environmental Degradation, and Reduced Social Spending. These differences, however, are differences of degree, and are not large. A quite consistent set of priorities characterizes the broad labour constituency.
On the management side, however, priorities differ more between the public and private sectors. Chart 2(a) compares private and public sector managers’ views on serious issues. The chart shows that while there is broad similarity between the perspectives of public sector managers and private sector businesspersons, this consistency is not as high as on the labour side, and is marked in several cases by quite distinct differences of perception.
In particular, private sector business respondents reported a much higher level of concern than their public sector counterparts over the broad role of government, citing concerns over High Taxes, Government Deficits/Debt, and Government Regulations. Private sector business respondents were also much more inclined to view with concern some of the practical economic and labour market issues with which they had to deal on a regular basis. These included concerns over Brain Drain, High Labour Costs, Poor Productivity and High Interest Rates.
In contrast, public sector management respondents laid relative stress, compared to their private sector colleagues, on more social issues such as Reduced Social Spending and Environmental Degradation. The Quality of Workplace Training was also of greater concern to public sector management respondents.
A final point to note is the public/private sector differences in perception on the importance of a Lack of National Consensus on Economic Priorities. On both the labour and management sides, especially the latter, private sector respondents shared a higher level of concern on this issue than their public sector colleagues. From a private sector perspective, it appears that there is still less overall agreement on this issue than public sector respondents perceive.