Employment in the civil service refers to employment in the government sector as
opposed to the private sector.
What attracts the job seeker to the government
sector ad not to the private sector ?
Firstly, there is the 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 the 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 the 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
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 is the
clock-in and clock-out routine, there is little urgency in the government
Similarly, the 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
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