A Public Service Career - A Smart Choice
By the Monster Career Coach
Which employment sector offers fulfilling careers, a chance to make a difference for your fellow Canadians, job stability and an excellent benefits package? The Public Service of Canada does, and it employs 450,000 people across the country.
Maybe you’ve pictured yourself working at some exotic foreign embassy for a Canadian ambassador, say in Pretoria, South Africa or the ocean breeze-soaked British Virgin Islands. Perhaps you’re more interested in something closer to home but outdoors, such as a job with Parks and Recreation. Ever dreamed of sitting astride a powerful horse while wearing the familiar red and black Mountie uniform? Conversely you could be hobnobbing in the world of business as an employee of a government Crown corporation. All of the above are part of Canada’s Public Service.
More Details About The Public Service
The federal Public Service functions through departments, agencies, commissions, crown corporations, and related organizations. You will likely recognize some of the better known ones, such as Canada Border Services Agency (popularized in the television series “The Border”), Canadian Human Rights Commission, Canadian Space Agency – where our astronauts work, Correctional Service of Canada, and Department of the Environment.
Over 40% of the Public Service of Canada is located in the Ottawa-Gatineau area. However there are government employees in over 180 countries and 1,600 locations throughout Canada. Here is how the employment statistics break down:
- Federal departments: 180,000
- Federal agencies: 60,000
- Parliamentary officers and administrators: 20,000
- Canadian Forces and Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP): 106,000
- Federal business enterprises (including Crown Corporations): 88,000
Only those in the first three categories would be considered traditional civil servants.
Why Join the Public Service?
There are some very good reasons to seek employment in the Public Service of Canada. For starters, there may be positions available in a locality near where you live. There’s a wide range of openings in numerous areas of specialization. You will be given access to continuous learning, on-the-job-training and a commitment to employment equity.
Among the big attractions of a Public Service job are the working conditions and benefits. You’ll find agreeable compensation, vacation and other types of leave, plus medical, dental and pension benefits. Beyond that there are opportunities for flexible work arrangements and mobility (either sideways or upwards).
25 Years Have Made A Big Difference in Workplace Satisfaction
Change has been a constant with the federal Public Service. The past two and a half decades have seen some significant shifts for this important employment sector. Among these are the following:
A Swing to Knowledge-Based Jobs
In 1985 a relatively small proportion of Public Service employees worked in computer systems, program and administrative, executive, foreign service, or scientific and professional areas. Nowadays most jobs require at least a minimal ability to operate a computer and use the Internet.
An Increasingly Diverse Workforce
The reversal in gender representation over the past 25 years remains one of the most substantial changes in the Public Service. Women now represent nearly 55% of public servants, compared with just 42% in 1983. More dramatically, in 1983 less than 5% of executives were women, compared to 40% in 2007. And again in 1983, only 2% of deputy ministers were women, compared to 38% today.
Modernization and a Commitment To Lifelong Learning
Learning is an essential part of Public Service Renewal, which is the ongoing process of pursuing and achieving excellence in all that the Public Service does. The Canada School of Public Service – an internal government agency – provides one-stop access to employee training and professional development. Its multimedia section includes video, audio, webcast and podcast files.
What About The Next 25 Years?
Not content to stand still, the Public Service of Canada is busy putting into place its Renewal program first announced in 2008. Some of the main planks are ensuring that the workforce is more representative of the Canadian population (currently it falls slightly short in terms of visible minorities); making it easier to come and go in the Public Service; and encouraging employees at all levels to stay with their specific jobs long enough to make a more meaningful contribution.
What will these changes bring about over the next two and a half decades? Greater diversity of employees and more depth in technical excellence...similar changes as have taken place since 1985. Given what we’ve seen so far, this makes the Public Service of Canada an even more attractive employment option than it already is.