Careers Advice Blog

Consider a job in the public sector

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In today’s money-driven world, a lot of emphasis is placed on securing private sector positions. Law firms, investment banks and the ‘big four’ accounting companies get tens of thousands of applications every year from eager graduates, looking to get a big name on their CV.

However, many people overlook a massive workforce in the UK that not only offers perks on the same level as the big name companies, but also offers graduates an opportunity to make a real difference: the public sector.

Far-reaching

Public sector work in the UK covers nearly every industry you could think of. There’s the obvious ones, like teaching and healthcare, and some things you may not have considered such as engineering and data analysis. Over five million people are currently employed in public sector jobs, so no matter what you’ve studied, or where your passion lies, you’re bound to find something to suit you.

Opportunities

Last summer, I was able to secure an internship with the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (DSTL). The application process was very simple – an application form asking some competency questions, a verbal and numerical test, and a competency based interview. Working there every day was incredibly rewarding, and I felt as though I was making a real difference to the security of the UK.

During my time there, I worked with soldiers, programmers and analysts, and found out just how many different opportunities there were in the public sector. I knew after my internship that I was definitely looking for a public sector position, but being based beside London, I wanted something a little bit closer to home.

The application process

The application processes vary from job to job, accounting for the broad spectrum of people that the public sector needs. The Civil Service Fast Stream makes use of many tests, including a verbal and mathematical test before you even answer any competency questions. Others place more focus on competency questions in the beginning – either way, you need to be able to show your passion for the job. However, with so many options available, this shouldn’t be a tough task.

Benefits

I have secured myself a job in project management with Transport for London, starting in September this year. Not only do I have the opportunity to work with one of the most important organisations in the UK, but there are multiple upsides besides the work itself. A great starting salary, free oyster card for me and a family member, a funded masters degree at UCL and a final salary pension scheme (almost unheard of anymore!) are all added bonuses that you wouldn’t find in a similar private sector job.

There’s also a guaranteed job at the end of the two years, providing that you successfully complete the scheme. It’s easy to see why someone with a passion for transport would be drawn to TfL rather than a private sector rail company!

The public sector isn’t a faceless part of the workforce filled with box-ticking and bureaucracy. It’s a place where your work actively assists the people of Britain, a place where your friends, neighbours, and strangers on the street are your customers, and a place where you have a vested interest in making sure that you do things right.

No matter what area you plan to enter after you graduate, make sure that you don’t overlook a job in the public sector – they have more to offer than you might think!

Would you consider working in the public sector? Why/why not? Let us know in the comments below!

Photo: Ilmicrofono Oggiono / Flickr

I’m Helena, a 21 year old recent physics graduate from Warwick university. In September I’ll be starting as a project management graduate with Transport for London. I love cooking, video games and writing, and I’m looking forward to taking the first step in my professional career!
Helena MorettiConsider a job in the public sector

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