Gambia’s Civil Service Pay Reforms: A solution on workforce satisfaction and performance

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International Journal of Research and Innovation in Social Science (IJRISS) | Volume V, Issue III, March 2021 | ISSN 2454–6186

Gambia’s Civil Service Pay Reforms: A solution on workforce satisfaction and performance

Bernard Nkala1, Alagi Sonko2
1Health Service Board, Department of Performance Improvement and Development, Zimbabwe
2Department of Personnel management Office, Gambia

IJRISS Call for paper

Abstract: Following the implementation of the civil service pay reforms 2008 to 2015 in the Gambia, there are no clear practical indications as to improved motivation, satisfaction and enhanced performance of the Gambian civil servants. In light of this skepticism, the study assessed the effects of pay reforms on pay satisfaction and performance of the employees in the civil service. The objective of this study was to assess the pay satisfaction and performance levels and discuss the determinants of pay satisfaction in the civil service of the Gambia.
The study applied descriptive research format in dealing with quantitative and qualitative data. The study used structured survey questionnaire customized from the Pay Satisfaction Questionnaire method to collect primary data. Data was also collected using interview guide with key informants and conducted telephone interviews. Motivational theories by Abraham Maslow and Adams equity theory became the theoretical foundation of this research with the aid of an operational framework developed by the researchers, to guide the direction of the research. The study sample consisted of randomly selected 60 civil servants drawn from different ministries and line department from the Gambia in the capital city Banjul, based on purposeful sampling. Other regions and districts could not be included in this study due to resource constraints. Key informants interviewed were also exclusively limited to those cadres within urban centers given challenges associated with communication in the regions.
The study unearthed that satisfaction in the Gambian civil service has not improved following pay reforms. The poor reward system is the root cause of poor performance in the civil service as witnessed by cropping practices of attrition, indiscipline, corruption and absenteeism which still prevails in the civil service of the Gambia. The study recommends decompressing the pay structure and fostering on a participatory approach to decide issues to do with pay reforms. Lessons drawn from other African countries that experienced the same problem of pay reforms gives Gambia a chance to revisit its pay reform strategies with a view to deal with evident civil service poor performance. Study further recommends enhancement of monetary and non-monetary incentives to induce high motivation and satisfaction that shall translate to improved public sector performance. This study concludes that pay satisfaction is an important component of overall job satisfaction thus Gambia Personnel Management Office needs to embrace modern research approaches that will enhance satisfaction amongst civil service. Employee participation in pay issues is important as it helps to model effective pay reforms. The fit between incentive-specific reforms and the public reform process is therefore, a challenge that needs attention thus effort needs to be devoted to designing incentives aimed at changing the Gambia’ civil service attitude and perceptions.

Key words: Pay Reform; Pay Structure, Pay Satisfaction; Gambia; Civil Service


In social science, labour is one of the main factors of production, bought and sold at a price[1].Therefore, pay in any organization ought to be determined within the context of the economic and social forces that largely influence the demand and supply. The supply of labour in Gambia’s civil service is a function of many determinants comprising of direct measurable monetary rewards such as pay, allowances and non-monetary features like job security and status and opportunities presented within service. The effects of low pay in the public sector spreads the vicious circle of underperformance and high measures