By: Tamara K. Taylor, Assistant Director
The Office of Personnel Management projected that by 2015, more than 550,000 federal employees, one third of the entire full-time permanent workforce, would leave the Federal government with retirement being the top factor.
Why is this important to you? Quite simply, the Federal government is hiring. Working for the government has many rewards to include public service on a local, state or federal level. Government employees make a difference in the lives of Americans and serve in roles that address challenging and pressing local, state and national issues.
According to the U.S. Department of Labor, the Federal government is the largest employer (of civilians) in the United States standing tall at 2.7 million people. Jobs range from art restoration to law enforcement, analysts, attorneys, and physicists. The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that with state and local government positions, the total number of government employees in the United States jumps to more than 21.8 million.
According to the Partnership For Public Service, working for the Federal (and in some cases local and state) government has its rewards1:
Federal jobs pay better than you think. Federal salaries are often competitive with the private sector, plus there are great benefits, job stability and opportunities for advancement. Many of the government’s top jobs pay annual salaries that range from $117,000 to $177,000, and starting salaries are often comparable to the private sector. Equally, federal benefits are extremely competitive with, if not superior to, other sectors.
The Federal government can help pay for school. Federal agencies may help you pay back up to $10,000 per year of your student loans, and some agencies will pick up the tab if you decide to pursue a graduate degree.
You can develop a unique skill set. The Federal government offers training and professional development, from information technology to foreign language immersion.
There are federal jobs around the country…and around the world. Nearly 85% of federal jobs are outside the D.C. area. Looking to go global? More than 50,000 federal employees work abroad.
Federal jobs promote great work/life balance. Agencies offer flexible work schedules, benefits, job sharing, on-site child care and other incentives to facilitate a high quality of life.
There are jobs for every interest and major. Not a political science major? Not a problem. There are federal jobs suited to every interest and skill, from art history to zoology. Government is also a great place to combine your skills with your interests. For example, you could use your mathematics background and your interest in the environment by working as an accountant at the Environmental Protection Agency, your engineering degree to improve airport security, or your biology degree and interest in medicine to conduct cutting-edge medical research at the National Institutes of Health.
You can make a difference. The federal government is a powerful agent in addressing pressing issues, from homelessness to homeland security.
The federal government “values” diversity. Federal agencies actively encourage minorities and individuals with disabilities to consider government service through internships and fellowships.
Government work has its pros and cons and University Career Services encourages you to do your research. Websites like http://gogovernment.org/, www.usajobs.gov, http://oshr.nc.gov/work-for-nc and individual government agency sites are great tools to explore what it means to work for government and apply for internships and full-time career opportunities.