More Than a Bureaucrat: Key Insights in Government Employment

jobs in U.S. government
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You know the slogan: Uncle Sam wants YOU! Today that’s truer than ever. Have you considered jobs in the private sector?

Regardless of your opinion on the political pendulum, the U.S. government is an essential body that facilitates daily life in America. And the real heroes of the story are not the names you hear on TV: government workers are in many cases the beating heart of our system. And while the work may stereotypically be seen as monotonous or even jaded, working in the private sector can be nuanced and fulfilling. Positive aspects of government employment include high levels of stability and impressive benefits that are difficult to equal in the private sector. The government needs workers across almost all disciplines to ensure the smooth running of the nation, which is good news for jobseekers. On the other hand, government work offers relatively lower wages and slow salary growth, and the heavy bureaucratic element can be as time-consuming and frustrating internally as it is for the general public. Likewise, government work has been slightly less stable than usual in recent times: two government shutdowns have taken place since January 2018, out of only 20 total U.S. government shutdowns; before these two shutdowns, the most recent were in 2013 and 1995-1996. The recent shutdowns left up to 800,000 workers without paychecks for a time. But this is an uncommon level of disruption not expected to continue, and generally speaking, government employment is a strong and stable option for people considering their long-term prospects.s

There are about 2 million civilians employed in the private sector, in addition to another 1.3 million active-duty military workers and around half a million postal workers. Government employement is facing the same skills gap pressuring every industry, and you can expect a similar focus on talent development and boom in new kinds of jobs becoming available. As generational shift is simultaneously changing the way the workforce views their work, the government should start pursuing new talent management strategies focus on attracting new talent and improving the quality of life for existing workers.

Overall, with improvements in the private sector, strong benefits, and the government’s reputation for being relatively recession-proof, it is a great time to consider seeking work with Uncle Sam.

Key Insights in Government Employment

  • Transformation is inevitable. Technology is rapidly changing all walks of life in this so-called Fourth Industrial Revolution, and the public sector is no exception. While legislative issues may be slow to change, the government is starting to catch up to the private sector in the application of new technologies, from AI to big data and the cloud. They are also applying modern approaches like behavioral science to bureaucratic processes. Digital transformation in the government space can be expected to improve functionality, user experience, and the lives and prospects of government workers.
  • Innovation from within. Recognizing the need to step up their technological outfit and optimize outdated processes, the government has also begun to apply its vast resources to innovation from within. This will provide improved functionality and potentially speed the development, implementation and adaptation of new technologies that will strengthen the government, reduce user error and improve the government’s reputation for bureaucratic pace. Innovation is no longer stuck in Silicon Valley: it’s heading to the capital.
  • A brighter future for government workers. While talent management and development have been all the rage in the private sector over the last few years as the reality of the skills gap has set in and companies need to keep key talent to stay ahead of their competitors, the public sector has been slower to adapt. But this is beginning to change as the government recognizes the need to improve processes for workers and attract and retain employees. Government agencies are in the early stages of reconstructing an outdated idea of workplace and worker, but these changes are beginning to occur, and once they do it will only mean good things for employees. Combined with the longstanding benefits of government work, these changes will make public sector employment hard to beat.

Where the Government is Hiring

With over 3 million employees total, the U.S. government is a massive employer of citizens across all branches. We’ve aggregated the branches most actively hiring on Lensa to give you a place to state:

Government Metro Area Distribution

Contrary to popular belief, the lion’s share of government jobs exist outside of the nation’s capital: only about 21% of government positions are in the Washington, D.C and Maryland area. The regions with the highest numbers of government employment:

  • California
  • Washington, D.C.
  • Virginia
  • Maryland
  • Texas

Are you interested in working for the government? Check out job postings on Lensa to find a position near you.

Blog post expiration date: November 10, 2020

Paige Richmond

Paige Richmond

Paige is a Silicon Valley native who has spent the last five years based in Budapest, Hungary. After finishing her M.A. in Medieval Studies, she spent three years producing leading global HR tech conferences and building their startup product, working closely with talent industry influencers and leading practitioners. She is now a full-time content and copywriting professional.

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