Four Reasons to Work for the Government
Stan Paul, general manager of CareerBuilder.com's Government Services Group
Consider these pop-culture heroes: Miranda Bailey, a resident surgeon on Grey's Anatomy. Jack Bauer, a government agent for the Counter Terrorist Unit (CTU) on 24. Dana Scully, an FBI agent on The X-Files. What do they all have in common? Not only are they all ruthless, intelligent, in-your-face television characters -- they all work for the government.
That's right. The government.
The stuffy, conservative, monotonous portion of our working world, filled with indolent and mindless workers. That's that what the government is, right? Wrong.
For whatever reason, the U.S. government (and nation's largest employer) has a bad rap. Some of the many stereotypes surrounding the government include assumptions that all government jobs are located in Washington, D.C.; everyone works for the federal government; the majority of the jobs within the government are boring; and government employees are listless, ineffective bureaucrats.
The reality is that only about 15 percent of federal employees work in Washington, D.C. -- the other 85 percent is in other U.S. territories and foreign countries. In 2006, there was 2.7 million civilian employees and 1.4 million in military uniform in the federal government. So, not only are there thousands of excellent jobs and people in the government -- there are jobs that haven't been the topic of a movie or TV show, but very well could (and should) be.
That's why more sites like WorkforAmerica.com, a new site dedicated to federal government job search and information, are popping up across the Web. WorkforAmerica.com helps expedite the recruitment process by connecting top job candidates interested in the public sector with key federal agencies such as the CIA, U.S. Navy, Department of Homeland Security, Department of Veteran Affairs and Department of Energy.
The federal government offers unique opportunities for job seekers that can't be found in the public sector. WorkforAmerica.com provides job seekers a means to explore job avenues they may have never known about and join organizations that have a national impact.
Need a reason to work for the U.S. government? How about four?
Reason No. 1: Flexible Qualifications
Years of experience can frequently replace college education in a government position. Senior level government positions may not require a college degree at all, while similar corporate positions do. Plus, the government hires people at all levels of experience and education: inexperienced high school graduates, college students, retiring veterans, GEDs and Ph.D.s. The government is also more likely to hire older qualified workers.
Reason No. 2: Pay and Benefits
Government salaries are comparable to corporate counterparts. The government offers locality pay, so your salary reflects your area's cost of living. Plus, the government is known for strong employee benefits, which are the same for every employee. They receive, among other benefits:
- >> Thirteen sick days per year that roll over;
- >> Ten paid holidays and vacation time that increases over the years;
- >> Flexible work schedules and teleworking options;
- >> Options for extending healthcare coverage to parents, adult children and other family questions.
Some agencies offer public transit subsidies, recruitment bonuses, student loan repayment and relocation assistance. The government's retirement benefits are secure, unlike the private sector. Government pensions are based on salary and years of service, and health insurance continues into retirement.
Reason No. 3: Job Security
While today's corporate jobs are more subject to downsizing, job security is one of the most noteworthy advantages of government employment. Though the government is known for its strict hierarchal structure and strict guidelines/procedures, these protocols protect your job from elimination. Thus, government jobs offer the luxury of planning for the future.
Reason No. 4: Hiring Outlook
The government is always hiring. In fact, there may be up to 18,000 job vacancies at any given time. Employees are always retiring, being promoted or moving to the private sector. So despite national trends toward downsizing and budget cuts, the government always has job openings due to turnover.
Still not convinced why you should work for the government? See if these choice government jobs change your mind:
What you'll do: Search for, collect and preserve physical evidence in the investigation of crime and suspected criminals; examine evidence; prepare findings; and give expert testimony in court. You might even work under unpleasant and adverse conditions, including high places, dangerous locations, and in proximity to dead bodies and biological and chemical hazards, in order to investigate crime scenes.
What you'll earn: $54,700 annually
What you'll do: Investigate causes of death, assign a cause and manner of death and list them on the death certificate. The cause of death refers to the disease, injury or poison that caused the death. You'll also decide if a death occurred under natural circumstances or was due to accident, homicide, suicide or undetermined means or circumstances.
What you'll earn: $134,016 annually
What you'll do: Examining the causes of accidents and work to prevent them from happening again; determine the cost of an accident; fill out legal documents; determine compliance with applicable safety regulations; process workers' compensation claims.
What you'll earn: $59,258 annually
What you'll do: Keep your eye on the approximately 1.4 million offenders who are incarcerated in prison at any given time; maintain security and inmate accountability to prevent disturbances, assaults, and escapes.
What you'll earn: $33,600 annually
What you'll do: Supervise cash flows in organizations, audit government accounts and sometimes certify expenditures. Some comptrollers examine the way the state government does just about everything in search of ways to do it better.
What you'll earn: $55,800 annually
Salary data provided by BLS and CBsalary.com.
Stan Paul is General Manager of CareerBuilder.com's Government Services Group. He is an expert in recruitment trends in government.
Copyright 2007 CareerBuilder.com.