The average federal salary is now $81,578 while the median salary — the point where half are above and half are below — is now $76,131, according to recently released OPM data. The average federal salary figure commonly is cited by those who argue that federal pay is too high, since it is well above nationwide figures they cite. The counter argument is that the federal workforce is not a cross-section of society, being older and more highly educated with more of its work being of a professional, scientific or technical nature—all linked to higher salaries. That effect is seen even within the federal workforce: the average professional salary is about $104,600, nearly twice the average blue collar salary of about $54,200. Overall, 25 percent are above $100,886 while 25 percent are below $53,696. The figures are fiscal 2015 numbers for permanent, full-time, non-seasonal employees only, limits that also make direct comparisons with the entire private sector workforce misleading. The prior similar report, on fiscal 2013, showed an overall average salary of $79,374 and a median of $73,736.