- What does a government officer do?
- Government officer career path
- Government officer salaries
- Qualifications & training
- Government officer skills
- Pros and cons of being a government officer
- Government officer work-life balance
- Government officer employers
- Related jobs
Are you someone who wants to make a difference in their local community? Are you a community leader who knows what their local people need or do you want to implement change across a sector? If you are someone who can communicate across a wide variety of people and are up for the challenge of government policy, then a role as a government officer may be for you.
Interested in a career as a government officer? Explore graduate opportunities in the public sector & government and take your first step towards a career in this role.
What does a government officer do?
In your role as a government officer, you will be in charge of the research, development and implementation of local council policies and procedures. You will be responsible for budgets and delivery time scales as well as communicating these changes clearly across your local government area. There is a large range of sectors you can get involved in such as legal, finance, transport, housing and human resourcing.
Day-to-day, you may be expected to do the following:
- Coordinate information communication to the relevant outlets
- Research and development
- Manage projects and evaluate results
- Meet with members of the public
- Communicate across departments to best plan and deliver a project
- Liaise with agencies outside of the government
- Prepare briefs and reports
When working in this role, you will be in contact with the public, government officials and other specialists on a regular basis, communicating proposals and projects. Want to improve the way you present information? Take this Bright Network Academy module on developing effective presentation skills.
Government officer career path
A common entry role for a government officer is in an administrative role. From here you will be able to work your way up to senior roles through experience and training. You will be expected to support your local government officer in all tasks. This may range from simple administrative tasks to organising meetings and collecting data.
Alternatively, graduates with a 2:2 and above are eligible to apply for a programme called the National Graduate Development Programme (NGDP). If successful in your application you will be put onto a two-year fast track programme rotating you across four placements within your local government. Depending on performance, graduates are then often given a permanent job afterwards.
Within government, there is a clear promotional structure in most sectors. It may vary slightly, however, with the right mix of knowledge and experience you have the option to progress in different ways. Opportunities for promotion will rely on the frequency of vacancies and the size of your local authority. Due to the stable nature of government work, vacancies may not appear often, so you may find you need to sidestep into a different sector in order to progress.
Due to the varied and adaptable nature of this role, there is no one career path you follow as a government officer. Depending on your skill and experience, many people start to diversify into sectors that interest them more or for a change in career, exploring their strengths.
When following a linear general career path, should they want to stay within their chosen sector, is a management role. In this role you are in charge of a team or department, overseeing work output, time management and the development of the people who work with you.
Due to the nature of government roles, some people find they have climbed the ladder as far as they can go and the next step is to go into the private sector to find higher paid work. Depending on your sector, this can be a career such as consultancy, training or director roles in a company.
Government officer salaries
Salaries as a government officer will vary depending on the type of authority you work for, the sector you go into and your specific chosen avenue. Your salary will also depend on the skills and experience you may have already developed prior during previous jobs or work experience. This is what you can expect:
- Entry-level will be around £17,500 to £20,000 depending on location.
- With experience salaries can go up to £22,000 per year, peaking at around £38,000.
- Senior management roles can expect upwards of £45,000 per annum.
Qualifications and training
As there are varied roles available as a government officer, there is no specific entry route to become one. The skills you need will vary across different pathways, so qualifications in administration or business are good to get your foot in the door in an entry-level role in any sector.
Degrees are always helpful for securing a position as they show a clear pathway of research, experience and personal development. Graduates may look into subjects such as Politics or Business Studies for a general advantage, however, for some sectors you may need to have a more specific degree. For example, a role in town planning or building conversation may request degrees or qualifications in architecture.
You can often find work placements, internships and work experience with local authorities. In these roles, you will gain a basic understanding of how the public sector works and gain practical experience to boost your CV and applications. Outside of government placements, work in offices or general administration roles are useful for developing basic IT and people skills needed for an entry-level role as a government officer.
Government officer skills
As you have the option of many different sectors as a government officer, there are some areas that need specific abilities. However, in general, you will need the following skills:
- Communication. Government roles often involve communicating to departments outside your own, the general public or other government officials. The work being done is often of high importance, so it is crucial communication is clear to avoid misunderstanding.
- Organisation and time planning. You may find you have short deadlines or occasions you need to react quickly and delegate your time efficiently. It will be important to prioritise and be able to access what you need quickly.
- People skills. You will be working with and alongside a varied range of people from a range of backgrounds. It is important to be understanding and adaptable in your approach to potentially sensitive discussions.
- Teamwork. You will be expected to pull on the expertise of those around you. It will be important to optimise relationships with these people and work together to achieve your ultimate goal.
- Adaptability. The political environment is forever changing and it is important to be able to keep up with all changes in government and understand the impact it may have on your department.
- IT. The world has become digital and the government is no different. It is beneficial for you to have IT knowledge in whichever sector you join. Finance will require knowledge in financial software such as payroll, whereas a role in marketing or communications may require knowledge of CRMs.
Pros and cons of being a government officer
- Job security. A job in the public sector is protected due to the government backing behind them. Unless sold to a private sector, your area of work is not likely to ‘go under’. This means you can expect a high level of stability not found when working in the private sector.
- Flexibility. Government roles often offer a healthy work-life balance due to the nature of the work. They often allow for telecommuting or part-time work schedules. If your job role requires you to travel across the country, you are generally provided with the equipment to best facilitate this.
- Training schemes. You are encouraged to develop your skills and given access to many training courses to aid your professional progress and gain new qualifications. New graduates are more likely to find this additional training in a public role than a private role if they are keen to learn.
- Capped earning potential. As your wages are protected, this also means they have a limit. This is different to the uncapped earning potential within the private sector, meaning highly qualified people often transition to the private sector to continue to climb the salary ladder.
- Low level of control. A role in government is influenced by political change and climate daily. This means you may have to adjust projects or plans quickly, last minute, to reflect that current climate. Due to the highly influential roles with the government, you also usually need to go through formal processes to get the sign off on your projects.
Government officer work-life balance
The role of a government officer offers a great work-life balance. Working hours can be expected to be a standard working week, 9am-5pm at 35 to 40 hours per week. Some sectors will offer greater flexibility, such as telecommuting, part-time or compressed hours. Working from home has also become commonplace. You may rarely be required to work additional hours outside of the usual to attend meetings and events, however, this will be limited.
Work-life balance can often be a challenging subject when you are trying your best to achieve great things. That's why we have a guide to show you how to achieve work-life balance on the Bright Network website.
Government officer employers
Here are some key government officer employers to keep an eye on: