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Public vs private sector

(9 Posts)
Daisybell1 Wed 27-Aug-14 20:42:11

I have worked in the public sector for all my career but am considering a move to the private sector.

I am used to the family friendly working practices of my employer but have been offered a more flexible role for a private company.

What are the pitfalls of the private sector? Is there anything I should be considering?

BonaDea Wed 27-Aug-14 20:47:46

I think in the public sector there is still a 'job for life' mentality. In private, it is more common for people to fail probation or be performance managed out if they are not cutting it.

However if you are good at what you do and committed private is better at recognising that and these days flexibility means just that. There is less of a 'time served' attitude to promotions and perks so if you work hard (even if that is flexibly!) I reckon it is the best place to be. Less bureaucracy too!

Daisybell1 Wed 27-Aug-14 21:20:40

I agree re the job for life thing, and have been on the sour end of not being able to apply for my boss's job even though I know far more than he does and being the same pay grade as a colleague when I could turn round twice the amount of work she could.

I worry that the hours may not be as attractive as they're portrayed and I know that I wouldn't get the same sympathetic treatment to recent sick leave (recurrent miscarriage)

Daisybell1 Wed 27-Aug-14 21:20:53

Thank you, by the way!

EBearhug Wed 27-Aug-14 22:31:32

It massively depends on the company (just as you can't really compare nursing with teaching or cartography with the OS or a job in the council finance department or a lifeguard at the local council pool.)

Is it a big or small company? Family run, franchise or big corporation? UK only or multinational?

What is the whole package? Salary, pension, private health, childcare vouchers, gym, company car... Last time I was in the public sector, I was offered a final salary pension, which is all very well, but when you're on a far lower salary than exactly the same role in the private sector might get, then it's not necessarily such a great deal. You need to do the maths.

Company policies on flexible working, parental leave, sick leave and so on can vary massively, so again, you need to look at what's officially offered, and try and find out from people currently working there how policy compares with practice. It may also vary departmentally within the same company, which may be because of managerial attitudes or the role - we have to have reception covered from 7am to 8pm, and their shifts reflect that, but in my department, we're not customer-facing, so there's a lot more flexibility on start and end times, and working from home when you're expecting deliveries or the car's in for a service or something. My employer has quite generous policies around sick pay and so on, but others will just go for the statutory minimum.

You can't just compare public and private sector, because there are far too many variables. You need to look at the details of what any particular employer offers. Some private sector employers are terrible, but others are really great, and probably a lot of them fall in the middle.

Daisybell1 Thu 28-Aug-14 12:29:24

Thank you, that's very helpful. It's a national company with a lot of offices, each lead by a senior partner. I get the impression that the senior partners are quite autonomous and so each office has a different feel. I know the company quite well and wouldn't consider working in some of their offices if you see what I mean?

The entire concept of a package is new to me. Yes we get the pension but I know from the salary surveys in my profession that I also get between 25-30% less than my equivalent in the private sector. And the final salary scheme isn't all that when you're a working mum who is part time due to childcare and may not retire on her highest earnings. ..

Food for thought, thank you!

CottonSock Sun 07-Sep-14 08:53:47

I'm considering a move the other way. Done both, but public sector much kinder with small family

Dustydoo123 Mon 08-Sep-14 19:53:20

Hi there, I did two years of private work and have just returned to nhs. It probably really depends on your employer, your personality and strengths. Personally I am so grateful to be back in nhs - in private sector there are lots if perks but if you are sick or have difficulties I don't feel it was very supportive. The pension was worse too. Although the public sector is not perfect I agree it can be more supportive and family friendly than the private sector.
I hope you have a really positive experience if you do venture in to it, there is good learning to be done and you may really enjoy it x

Timeforabiscuit Mon 08-Sep-14 20:01:23

In my experience, if I were to change jobs I would pay very close attention to who my line manager would be.

You can have the most amazing policies in a work place, with fantastic work opportunities but a crap manager will turn it all to dust.

On the flip side, working with committed, driven, supportive people can really make work a pleasure!

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