Over 1.5% of the total workforce in the U.S. is employed by the federal government. That amounts to an estimated 2.2 million civilian workers representing more than 650 occupations spread among 100+ government agencies.
With the recent announcement of President Trump to suspend the pay raise for federal employees, many Americans have become apprehensive about joining the public sector. However, the act has yet to be put into effect. Even with the suspension of automatic pay raise, federal workers earn 17% more total compensation compared to their counterparts in the private sector.
If you’ve been trying to decide between applying for a federal position and working for a private corporation, here are some factors you should consider before making the choice:
The first thing every person looking for a job thinks is job security. When you start working for an organization, you want to know you’ll have the job for as long as you want and won’t get fired without notice. Compared to private sector jobs, federal jobs are quite secure. The rules within the public sector are designed to protect employees and their rights. In the case of private sector jobs, workers have to rely on unions and contracts for job security.
Compensation is the main reason why anyone gets a job. You want to know the pay you’re getting is fair for the work you’re doing and enough to cover your expenses comfortably.
While federal employees receive lower salaries as compared to private sector jobs, the overall total compensation is far more generous than what they’d get working for a private organization.
According to a 2016 survey, the average salary for federal workers was estimated at around $97,000 per person, whereas it was only $68,141 for those working in the private sector.
As a general rule, benefits offered in the federal sector tend to be much better than private sector jobs. Most federal employees enjoy benefits such as health, sick leaves, paid federal and other holidays, vacations, consistent raises, retirement benefits, and much more. The retirement benefits are especially great for federal workers with highly lucrative pension plans.
Comparatively, the private sector doesn’t offer most of these benefits unless you’re working for a large organization. Benefits can be pretty scarce in the private sector, especially if you’re working for a startup, a small business, or your own company.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, only 8% of the firms in the private sector offer defined benefit programs that cover retirement and pensions.
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