Introduction to Federal Employment
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), more than 1.8 million civilians have government jobs. That number does not count the Post Office, or military working for the government, or the huge sector of the industry supported by government contractors.
One aspect of government jobs that has attracted so many applicants over the years is the idea of stability. People have the perception that once you land a job with the government, you can expect to be free from some of the continual anxiety that workers in the private sector experience due to layoffs, reorganizations, and offshoring. In addition to the perceived stability, the compensation and benefit packages are also compelling, and many people enjoy the concept of working for their country.
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Market pressures have affected all industries, and the federal government has not been immune to budget cuts from time to time. Also, people who work directly for the government might receive lower wages than those who perform a similar function in the private sector. In addition, many jobs have migrated away from direct government staff jobs and over to private contractors supporting the government. Pension plans have changed, and from time to time, a change in the dominant party in Congress can have a huge impact on agency funding and staffing.
Are Government Jobs Right for You?
If you want to test the waters of government employment without committing for the long-term, consider doing a temporary assignment, summer job, or volunteer opportunity. Clearly, these positions aren't right for everyone. They are best-suited for people who are new to the workforce and looking to gather a little more experience and figure out what's right for them. You can find these opportunities in the same place where you would find a paying government job: USAjobs.gov or the individual agency's website.