Accountants, and other financial experts, are some of the most sought-after professionals and most difficult roles to fill on a global scale. You might think the private sector would be the most lucrative arena for such a valuable skillset, but why should you be thinking about taking a role in the public sector?
Accounting is one of the most in demand professions currently, particularly in the public sector. The public arena offers a wide array of different roles for a financial professional - from schools, hospitals, city council and governmental. In our ever-changing political climate and with the increasing privatisation of public services, projects are being given the green light at an accelerating pace. With this, the public sector needs more employees than ever both in trainee and management roles to keep up with the rate of work.
Although you may not think it would be the case, pay for those working in the public sector can rival the equivalent role in the private sector often for fewer hours per week. Although the base salary appears lower at a glance, the salary combined with increased pension contribution, core working hours and annual leave entitlement makes for better overall packages than the private sector.
What’s more, closing the gender pay gap is top of the agenda for the public sector, largely to greater public scrutiny than private sector businesses, as well as a generally larger female representation than the private sector. We’re seeing measures put in place such as appropriate retention and development programmes for women to help them progress to more senior levels.
In the public sector there is much room for growth and development as there is ample opportunity for training internally. External training is also equally valued. Enhancing your skills as much as possible is encouraged and training for graduates is often as good as, or better than, the private sector. There are so many unique challenges to working in the public sector that skills are automatically broadened as the work is entangled with complex strategies which can change according to constantly changing external variables.
The private sector is notoriously cut-throat when it comes to finance whereas the working culture in the public sector is a little more easygoing. A non profit-driven atmosphere also means for better working hours, with most employers offering flexitime and more of an emphasis on achieving a healthy work life balance. The public sector also boasts attractive pension schemes, retirement benefits and medical cover.
Government backing in the public sector tends to ensure better job stability. Unlike the private sector, external factors such as the market and stock values are less likely to influence those with financial careers working in the public sector. Additionally, those employed in the public sector are much more likely to be part of a union, where assistance can be found in the face of redundancy or pay-cuts.
Rather than the work you do being contained within a single company or organisation, the repercussions of your work could have limitless reach and you could have the chance to impact the biggest social issues facing us today. Potentially working locally, regionally or even nationally, public sector employees can have a direct impact on existing communities and communities yet to come. Working in the public sector also comes hand-in-hand with particular ethical responsibilities, ensuring taxpayers are receiving value for their money in responsible and sustainable ways.
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