I want to work in ..... the Public Sector


What is the Public Sector?

The public sector includes all state-funded services, from the civil service, MI5 and the armed forces to the BBC and the British Museum. It includes the majority of education, social and community services; the emergency services; criminal justice and the National Health Service (NHS) - the largest single employer in Europe.

Almost 5.5 million people work in the public sector in the UK in almost every conceivable job role. 

The public sector is a popular career choice for graduates: four of the Times 100 Top 10 Graduate Employers 2015 were in the public sector (Teach First, the Civil Service, the NHS and the BBC)

If you are thinking of a career in the public sector because you want to do something worthwhile, contribute to society and the community and help to make a difference, read on.

If you want job security and a quiet, undemanding desk job think again: the public sector no longer guarantees a “job for life” (between 2009 and 2015, the public sector workforce fell by 969,000) or a “cushy number”. A survey of 2,200 local government workers, found that 75% of respondents said their workload had increased in the past year, and 46% said they had too much work to do.

General Information

Public Sector Employers and Vacancies


Civil ServiceBig Ben

The Fast Stream 

The Fast Stream is a development programme designed to prepare graduates for careers at the highest levels of the Civil Service. Fast Stream graduates work in central Government departments, the Houses of Parliament, the Diplomatic Service, the Government Communications Service and in specialist areas including HR, Finance and Project Delivery. The programme offers experience in policy, operational, commercial and financial areas, rotating between different Government departments and with opportunities for external secondments.


Local  Government

This offers a broad range of careers, both generalist (manager, officer, administrator etc.) and specialist (such as finance, education, human resources). Graduates in local government are responsible for the development and implementation of the local authority’s policies and procedures, ensuring that they are delivered effectively and offer value for money. A number of local authorities run graduate schemes: some, including Kent County Council, recruit directly while others take applications through the National Graduate Development Programme.

Finance-Related Public Bodies

Understanding how the council sets a budget and how each service manager then works out, and monitors, their own budget is a central part of being a manager … There are so many managers who don’t know how to manage their own budget, let alone how the council’s overall budget works, and it definitely holds them back.


Every organisation in the public sector requires its finances to be carefully managed. Public money has to be spent properly, on the right things and deliver value for money.

All the organisations listed below recruit graduates from a wide range of degree backgrounds and provide training for relevant finance qualifications.

In addition to the above, a number of accountancy and professional service firms offer audit and advisory services to public sector clients, including:

 National Health  Service

"Commercial awareness is increasingly seen as crucial for the functioning of the NHS ...  the new NHS Commercial Operating Model is changing the rules of procurement – and opening doors for the medtech industry."

Outsourced Public Services

Increasingly, public sector bodies are “outsourcing” their services to commercial organisations, who deliver services such as IT provision, supply-chain management, procurement services, facilities management and human resources under contract to central and local government bodies and NHS providers. Forecasts suggest that the outsourcing of public services is set to grow by at least £20bn over the next four years and that a third of all public services provided by central and local government will be delivered by outsourcing bodies by 2020.
Outsourcing firms include:

Other  Public Sector Organisations


Last fully updated July 2016