Working for a Public Employer
Teachers. Police officers. Firemen. Librarians. Air traffic controllers. Bridge inspectors. Public health department lab technicians. Our communities work in large part because of the day-in and day-out work of people who work for “public employers” -- local, state and federal government agencies and organizations. These are numerous, nationwide organizations such as the military, public school systems and universities, courts, post offices, and park services. There are more than 86,000 public employers in the U.S. and 23 million public employees.
The Difference between Working for a Public or Private Employer
Perhaps you have heard news reports about “private sector” jobs or you know someone who has said that they work in the “public sector.” What does that mean?
The terms “public” and “private” sector describe the difference between working for a government agency/organization and working for a non-government employer. Working for a public employer means that you are working for the government – the federal government, or your state or local government. At each level (federal, state and local) the goal of government jobs is to provide benefits for the public good.
Private employers, however, provide goods or services for a price. Their goal is to offer a product or service that creates a financial profit for the owners of the company and people who invest in it by purchasing stocks or bonds issued by the company.
You can find interesting and satisfying jobs in both the private and public sectors. When considering possible jobs and evaluating potential employers it’s wise to know the difference and what that might mean in terms of benefits, opportunities and potential drawbacks.
If you, a family member or someone you love works for a public employer it’s important to know the unique opportunities and benefits you may be able to tap into to help secure your financial future.