Government jobs vs. private sector jobs

Written by s. herlihy
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One way of dividing jobs is between those in the public sector and those in the private sector. Private sector jobs constitute employment with companies that are either non-profit or created with the intention of earning money for company officials and potential investors. A public sector job is a job with the city, state or national government. Each form of employment has both advantages and disadvantages.

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Government Jobs

Local and national governments employ millions of people in many different fields. A government employee may work as a teacher in a state school, a mail carrier, firefighter or government-funded medical researcher. An employee can also work for both the private sector and public sector at the same time. A small businessman may have contracts to deliver food to government-run nursing homes and local restaurants.

Private Sector Jobs

A private sector job is a job with a company or other business entity such as an organisation. Examples of private sector jobs include a newspaper reporter, veterinarian, pilot and hotel owner. Private sector employers must still obey many government regulations such as minimum wage laws, safety standards and unemployment compensation.

Advantages of Government Jobs

Government employees often have access to comprehensive benefits such as health insurance, life insurance, pensions and weeks of paid time off. A government employee also faces a reduced risk of layoff and firings. Many government employees are members of unions that can lobby elected officials on their behalf.

Advantages of Private Sector Jobs

Private sector employment has many advantages. Employees may have access to lavish and luxurious perks such as company cars, private vacation facilities and exercise gyms, or may be allowed to buy company stock at a reduced price through stock options. The employee also may be rewarded with bonuses and access to low-cost loans to purchase housing.

Disadvantages of Government Jobs

An employee who works in the public sector may not earn large raises. Many municipalities limit annual raises to 4 per cent or lower. Employees in the public sector are also usually not eligible for year-end bonuses. Most public sector employees can expect their salary to remain stable if they stay in their jobs long term.

Disadvantages of Private Sector Employment

Private sector employees can expect less job security. Layoffs and firings are common. Even high-level employees in upper management are not immune to market forces or the effects of the occasional poor management decision.

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