Over 6 million Britons work in the public sector. Schools, councils and emergency services are at the forefront, but there are also many scientific posts and research positions to be found within the sector.
What is the public sector?
Any organisation run by the government and funded by tax-payers’ money can be classified as public sector. This includes local and national councils, NHS hospitals and clinics, emergency services, schools, and much more. Various local government departments, for example, includes a wide variety of jobs. Social services positions range from administrators to counsellors, and from psychologists to statisticians. Councils and government-backed organisations often require marketing specialists, scientific consultants and political researchers. There are also specialist bodies established by the government to cater for specific needs, such as environmental agencies. Researchers, scientists and engineers are highly valued in such organisations.
Help your community – As someone whose salary is being funded by taxpayers, a sense of responsibility to the community is instilled in public sector workers. The flip side of this is that you can directly affect your local community, or even the nation, for the good through the work you carry out.
Job security – Job stability is often referenced as a major perk as it is relatively stable. Whilst profit-based companies are prone to closure, public sector organisations have the stability of government-backing.
Working atmosphere – the public sector is regarded by many as less demanding than the private sector. The cut-throat nature of work in a private company can be stressful and damaging. And, although the standards of work are high, there isn’t the obvious competitiveness which is often found in the private sector.
Flexitime – Government organisations are quite accommodating when it comes to recognizing the different circumstances of their employees. Flexible working hours are common – usually based around a core time of hours, or on a ‘shift work’ basis. Part-time jobs and job sharing can be also found.
Work less, earn more – If you’re still not convinced about the benefits, then this may grab your interest: Public sector staff work nine years less and earn 30% more than private-sector employees throughout their lifetime, according to this report.
Staff training schemes – Public sector organisations are committed to realizing their staff’s potential. Employees are often encouraged, if not required, to enhance their skills set by participating in training programmes, progressing their professional development or achieving external qualifications. This can lead to further career opportunities.
Pension scheme – Although there has been some controversy over pensions in recent years, having a guaranteed pensions scheme tied into your employment is a substantial perk. Benefits in the public sector are 14% higher than the comparable private sector according to the Institute of Fiscal Studies.
Public or Private?
Although academics tend to gravitate towards either intellectually stimulating university work or financially rewarding private-sector jobs, the public sector is an equally viable option. Here on jobs.ac.uk, research jobs at the NHS, meteorological institutes and other public sector organisations are consistently advertised. The main attracting benefits are long-term, stable work with a high level of job satisfaction and a pension scheme.