What are the Different Types of Employment in the Public Sector?

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  • Written By: Susan Grindstaff
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 06 November 2019
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Employment in the public sector generally defines employment by a central government. In the United States (US), that includes the federal government, state governments, and local governments such as counties or cities. Wide varieties of jobs are generally available in the public sector, ranging from lower skilled jobs in maintenance and janitorial to professional jobs such as physicians and attorneys. Maintaining roadways and mass transit systems make up a large part of public sector employment, as do jobs in education, social services and law enforcement.

Education is one of the largest areas of employment in the public sector. Most all countries offer some type of public education, and people who work within that system are generally paid by their governments. This usually includes anyone employed within the school system, including non-professional workers such as janitorial and cafeteria workers. In the US, people working within a specific school system are usually employed by various government bodies, including federal, state and local governments.

Transportation departments typically offer a wide variety of employment in the public sector, such as maintaining and developing roads and highways. Governments typically have their own engineers and geologists who work in planning new roads and bridges. In addition, they generally employ full-time laborers to build new systems and help maintain existing ones. These jobs include heavy equipment operators, truck drivers, and safety inspectors. Air traffic controllers and aviation safety inspectors are also types of public sector jobs within the field of transportation.


Other types of employment in the public sector include employment in social services. Some of these jobs include social engineers who typically work in programs designed to help families in need. This includes the administration of food programs, assistance in finding employment, and family counseling. Other public sector jobs in social services include medical personnel involved in public health programs.

Law enforcement is another area that offers several types of employment in the public sector. This generally includes local police departments, as well as federal law enforcement agencies such as the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Border Patrol, and US Marshals. In the US, each state also has its own law enforcement divisions, typically referred to as state patrols.

In terms of employment, private sector jobs are jobs offered by private companies and corporations. Though similar jobs usually pay higher salaries in the private sector, employment in the public sector often offers more job security and better benefits. Many people find lifetime careers within the public sector.


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