Advantages and Disadvantages of Government Jobs

There are three main employment sectors in the United States: public, private and self-employment. Each sector has its advantages and drawbacks. When entering the workforce, carefully analyze the pros and cons of each sector and the particulars of each job for which you apply. According to an article on the "Kiplinger" website, 44 percent of federal employees may be eligible for retirement by 2011. As of the date of publication, there may be many openings in the government sector as federal employees retire.

  1. Favorable Benefits

    • Government jobs offer favorable benefits. The "Washington Post" describes them as being "unrivaled by any U.S. employer." Of note, federal employees have the widest selection of health care plans and enjoy considerable paid time off. Government employees do not work on federal holidays, for example. In addition, some agencies in the public sector offer additional benefits, such as student loan repayment and pensions.

    Lower Entry-Level Salaries

    • Salary is often a hot topic when discussing the public and private sectors. Government entry-level jobs typically pay less than the private sector. Those looking to break into the government sector must weigh this as a disadvantage. The good news is that the pay grades between the private and public sectors even out over time and some agencies eventually pay salaries greater than those being earned in the private sector.

    Job Satisfaction

    • One common misconception about government jobs is that the work environment is stuffy and that the employees hate their jobs. Many federal workers have a relatively high level of job satisfaction. In addition to job satisfaction, a government job is generally more secure than in the private sector. Unlike the private sector, government workers can appeal personnel decisions.

    Lengthy Application Process

    • Landing a government job generally requires an extensive application process. It is not uncommon for the process to last several months. This may be particularly disadvantageous for workers who need to find a job in the short-term. In addition to long application times, working for the government may involve bureaucratic red tape, which some workers may find suffocating or frustrating.

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