Don’t Dismiss A Career In The Public Sector

34There is currently a debate raging online about the pros and cons of a job in the public sector. Some people say that cutbacks have eliminated the benefits while others, such as Blair McPherson, writing on the Public Service website, argue that it still provides a better work environment than the private sector. Here’s a summary of main benefits of a public sector career. What do you think?

In the public sector you used to sacrifice salary for benefits such as a good pension and job security. Now in this era of austerity things have changed. Pension benefits have been slashed and the public sector is shedding employees as fast as everyone else. You might think that this means that the public sector will struggle to attract Britain’s best talent in the future.

However, there is another way of looking at the situation. The changes that are tearing through the civil service are actually making a public sector career much more interesting. Instead of tedium and constant training days the focus is now on efficiency, targets and return on investment. Sound like a private sector job? That’s because it is!

While many graduates chose the security of a government job an equal number decided that they preferred the cut-and-thrust of the private sector. Nowadays public sector jobs come with challenges and still offer a range of benefits that are largely unavailable elsewhere. One major benefit is the idea of serving your community and even, unfashionable as this sounds, your country. The public sector offers a wide range of jobs that plunge graduates right into the thick of society and allow them to solve problems and help people every day.

Pensions may have been cut for new recruits but then they have also dropped in the private sector. Graduates must now face up to the fact that their standard of living upon retirement is their own responsibility and not something that you simply outsource to your employer. While budget cuts and performance targets are now ubiquitous the focus of most public sector jobs remains on providing a service to the public rather than on boosting profits.

Another advantage of a public sector job is that it allows you to control your work-life balance. In a private company you stay late if your boss wants you too and put in extra hours if you are chasing a promotion or bonus. The recession has pushed more and more people into voluntarily working longer hours as they are afraid of losing their jobs. In the public sector this pressure is much lower. Add concepts such as flexitime to the mix and a civil service job starts to look very attractive to new graduates that value their free time as well as their career progression.

The public sector may have cut back on waste but it is still determined to enforce its equal opportunities employment mandate. This means that there is no glass ceiling in the civil service for women or minorities. Your ambitions are only tempered by your talent and not by antiquated corporate cultures and individual’s prejudices.

The public sector has always had a strong professional culture. Scientists, doctors and specialists have far more say in policy matters in the civil service than they do in business. The long-term planning in the civil service also allows its employees to work on meaningful projects without the fear that they will be axed at short notice in order to meet third-quarter targets.

On balance, a career in the public sector is just as rewarding as one in business and it is becoming much easier to switch between them. There is no such thing as a job for life in the 21st Century and the parallel but separate worlds of private and public sector employment are converging fast. For today’s graduates the public sector is still a serious option and may just have the edge over the business world.


If you are interested in a public sector job or would like more information about our opinions of what the advantages and disadvantages of working in the public and private sectors please give us a call. We always have a large selection of both public and private jobs available and are always here for a chat.

Public Sector