As one of the hated contractors :), I’d like to jump in and say that we tend to get a bad rap here in these sorts of discussions about salaries. However, a vast majority of the contractors that you’re working side-by-side with are making very similar salaries – the average salary of the government contractor is inflated by those C-suite execs who make millions. Government employees also tend to have much more job security. Many contractors lose their jobs when their contract ends. It’s not like they just move on to the next project. Some do, but many don’t. Contractors, like any other company, also lay people off when needed.
I’m not saying that one side is right or one side is wrong – just that the grass isn’t always greener on the other side and that stereotypes about both are generally misguided.