With so many career paths to pursue out there, it can be hard to nail it down to just one path and one particular job that suits your skills, interests, and personality. For some people, the main deciding factor could be what they are good at, what has the highest salary, what would be quickest and easiest to get into, and which industry is enjoying the most growth at the moment.
Then there are those who see a career as an opportunity to give back to their community, their province, or even their country. A chance to make a difference in people’s lives, not just in the moment, but in the future. These are often the people who choose a career in public service. The industry is not made for everyone, but for those who enter into it fully aware of what it entails and embrace it with open arms, it can be an incredibly rewarding path to follow.
If you’re struggling to figure out whether a career in public service is the right path for you, here’s a look at what you can expect, allowing you to make a well-informed decision you feel confident in.
Understand There Is A Wide Range Of Opportunities
In terms of the opportunities that exist in public service, this is a sector that is absolutely massive in terms of breadth. It doesn’t include just one industry; rather, it spans across a large number of sectors. What this means is that there is something for everyone since you aren’t pigeon-holed into one particular industry. Because of this career variety you can also imagine that some will be more in demand than others, depending on current news, trends, policies, and so forth.
A career in public service also gives you the opportunity to find work all across Canada, rather than a few select provinces and or towns/cities. Public servants can be found everywhere, which again opens up more possibilities. Some of the public service jobs will have you working in other places in the world as a representative of Canada. A great example is a career as an ambassador wherein you’d be stationed at a foreign embassy.
The Public Service of Canada is responsible for roughly 450,000 jobs across the country, making it a very impressive employer.
Breaking Down The Public Service
Taking a more detailed look at Canada’s public service sector, we can see that it is spread out across various agencies, departments, crown corporations, commissions, and organisations. The largest segment is the federal department, which accounts for 180,000 jobs. Because of the way it is broken down, just over 40% of the jobs are stationed in the Ottawa-Gatineau area. As for the other 60%, you’ll find those jobs across Canada. What makes this career path particularly interesting to many people is that there are a lot of areas to specialise in. It gives you a chance to really speak to your strengths and interests, allowing you to make a career out of them.
What About The Benefits & Working Conditions?
For those curious about the benefits and working conditions in the public service sector, there are a few commonalities across the board. Employees will have pension benefits, medical insurance, vacation days, dental plans, various types of leave and, depending on the job, there may even be flexible work arrangements. Flexible work arrangements could include flex hours, working remotely, and more.
There is also the opportunity for movement. That could mean lateral movement or moving up the career ladder and getting promotions. It’s always great to know that you aren’t stuck in one position if you don’t enjoy it, or it’s not the right fit for you. Not all industries out there can offer this level of movement.
A Workplace Striving For Diversity
Here’s another key factor about life in the public service sector, and that’s the fact there is a real push to make it a more diverse workforce. This has been an ongoing push for the last 25 years now, with no signs of slowing down. There have been some very real gains in this push for diversity, showing that the process is working.
Then there is the Renewal programme that was instituted in 2008 by the Public Service of Canada. This programme encompasses a number of aspects, with one being that the sector needs to better represent the full Canadian population. Up until that point, the number of visible minorities who were employed as public servants was falling short.
Another key focus is committing to lifelong learning. What this means is that they want to encourage public servants to stick around in the field, keep learning, develop their skills further, and become experts in the field so that they can truly give back.
How COVID-19 Has Affected The Public Service Sector
It’s impossible to look at any sector or industry in Canada in the year 2021 and not ask how the COVID-19 pandemic has and is affecting it both directly and indirectly. The public service sector is one that has been directly affected in a pretty big way. With vaccines just starting to roll out across the country now, it is expected that those in the public service sector will continue to feel the effects for the majority, if not the full year still. Then there is the fact that no-one knows what the “new normal” will look like, and how that may possibly change this sector in the long-run.
Many of the public service jobs in Canada have been dedicated to protecting Canadians during this pandemic. For example, the emergency management response that was coordinated through various emergency management agencies Canada-wide included police officers, national security professionals, Canadian border security professionals (air, sea, and land), and more.
You can click here to read more specifics about how each of these different departments and agencies has had to evolve and address the COVID-19 pandemic. With these careers coming to the forefront, it’s also a great way to showcase the many opportunities that exist in the public service sector, and perhaps encourage more people to consider getting into it.
Unusual Careers In The Public Service Sector
While most people are familiar with the typical public service careers, it should also be noted that there are other opportunities that may be more unusual but just as exciting. In fact, these more obscure jobs could be right up your street. Here’s a look at some government jobs that are anything but typical, and there’s a good chance you didn’t even know these existed in the sector.
Fish Culturist: This position is a federal level position wherein you’d be part of the Fisheries and Oceans department. This job will have you working on the coast – either the east or west, and you’ll be working in a scientific study capacity. You will be responsible for developing and then conducting research, gathering data points, and then analysing that data.
Senior Gaming Analyst: Imagine if you could take your love of videogames and somehow turn it into a career. That is exactly what can happen with the senior gaming analyst position, which is a provincial level position. You will likely be working as part of the provincial Department of Public Safety. Job duties can include inspecting all the mechanical and electronic components of equipment; developing and planning procedures and policies; implementing those procedures and policies; and more.
Threat Management Analyst: Here’s a job that has become increasingly important over the years. As a threat level analyst, you’ll be working in the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, which is a federal level department. You are the alert service and point of contact for the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) making sure you review and then conduct a thorough analysis of all information regarding special and specific incidences.
Internet & New Media Officer: As the world grows more and more digitally dependent, the job of an internet and new media officer has also grown in importance. Again, this is a federal level position and it can fall under a few different departments. Responsibilities can include maintaining a government website, ensuring quality control, posting and approving web content, project and team management, and more.
This is just a very small look at the more unusual and often unknown public service careers. In fact, the list goes on and on, with jobs spanning across just about every industry.
As the Government of Canada website explains, it’s all about finding a career that matches your passion. This is also a sector that values and encourages innovation, as it is constantly changing in order to keep up with the news, demands, and trends.
Do The Research, Learn If It’s Right For You
So, before you make a decision either way on whether or not to pursue a career in public service, it’s important to do your research. Look into the actual job descriptions of course, and figure out what appeals to you, but dig deeper into what else the job can offer in terms of a healthy work-life balance, compensation, benefits, and other incentives. This is the best way to ensure you make a decision you feel confident in.