Public And Private Sectors

Written by Patricia Skinner
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To a company owner or an executive running a large organization, the difference between the public and private sectors may be only a signature on a piece of paper. But to an employee it can be a lot more than that. It is a fact of life that workers in both the public and private sectors tend to stay within their sector for life. You rarely find a worker making the crossover one way or another. It's almost as if there's an invisible barrier keeping workers in, wherever they happen to have landed.

Differences Between the Public and Private Sectors

Why is this? It could be something to do with the security that the public sector offers, or is at least perceived to offer, against the excitement that the private sector offers. There are lots of theories, though none of them adequately explains the phenomenon. Relevant employee skills (or lack of them) are sometimes cited, but even this is not a satisfactory reason when it is so easy for any worker to acquire new skills at any time now.

Although technically, in a fair labor market the levels of salaries for workers in similar jobs should be the same for both the public and private sectors, in reality nothing could be further from the truth. For some levels of jobs, private sector workers get better pay, but in others, the public sector pays more. But as we've already mentioned, public sector workers often enjoy better perks and benefits.

There is another difference between the public and private sectors. Public sector organizations do not "go to the wall." This is another stabilizing factor and may actually swing it for someone who is looking for long term job security in an ever changing world.


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