Now is a good time to work for the United States federal government as more than a quarter million people have been hired by the government over the last three years. USA Jobs, the primary portal for federal job seekers, is even launching a streamlined application service for college students and recent graduates called Pathways to better assist them with finding government work.
While this is certainly welcome news in a weak economy, one might wonder why there is so much interest in government jobs in particular. By way of an answer, here are five benefits of working for the federal government.
1. Job Security
Increased job security is a valuable commodity, especially in an uncertain economy, and the federal government provides it. Compared to public servants, private employees are at a much higher risk for being terminated; in fact, they are three times likelier to be terminated by their private employer than are employees of the federal government.
2. High Compensation Increases
Federal employees receive competitive salaries with the added benefit of high compensation increases. From 1951 to 1991, the average state and local government employees received $1.37 in compensation increases for every $1.00 received by the average private employee. Federal civilian employees received $1.91. Since 1980 the pace has increased, with average state and local employees receiving $4.78 for each $1.00 received by private employees.
3. More Vacation and Holidays
Over the course of a career, state and local government employees and federal civilian employees receive nearly 1.5 years more in paid vacation and holidays than the average private employee. The average state or local government employee as 9.9 more paid vacation days and holidays than their private counterparts, a figure that increases to 13 for federal employees. Increased vacation time means that employees are properly compensated for their work hours and given ample time and resources to properly recharge so as to better function in their jobs. The government tends to offer its employees more paid sick and personal days as well.
4. Generous Health Benefits
The Federal Healthcare Benefits Program, or FHBP, provides the widest selection of health care plans of any U.S. employer. Though government health care benefits tend to pale compared to those offered by private employers while an employee is working, most government health care plans provide superior benefits to retirees than do private health care plans.
5. Generous Retirement Benefits
Speaking of retirement, federal employees tend to have the option to retire earlier than their private sector counterparts and have access to superior retirement plans through the Civil Services Retirement System (CSRS) or the Federal Employee Retirement System (FERS). Under both plans, retired employees receive an annuity, complemented by Social Security benefits and participation in the Thrift Savings Plan (TSP), which offers 401(k)-type investment options. Retired federal employees also have the option of continuing health benefits at the same monthly cost that they paid before retirement.
Logan Harper is the social media outreach coordinator for the online MPA degree program at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, School of Government – one of the top MPA programs in the U.S. He also loves television, travel and technology. Follow him on Twitter @harperlogan.
Working federal government image from Bigstock