Sunday, November 15, 2015

Why the craze for government jobs? (The Hindu)

Job security, several benefits and not so demanding…really? Get the true picture.

The Uttar Pradesh government secretariat recently received applications from postgraduates and Ph.D holders in response to a notification of vacancies of peon. This was even before the criticism evoked by the news of B.Techs and MBAs applying for the post of security guards died. Why is there so much craze for government jobs?

A few days ago, I was talking to a group of fresh graduates — engineers and MBAs. I asked them about their dream job and was surprised when they said that they prefer any government job, especially a in a State government organisation. They would settle for a private job only if they don’t get through the recruitment process for government organisations and PSUs!

That set me thinking about job preferences some 20 years ago. Those days, job-seekers were desperate to join large private corporations and MNCs. With so many young talented professionals eager to work with them, many pharma, retail, IT and ITeS companies, met their expansion goals and are still flourishing. But now, the scenario in the job market seems to have reversed completely.
The reason behind this new-found craze for government jobs is a misconception in the minds of today’s youth. They are under a false impression that a government job is ‘not demanding’, ‘has no targets’ and ‘provides a lot of benefits’. Most of all, it comes with ‘job security’, even though the pay is low compared to a job in the private sector.

Well, the reality is different. Let us see how.

Myth 1: The pay and benefits of a government job always score over those of private jobs.

At entry-level, State government jobs pay the best salaries, not the lowest. Recently, we did a project with the Department of Post on recruitment for the positions of postman and mail guard. Minimum education criterion for the posts was Class X or XII. The salary was up to Rs. 20,000!
When it comes to ‘other benefits’, like a maternity benefit or a medical benefit, government organisations clearly score over the private sector. This is absolutely true.
Now, let us look at the downside of the government job in terms of salary and other benefits.
Salaries in government organisations are attractive only at the entry-level. As years roll, what a government employee earns along with the ‘benefits’ he enjoys, is far less than what his private counterpart gets.
A competent employee, working in a private company, can move up to the level of AVP or VP within 15 years. However, an employee in a government organisation, in 15 years, may become a senior clerk or superintendent, earning just one-third of what an employee in a private organisation earns. So, a job that provides attractive salary today will become a liability within 10- 15 years. Competent employees get frustrated when their merit is not recognised and duly rewarded.
A career in the private sector may be tough in the initials stages, but over a period, it earns good rewards for those who are worth it.

Myth 2 – Government jobs are less demanding, have no targets and are ‘permanent’.

Government jobs are no longer cushy as they used to be once. The government is working on deliberate policies to deal with non-performers. In fact, following instructions from Cabinet Secretary Pradeep Kumar Sinha that called for a review of non-performing officers, the Department of Personnel and Training has already come up with detailed guidelines to deal with non-performers and officers of doubtful integrity. This means, now, government employees not performing their duties duly, misbehaving and taking work casually can no longer hold on to their jobs.
On the other hand, unlike earlier, the government is creating contractual roles, based on human resource necessary for a specific project. For example, the Bihar Rural Livelihood Promotion Society hired personnel for positions ranging from social worker to a director on contract basis. So, not all government jobs will be ‘permanent’ anymore. In addition, the government is considering outsourcing some of the jobs to the private sector.

Jobs in government and private sectors come with their advantages and disadvantages. Job seekers must choose based on their risk-appetite.

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