But a leading personnel consultant has warned that councils might stagnate without greater staff movement.
According to the Audit of Personnel Activities and Costs database due to be released soon, local government has a 10.1% annual staff turnover, compared to 13.9% for the public sector as a whole.
NHS trusts have a turnover of 18.3%, education 11.5% and other government agencies 10.2%. In the private sector, average annual turnover for firms employing more than 1,000 staff was 14.7% and for smaller companies 16.6%.
'That stability is borne of traditional ways and could potentially lead to stagnation, which is not in keeping with best value and the government's approach to running local government,' he said.
Job evaluation, which was an old fashioned approach to pay structures, could make the situation worse, he said.
On absenteeism, the survey shows local government loses 4.2% of working time per year to sickness compared to 4.3% in education and 5.7% in NHS trusts and government agencies.
But public sector employers are still ahead of private firms, where large employers (more than 1,000 staff) lose 3.1% of work time and smaller companies 2.6%.
Mr Burn said tackling absence was 'more a case of carrot than stick' and public sector staff needed to be made to feel more valued and involved in the organisation.