Pros and Cons of employment in Civil service or government sector – an Open Speech
Firstly, there is a job security factor. Once an applicant is successful in being offered employment, he is well assured of being employed as long as he does not create anarchy or break too many General Orders. Even if he is guilty of a few indiscretions, he will most probably get away with it without any serious repercussions. At most, he will be given verbal then written warnings, even counseling. Sometimes he is downgraded and his job is not at stake. The starting pay may be low and promotions are few and far in between, but with Cuepacs, the umbrella body for civil servants unions, speaking up for them, there are provisions for bonuses and pay revision. In a nutshell, the job is his for life.
Unlike the private sector, it is not so stable. The work ethics are more stringent and employees have been known to be dismissed for the flimsiest reasons. Then, there are the uncertainties when companies downsize followed by retrenchment or businesses go bust. The plus factor for the private sector is the higher starting pay, higher bonuses, quicker promotions, and better increments based on performance. The work is more challenging and stimulating. The minus factor for private-sector employees is the growing trend to employ contract, not permanent staff.
Secondly, there is a pension. To make it even more attractive, the employee has the option of choosing either to stay a contributor to the EPF (after the probation period) or go for the pension scheme. If he opts for the pension scheme, he has an income for life and if survived by a wife, it is hers too for life.
Thirdly, there is the additional perk of almost free medical treatment for life for himself, his wife, and his children who are minors.
Admittedly, there are some private companies that do offer medical subsidies but with certain medical panels only.
Next, comes the relaxed working environment. Almost all government departments are air-conditioned or quite conducive. Although there are the clock-in and clock-out routines, there is little urgency in the government departments.
Similarly, conducive working conditions do exist in the private sector. However, the relaxed working environment is not so apparent, in fact, the private sector is like a pressure cooker for performance is linked to profits and contracts. Employees are under pressure all the time to perform.
Finally, the most appealing factor about government service is that the employees are in a privileged position. The public go to them for help. They endorse, approve, or reject applications and appeals, interpret existing laws and regulations: the power is in their hands.
In the private sector, due to competition between similar brand product and service providers, the employees have to ensure that their clients are well treated and well served. After all, the consumer is always right.
Having looked at the pros and cons, we can now understand why people are lining up to join the government service despite detracting facts like low pay and poor pension. Applicants for government jobs look to other factors to be a part of the government machinery. However, if complaints about the public sector are anything to go by, there has to be a change in the mindset of those joining the public service. As the Prime Minister says, “We do not need Little Napoleans.”
In conclusion, it depends on the individual to decide where to serve: in the government or private sectors. If you are thinking of security, then go for government service. If you are thinking of challenges, opt for the private sector. An employee in whichever sector who does an honest day’s job and who sometimes goes beyond the call of duty will receive his rewards in more ways than one.