Some of the biggest employers in the UK are in the public sector and in total over 6 million Britons work in this sector. Schools, councils and emergency services are at the forefront, but there are also many scientific posts and research positions to be found in the public 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.
The various departments of local government, for example, includes a huge variety of jobs. Social services requires everything 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 unique bodies set up 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 effect your local area, or even the nation, for the good through the quality of your work.
Job security - Job stability is often referenced as a major perk in this sector. The public sector is relatively stable, and whilst profit-based companies are prone to closure, public sector organisations have the stability of government-backing.
Working atmosphere - In terms of the atmosphere at work, the public sector is less demanding than the private sector. The cut-throat nature of work in a private company can be stressful. And, although the standards of work in the public sector are high, there isn't the obvious competitiveness often found in the private sector.
Flexitime – Government organisations are quite accommodating when it comes to recognizing the different circumstances of its 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 in the public sector.
Work less, earn more - If you're still not convinced about the benefits of working in the public sector, then you might be after this: 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 realising the potential in their staff. Employees are often encouraged, if not required, to improve their skills set by attending training programmes, or attaining external qualifications. This can lead to further career opportunities.
Pension scheme – Although there has been some furore over public sector pensions lately, having a guaranteed pensions scheme tied into your job is a substantial perk. Benefits in the public sector are 14% higher than comparable private sector benefits on average, according to the Institute of Fiscal Studies, which shows that things are still relatively good for public sector pensions.
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 regularly advertised. The main benefits are long-term, stable work with a high level of job satisfaction and a pension scheme. Have a look at our vacancies in this area.