The article is devoted to the assessment of qualification and working conditions which influence civil servant pay levels. The paper analyses two groups of measures: qualification and professionalism measures (e.g., level of education, work experience, etc.) and working conditions measures (e.g., work location, working hours, etc.). The empirical base of the research is the survey conducted by the Russian Public Opinion Research Center (VTsIOM) in 2017. The results of the regression analysis show that there are distinctions in measures determining civil servants’ pay differentiation in comparison with the average pay in the economy and with the civil servants’ expected pay. Civil servant pay levels should be more explained by qualification and professionalism than it is now. The research results would be useful for the optimisation of the civil servant pay system in Russia.