The Australian Public Service (APS) comprises around 7% of the country’s total jobs and employs more than 2.1 million people. While the APS is a significant driver of employment in Australia, for many professionals who have worked predominantly in the private sector it’s a difficult decision to make the switch.

When it comes to choosing whether to go public vs private, the right fit depends on your priorities and career goals. That said, those who enter the public sector stand to benefit from a range of perks that make it easy to see why many government employees stay in the APS for the entirety of their careers.

If you’re considering a public service job, here are five key benefits of working in government you can look forward to.

1. Flexibility

Most public sector departments and agencies across Australia have flexible work arrangements in place, allowing employees to design a work schedule that fits with their other responsibilities. This can include the ability to work remotely or on a hybrid arrangement. Flexible working hours are also common.

In addition, many public sector employers have offices located in regional hubs throughout Australia. This can significantly reduce the commute time for those who live outside the city but need or want to work in the office.

2. Work/life balance

The APS recognises that having a positive work/life balance is critical to staying productive and engaged at work. To that end, many APS jobs have short standard working weeks (for example, 35 hours instead of the standard 37.5 hours) or benefits such as rostered days off (RDOs). In many cases, overtime work is also paid.

On top of that, if you plan to take time off for a sabbatical or to pursue further study, many public service employers offer arrangements to take extended leave while retaining your job.

3. Mobility

The sheer scope of the public sector means opportunities to move vertically or laterally in your career are almost limitless. The majority of public sector employers have formalised training programs available to assist in upskilling and reskilling employees. 

Teams also work within a performance management framework, which encourages managers and employees to regularly meet and discuss learning, development and career progression opportunities. 

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4. Job security

In the private sector, businesses are continually transforming, merging and restructuring to keep up with the evolving market and changing business requirements. Unfortunately this can have a negative impact on job security and be a stressor for employees.

Generally speaking, APS jobs are more secure because the public sector doesn’t operate with a profit motive, employers don’t need to be as reactive to changing market conditions and departments exist to provide an ongoing service to the community. 

5. You can make a difference

Many APS employees feel that working in the public sector gives them the opportunity to meaningfully contribute to society in a way that can’t be matched by the private sector. Regardless of your area of work, being employed by the APS means helping to build safe, functioning communities, grow the economy and improve lives. 

Considering a move to the public service? Browse our latest APS jobs or talk to the team at Michael Page about opportunities in your field.

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