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Best Public Sector Jobs [2023] A Guide

Lauren O' Donaghue
Lauren O' Donaghue September 14, 2021
best public sector jobs

The public sector is responsible for providing all of the public services that people in the UK use every day. That means anything and everything from local government and schools, to emergency services.

Most people who work in the public sector do so because they want a meaningful career that allows them to give back to their local community.

As you'll soon see, there are a huge range of different public sector jobs out there.

What Is A Public Sector Job?

Any role in an organisation run by the government or funded by taxpayers' money can be classed as a public sector job.

As a result, there is a hugely varied range of public sector jobs, from roles in the police right through to jobs in the government itself. In fact, nearly a sixth of all people employed in the UK work in the public sector.

So whether you're looking for a role with lots of progression opportunities, or just want to know that your working hours are being spent doing something with a deeper social purpose, it's well worth having a look at the range of public sector jobs out there until you find something that might be right for you.

Why Work In The Public Sector?

Many people get into public sector roles because they want a job that has meaning, purpose, and makes them feel more connected to their local community. For others, it's the transparent structure and progression opportunities that appeal.

The beauty of the public sector is there are so many different career paths to choose from that it's a great option if you're still trying to work out exactly what it is you want to do.

With most roles offering competitive salaries and a chance to give back to your community, the public sector has something for everyone — whatever stage of the career ladder you're on.

What Are the Best Public Sector Jobs?

best public sector jobs

1. Civil Service

The Civil Service helps the government to implement and shape policy, and ensures the delivery of public services.

An administration role in the Civil Service pays around £20,000+p.a., while senior roles normally sit at around the £80,000+ mark.

With competitive benefits, a flexible working policy and the promise of a role that shapes the lives of the country's citizens, there are many reasons to look for a career in the Civil Service.

2. Police Officer


Ensuring a fairer, safer and more law-abiding society is all part of the day job for the thousands of people who work in the police force.

Progression opportunities in the force are competitive. A constable usually starts on around £26,000+ p.a., whereas a midweight role such as a sergeant would take home around £43,000+ p.a. For those who want to rise to the top, the chief superintendent salary of £86,000+ p.a. is highly enticing.

Offering an opportunity to directly help people, make the UK's streets safer and give back to the community, it's little wonder the police force is seen as an attractive career prospect for those who want a job with meaning.

3. Local Government Officer

local government

As a local government officer, you'll help the council to bring about change in a range of different social areas including housing, planning and social work.

A starting salary in local government ranges from around £17,500 p.a, to £20,000 p.a., depending on where you work. This rises significantly with seniority, for example a local government or local council director in London would be looking at an annual salary of over £140,000.

Just like many other public sector jobs, a role in local government gives you a chance to bring about real and tangible change in your local area; the results of which can be extremely rewarding.

4. Cyber Security Manager

As our reliance on tech increases, so too do the risks. Thankfully, a growing number of companies such as Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) employ people to try and keep the UK safe from cybercrime.

Pay in this industry is competitive, with starting salaries a lot higher than average (around the £50,000 p.a. mark). While those who reach the upper echelons of the industry would be looking at over £90,000 p.a.

Fast-paced, challenging and incredibly rewarding, a role in cyber security would be perfect for those with a passion for tech and a desire to use that passion for good.

5. Army Training Officer

An Army training officer helps to train and shape the recruits that make up the backbone of the British Army.

This job is non-combative and is perfect for someone who wants to play a role in shaping and educating the men and women who defend our freedom.

The average salary for an army training officer is around £50,000 p.a.

With opportunities for overseas travel, a varied day-to-day and the chance to do something meaningful, this is a great role for people with a huge variety of skills and strengths.

6. Teacher

Teachers help to shape the next generation and can have a profound impact on every single child or adult they educate.

Thanks to organisations such as Teach First, there are now so many different ways to get into teaching, whether you're a graduate who's always wanted to use your skills to teach, or someone who's looking for a change in career.

While trainee teacher salaries start at around £17,000+ p.a., the average UK teacher gets paid between £23,000-£35,000 p.a. This rises to around £45,000-£100,000+ for headteachers, so the progression opportunities in this field are evident.

7. Nurse/Carer


NHS nurses and carers are there for everyone who needs medical care or support, whatever stage they're at in life.

A perfect role for people who have empathy, strength and compassion, and want to work with people, nursing and caring are two of the most challenging, yet rewarding, public sector roles out there.

With salaries starting at around £18,000 p.a. for nursing, and rising to just under £40,000 p.a. (depending on location and experience), there is a clear and definite path to career and financial progression in nursing.

8. Firefighter


It takes a special type of person to put themself at risk in order to protect strangers, but that's exactly what firefighters do every day.

A role in the Fire Service comes with progression opportunities and a challenging but ever-changing workday. In London, salaries start at around £27,750 p.a. This rises to £37,000 for a mid-weight firefighter, and up to £69,000 for a group commander.

Working for the Fire Service means great benefits including a pension, interest-free loans, childcare support and flexible working.

9. Campaign Manager

Campaign managers are responsible for coordinating political campaigns through various operations such as polling, fundraising and canvassing. This is a role ideal for those with political drive and a desire to change the country.

In London, salaries for campaign managers can vary from £27,000 -£63,000+ p.a.

10. Social Worker

Social workers protect vulnerable children and help to support families who may need extra assistance. There are many different social worker employers including charities, private companies and even the NHS.

Social workers have helped to transform the lives of thousands of children who may have otherwise fallen through the cracks without their care.

On average, a social worker's pay starts at around £24,000 p.a. But with time and experience, this can rise to around £40,000 p.a.

Lauren O' Donaghue September 14, 2021

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