Guest post by Jill Schultz – It is no secret the economy is still sluggish with an unemployment rate of 8.3%. Now is not the ideal time to search for a new job, or is it?
With many corporations experiencing hiring slowdowns and few job opportunities available, the government might be a better option for employment. Here are a few advantages and disadvantages between the two when it comes to your career.
Government jobs offer a strong benefit package including low cost health insurance, pensions, and paid vacation time. People often joke about it, but you rarely hear of a government employee being fired, so there is ample job protection. Certainly government employees can be laid off or furloughed, but it is a more regular occurrence in the corporate world. Corporate jobs do hold other perks like stock options or a company car, but those perks are disappearing as well.
A government job holds some degree of job security, set hours, and by and far very little overtime requirements. Generally, higher positions in a government job bring supervisory duties. Combine that with its benefits, and working for the government sounds pretty good!
Some prefer working in a corporate environment because there is often opportunity for advancement and career growth. The corporate world tends to offer higher starting salaries and merit based promotions. Talent is recognized in the private sector causing a level playing field for all employees. The working style is often fast paced, keeping employees engaged and competitive.
In the government sector promotions are often based on seniority and salary increases are small. Government workers must work in a highly bureaucratic environment where innovation is discouraged, and even frowned upon.
In the corporate world employment is fast paced which can also be associated with stress. Many jobs require longer working hours and those longer hours could cut into personal time. With the added stress of possible layoffs during hard economic times, the stability of government employment certainly holds some allure.
If you have considered a government job, but are not yet ready to make that leap, research a few government contract companies. They are part of the corporate world but work for the government. In some cases they even offer the opportunity to work in a foreign country.
Each year Washington Technology lists the top 100 government contracting companies. Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, Boeing, SAIC, Raytheon, General Dynamics, Hewlett-Packard, Booz Allen, Computer Sciences Corp, and DynCorp International round out the top 10 in 2012.
This list of companies is a stable one and each offers ample opportunities for career building and stability. They list employment opportunities on their websites and elsewhere online. When researching a company you’d like to work for, make sure you investigate their financial solubility and potential for growth. DynCorp, for example, recently reorganized and reached nearly $4 billion in gross revenues, doubling its new business pipeline, making them a viable career opportunity.
Washington Technology recently reported that Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman and Raytheon Co. each won contracts from the U.S. Air Force, valued at $35 million to develop a new radar system, making them each stable companies for work in the near future.
If you are seeking a position in one of America’s largest corporations, you can research the Fortune 500 list for 2012 and get detailed information, including if they are hiring and what positions are available. Exxon Mobil took the number one spot in 2012, knocking Wal-Mart down to number two.
You must decide for yourself whether the stability of government employment outweighs the opportunities of the corporate world. Or, you may just make the best of both worlds and work as a contractor!