Pros and Cons of Having a Government Job

Pros and Cons of Having a Government Job

When you’re looking for work, you have two options. You can work in the private sector or you can work in the government. If you haven’t already considered government work, it’s worth looking into. Learn more about the pros and cons of government work to find out if a government job is the best option for you.

Understanding Government Jobs

Before you start looking into government work, there are a few things you should know. Government jobs are jobs offered by any government entity. Typically, these jobs can be at a municipal, county, state, or federal level.

Most government jobs require workers to serve both the people and the government, but there is some variation. Just as there is significant variation in the private sector, government jobs and their duties vary drastically. You might work in HR, for a park and recreational department, or any other number of industries. If you think of all the ways in which the government serves you, then you might be able to imagine the sheer diversity of jobs in government.

Here are a few examples of government jobs:



HR Specialist


Customer Service Rep




Activity Coordinator

What Education and Experience Do You Need?

Because there are so many government jobs you can have, the experience and education levels are across the board. Compared to the private sector, government jobs tend to offer more entry-level positions. However, there are still jobs that require graduate degrees and years of experience.

If you’re interested in a government job, you should first look into the requirements. Government positions tend to be less flexible than private sector ones when it comes to education and experience. If you don’t have the right requirements for a job, you should consider what it would take to meet those requirements. There may be an entry-level position in a similar niche, and that could set you up for career success.

The Pros of Government Work

Why would you want to work in government? People opt for government work for multiple reasons, like the following:


In the private sector, a company can go out of business at any time. A successful business could very quickly become unsuccessful due to a poor economy or bad management. However, a government job won’t ever be redundant. Even though your particular role might change or even disappear, they won’t leave you on the streets. If one government agency closes, there will be a new opening somewhere else.

To sum it up, people always need the government. A bad economy or pandemic doesn’t shut down the government. In fact, disasters and emergencies usually provide employees with even more job stability.


Because government agencies are less about profit and more about service, there’s no massive push for workers to stay late or work weekends. As far as the work-life-balance goes, government jobs tend to be much more accommodating. Since the pandemic, there has been an increase in remote and hybrid government roles.

This isn’t to say that government jobs aren’t challenging or time-consuming. If you work in a sector that offers emergency services, you can expect significant stress. Nevertheless, you still have a more stable schedule than you would in a private job.

Time Off

Government roles offer generous leave time. Although this isn't anyways true, most managers are more willing to offer leave. You also get time off for federal holidays and possibly other local holidays.

Great Benefits

As a general rule, government benefits tend to be better than private sector benefits. Usually, health care plans in the government cost less than in private jobs. The retirement plans are usually much more appealing. In a recession, the benefits aren't as good but are still better than in the private sector.

The Cons of Government Work

There are some disadvantages that come with working a government job. Here are a few drawbacks you should consider when deciding which sector is best for you.

Lower Salary

If you work for the government, you shouldn’t expect to have much salary growth. In the private sector, employers are quick to increase salaries based on inflation and performance. However, in the government, raises are small and relatively rare. If you want to have a higher salary, you may need to go for a promotion or switch careers.

Along the same lines, government jobs usually come with a capped earning potential. You could make more money in the private sector than you could in the government sector. If you want to reach your true earning potential, you might need to switch to the same role in a private company.

Less Control

When you work for a private company, you can give some degree of input to your employer. Your manager might even come to you for ideas. But the government isn’t a business. If you have a problem with a process, you can’t necessarily change that process. There’s too much red tape to get past, and upper management doesn’t usually listen to your input.

In government, you need approval for everything. The chain of command can be highly frustrating and make your job difficult. If you go into a government role, be prepared for a little frustration.

Finding Your First Government Job

After reading this, you might realize that a government job is right for you. And if you’re on the fence, don’t let the drawbacks keep you from finding work. There are plenty of great government jobs available if you know where to look.

You can find government jobs on your favorite job search platform or on the government jobs website. Before you start your job search, pick out which type of job you want. Make sure you have the appropriate qualifications and an updated resume.

Almost all government jobs require a background check. If you haven’t already run a background check on yourself, this could be a great time to do it. Even though you might not have any arrests, mistaken identities happen. You should ensure your background check will turn up clear because the process could take several months.

Start Applying

What’s keeping you from the job search? Start applying for government or private sector jobs and be a step closer to the perfect job.

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