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What Is the Public Industry?

This sector is comprised of organizations that are operated by the UK government. It is established to provide services to its citizens. In not pursuing an aim to generate profit, it is similar to the Nonprofit Sector. The Public Sector is composed both of public services and public enterprises:

Public Service – This service is provided by government to people living in the country. Government either provides these services directly or funds provision of services;

Public Enterprise – This is a business enterprise owned by the country. In this enterprise, the country has either full or partial ownership. Public enterprise has a distinct legal form and involvement in commercial affairs and activities.

Money for public services are raised through a variety of methods such as taxes, fees, and transfers received from other departments within the UK government. In some cases, the Public Sector creates a public-private partnership with organizations in the private sector. Such combined forces of the public and private sectors are called P3s. Organizations belonging to the Public Sector often turn to various private organizations to deliver goods or services to citizens.

The following organizations comprise the Public Sector:

  • Education;
  • Electricity;
  • Emergency;
  • Fire Services;
  • Healthcare;
  • Gaz;
  • Law Enforcement;
  • Police Services;
  • Postal Services;
  • Public Transport;
  • Social Services;
  • Refuse Collection.

In the United Kingdom, more than 5.4 million people work in its Public Sector. This is more than 17% of all people who work in the country. These employees are engaged in providing emergency services, healthcare, education, social care, and waste management, among other services.  

What Are Career Opportunities Available in the Public Sector in the UK?

The range of job opportunities available in the Public Sector is wide. You can choose either central and local government jobs or teaching, social care, health, and police force. Below are several jobs that you can do in the Public Industry:

The Health Service Manager

To consider a career of the Health Service Manager, you need to be interested in healthcare. You need to be self-motivated and possess excellent communication, organization, and decision-making skills. Your major responsibility as the Health Service Manager is making sure that your hospital or community health services where you work run well strategically and financially. Other responsibilities include but are not limited to

  • Daily management of a healthcare organization;
  • Gathering data required to plan and manage projects;
  • Daily management of clerical, administrative, and professional staff;
  • Implementation of new policies;
  • Management of recruitment and selection of staff;
  • Negotiation with medical and non-medical staff of your healthcare organization and outside of it;
  • Implementation of strategic changes to improve service delivery;
  • Management of premises, catering, and security;
  • Support of ICT systems;
  • Planning new provision and development.

The Health Service Manager works from 9am to 5pm. Yet in certain areas, Health Service Managers are required to work shifts. They can also be on-call during evenings or weekends. Some of them work only part-time, however. The Health Service Manager works mostly in an office. The role is considered challenging, since the Health Service Managers are expected to implement new policies, often in difficult situations. They and their work also often come under unblinking public scrutiny. Starting Salaries in this profession are £23,000; at the most senior levels of management, those of a director or chief executive, salary can reach £90,000 or £100,000 a year.

The Police Officer

The major responsibility of the Police Office in the United Kingdom is to maintain law and order, protect members of the public and their property, prevent crime, and improve the life of the people in the community which they serve. Police Officers use different technology to protect people, locate criminals, and catch those who break the law. Police Officers also counter the treat of terrorism and prevent any antisocial behavior. They work in tandem with representatives of the criminal justice system, social workers, schools, health trusts, and housing authorities. They also provide advice, education, and assistance to those who have suffered from crime. Police Officer’s responsibilities include but are not limited to the following ones:

  • Conduct patrol duties on foot, on the horse, by car, or bicycle;
  • Know the community to identify potential law breakers;
  • Respond to public calls and requests to help at incidents;
  • Maintain peace at public meetings; social events; processions, and strikes;
  • Maintain public safety and diffuse dangerous situations;
  • Conduct different investigations, gather evidence, and take statements;
  • Interview witnesses, victims, and suspects;
  • Conduct arrests, according to the human rights, security, and health agreements.
  • Prepare crime reports;
  • Give evidence in court and at other hearings.

Police officers, who work full-time, complete 40 duty hours per week. Their shifts last eight hours. They also often work night shifts and respond to emergency call-outs, even when are off duty. If Police Officers do overtime hours, they are paid at a higher rate. After the probationary period, the Police Officer can take a career break. The starting salary for the Police Officer in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland is between £19,971 and £23,124. Police officers in London and the South of England receive additional allowances. Police Inspectors can receive up to £53,340 and chief inspectors get around £57,000 per annum.

The Social Worker

If you have a patient and caring personality, you can become a social worker. Social workers protect people, adults and children, from harm and support them through difficult times. In general, social workers improve the quality of people’s lives. Social workers work in different settings, supporting individuals and their families within the community for which they work. They work in people’s homes, schools, hospitals, or on the premises of voluntary organizations. Qualified social workers work in tandem with social work assistants and other professionals in health and social care. Social workers abide by the legislation and enforce it, when needed. Social workers are also employed in the charity sector or provide support to drug and alcohol users, homeless people, or mentally ill patients. The tasks that social work professionals perform are as follows:

  • Interview individuals and their families to evaluate their situations;
  • Organize packages of support to help people;
  • Recommend and help individuals make decisions about the most efficient course of actions;
  • Offer information and support;
  • Liaise and make referrals to other agencies;
  • Participate in meetings and team training;
  • Maintain accurate records and prepare reports for legal actions;
  • Give evidence in court.

Social workers in the United Kingdom usually work around 37 hours per week. They do different shifts and may also work on weekends, if needed. Social workers may also work part-time. Social workers earn around £22,000 annually. With experience and extra responsibilities, their salaries may rise to £40,000 a year. Social workers for the NHS usually earn from £26, 565 to 35,577 per annum.

What Are the Skills and Qualities Required to Work in the Public Sector?

If you want to work in the Public Sector, you need to posses the following traits and skills:

  • Critical Thinking – People working in the Public Sector should know how to find the cause of a problem to analyze it. They should be intelligent enough to evaluate complex phenomena and implement different solutions to problems. There are specific tests, like the Watson Glaser and Cut-e, which evaluate critical thinking skills.
  • Communication Skills – Without excellent communication skills, people working in the Public Sector cannot build meaningful relationship with clients, patients, colleagues, and collaborative partners. They need to know how to explain problems to people clearly and how to persuade them effectively. People in the Public Sector also should be good listeners and have good writing style, because they often write reports. They also need to adapt their verbal and writing styles to their clients to be understood.
  • Patience and Resilience – Patients can be difficult. Employees in the Public Industry should be patient and able to maintain self-composure in the most trying circumstances. Because public services are often changing, people working in this changing environment should be resilient. They should always take a positive approach to change, cope with pressure, and be able to recover from difficulties quickly.
  • Leadership – If you are applying for a managerial position in the sector, you need to know how to lead people without controlling them. Inspiring people with your positive attitude and enthusiasm will help them understand well your objectives and the course of actions you want them to take.

Explore More Public Service Employers

Follow the links in the table below to learn more about the application and selection process of some known employers.

Dstl NOMS ABS AFP Graduate Program
AFP Sworn Officers ANAO Civil Service Civil Service Ireland
DAFF  DHS EPSO Finance the Future
Ambulance Victoria GAP Garda Kent Finance Kent Management
NGDP PM&C Public Health Specialists Greater Anglia
Business Sweden Danish Refugee Council Fire & Rescue NSW ESCP
House of Commons UNWFP GIZ Scottish Government

What Tests May You Have as a Part of Your Pre-Hire Assessment in the Public Sector?

Numerical Reasoning Tests: Numerical Reasoning tests evaluate your ability to work with data in the form of charts, tables, and equations. Your job is to use the information provided to answer the multiple-choice questions. You need to use your knowledge of basic maths to do so. JobTestPrep can help you prepare for your Numerical Reasoning Test, also called Numerical Interpretation, with our study guides and practice tests.

Verbal Reasoning Tests: On the Verbal Reasoning or Verbal Interpretation Test, you will be presented with short texts and must answer three to four questions about each text. These are true or false questions, and the possible answers are true, false, or indeterminable.  

Critical Analysis Test: The Critical Analysis Test evaluates your decision-making and analysis skills. It is made up of five sections, each containing a document. In each section, you must answer a series of true or false questions, and mark statements as true, false, or indeterminable based on the information available.

Situational Judgment Tests (SJTs): These tests are a sort of job simulation, that helps employers understand your work-related behavior and decision-making process. You will be presented with a document that describes a situation and a number of possible responses to the situation. You must decide which response you would choose. It is important to prepare for this type of test, even though they do not test your knowledge, because there are preferred answers for each question. It is helpful to know how to analyse a situation and choose the best answer.



JobTestPrep makes an all-out effort to help job candidates to become employed in the Public Sector. We offer not only exhaustive information about the Industry and the job opportunities it offers but also prepare applicants for their pre-employment assessment. Brought together in one PrepPack™, our accurate test simulations and interview materials will help you pass your assessment with unqualified success. Purchase our exclusive materials and start making difference in the lives of people.


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