For graduates and aspiring recruits, the public sector has always been a popular career path. Apart from the obvious advantages of job security and favorable working conditions, it is also a place for the ambitious, with increasingly structured opportunities for personal growth and career advancement. In addition, the ability to make a difference and work on exciting and challenging issues is essential in attracting and retaining staff in the public sector. There is no better opportunity to shape our society’s future, which resonates with our current workforce and the next generation of recruits.
Organizations are increasingly looking for capable candidates motivated by a sense of purpose and overall goals. Public administration can provide rewarding careers and requires motivated individuals to pave the way. Here are some key reasons that many are considering a career in the public service sector.
For younger employees, there is both a demand and an opportunity. At any given time, the government is looking to fill thousands of positions that require a diverse set of skills and interests. Working for the government can also provide a career that incorporates many of the characteristics that younger workers seek in a job.
Looking to the public sector could be an opportunity to find a role that fulfills a hunger for purpose and a desire to contribute to the greater good for those who have been on the fence about a new job or career for a while or for those who need to find a new opportunity due to the changing market. Not to mention, working in the public sector allows you to directly improve people’s lives on a large scale. Furthermore, there are some lesser-known advantages to working for the government, which include the following:
Making a difference – Government positions have an impact on the lives of all citizens and can even influence people all over the world. Government employees will have exciting and challenging opportunities to research and contribute to solutions at home and abroad. When you think of government, you might picture someone running for office or sitting at a desk all day reading bills. While these options are certainly available, there are other opportunities in this space that can capitalize on your skills and interests. A background in mathematics, for example, could help you land a job as a government accountant.
Work and life balance – Sure, government work has a bad reputation for being too stiff and buttoned-up, but some “old-school” policies can benefit you — by allowing you to have a life outside work. Government jobs have traditionally not required overtime and have provided employees with more predictable schedules than jobs in the private sector. You also won’t have to leave work to log back in. Many government agencies have strict policies prohibiting employees from taking work-related documents or technology outside the office. Furthermore, government agencies emphasize work-life balance.
Training – Working in local government provides an excellent opportunity to expand your knowledge, develop your skills and improve your resume. You’ll get to work on various tasks and projects, learn from a diverse range of people and develop into a well-rounded team member with job-specific skills. You’ll also have access to excellent training opportunities because local governments believe in recognizing and rewarding talent. Whether or not you stay in local government in the long run, this is fantastic news for your resume and will prepare you for whatever comes next in your career.
Job security – Even though budgets in the public sector are frequently tight, many public sector employees remain in their positions for years. Moreover, because the individual job roles are within essential services, there is often a high level of job security. In a post-Covid world, everyone is much clearer than before about which services are critical to society’s overall running and functioning.
Employee benefits – Employers in the public sector understand that they cannot compete on salary with private firms. So instead, they implement employee benefits that are well received by their employees. This could include policies such as paid time off, improved healthcare plans, improved retirement plans and employee wellness policies. In addition, because they are not solely judged on financial results, public sector employers are more likely to provide flexible working opportunities.
Opportunities – At the federal level, more than two million civilian workers were employed in hundreds of different occupations in May 2021. Whatever your professional interests or skills, there is a federal job for you. Local governments are committed to promoting equality. This means they strive to be safe and welcoming environments for all people and will not tolerate discrimination based on race, gender, disability or other characteristics. Local government is also likely to be a forward-thinking environment on issues ranging from equality and inclusion to mental health and empowering women in leadership positions. Local governments exist to serve the entire community. If you’re passionate about equality and helping everyone thrive, a career in local government is an excellent fit for you.
Growth and development – Local government is a diverse and ever-changing environment. If you’re looking for a challenging job where no two days are the same, this could be the place for you. The sector is always looking for new talent and provides a dynamic environment for that talent to flourish. Working in local government allows you to stretch your wings, try new things and avoid the dreaded workplace rut. In addition, local governments recognize that young people are the future and will assist in your personal and professional development.
Where you fit in
Where you fit in within the public service sector largely depends on your interests and passions in life. In this section, we will explore the various careers you can have within public service and what each of them entails.
Education – The term “public education” refers to any tuition-free and publicly funded school that is part of a governed school system. Both Canada and the United States have extensive public education systems. As a result, numerous career paths are available, including teaching, administration, technology, curriculum development and support services. In addition, online education and teaching degrees provide a convenient route into the field of public education.
Law – Environmental protection, discrimination, human rights, immigration, consumer protection and women’s issues are areas of public concern addressed by public interest law. Nonprofit legal services, public defense offices, labor unions, local and provincial/state government offices and private public interest law firms provide public service.
Emergency – The process of preparing for, responding to and recovering from a crisis, such as an earthquake, fire, storm, hazardous materials incident or civil disturbance, is referred to as emergency management. Professional roles in the field are diverse, ranging from environmental protection to risk analysis, emergency response and information systems.
Health – Public health aims to improve health at both the local and global levels. Public health is a broad field that includes everything from medicine to public policy. Worldwide health and epidemics, environmental health, community health, children’s health, health policy and biostatistics and informatics are all critical areas of public health.
Safety – These occupations are dedicated to preventing, mitigating and responding to issues that endanger the general public’s well-being, such as crime, natural disasters, property damage and fire. Fire departments, law enforcement agencies, correctional facilities, emergency medical services and emergency management agencies are common public safety organizations. Several public safety jobs require a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice. In addition, if you are thinking of public safety Canada jobs, for example, institutions such as Wilfred Laurier University specialize in this area.
Social – Organizations and groups working in the public interest of people with disabilities and the elderly aim to improve their health, well-being and safety. Family caregiver support, adult protective services, meals for seniors, senior community services, disability discrimination and vocational training are some examples of programs and areas of care. In addition, these fields offer numerous career opportunities, ranging from working in a rehabilitation department to participating in a youth employment opportunity program.
Military – Military service entails joining the armed forces, such as the Navy, Marine Corps, Army, Coast Guard or Air Force. This complex system is made up of individuals who serve in a variety of roles, both military and civilian. Military pay is determined by several factors, including the service member’s rank, duty assignment, location, service time and branch of service.
Volunteering is a great way to prepare for a career in public service if you are interested in doing so. Whether you volunteer at a nonprofit, charity or governmental agency, the benefits you will reap could significantly impact your future.
Public versus private
The public and private sectors are simply different types of employment. The critical distinction is who pays the salaries, the government or a private company. In addition, some careers and job types are only available in the public or private sectors. However, there are many job opportunities available in both.
As previously stated, public sector jobs involve providing an essential public service and ensuring local communities can access what they require. On the other hand, private-sector job roles are all about making as much money as possible for the employer, even if social good is a secondary motivation. It is well known that employees in the private sector can earn more money. This is because private employers have access to larger budgets that are not subject to public scrutiny. However, because their worth and success are based on social objectives, public sector employees frequently experience a greater sense of reward and achievement.
Public sector employees are evaluated based on the overall community impact of the project. By taking this approach, they frequently feel that they are genuinely making a positive difference in their community, which is a motivating feeling. It’s fascinating to see how diverse the work in the public sector is. Some job roles, such as firefighters, are almost entirely restricted to the public sector. However, there are often plenty of opportunities to mix and match your experience. Some people may devote their entire careers to working in the public sector. Others may alternate between roles in the public and private sectors. Others, particularly those working part-time hours or as freelancers or external contractors, may seamlessly blend the two.
There are numerous advantages to working in the public sector. Before deciding if a life of public service is right for you, it is critical that you fully understand the pros and cons and weigh them. Many public sector employees describe feeling a “calling” and feel compelled to work in jobs that benefit their community. These employees are frequently better suited to the role because it fits their personality type.
You can work in the public sector or seamlessly switch between the public and private sectors throughout your career. You may discover that you learn a lot more and gain new insights and expertise, which benefits your personal development and makes you more employable. Finally, only you will know if working in the public sector is a good fit. If it is, it is an enriching opportunity to feel as if you are making a real difference in your community.
Even though we have been living in difficult times, we believe that our public sector heroes inspire genuine acts of kindness, support and generosity in all of us. If you, like many of us, have been humbled by these moments, now may be a better time than ever to join the valiant efforts of our public services and take your career in a purposeful and rewarding direction.