The United Kingdom is no stranger when it comes to employment in the public sector. Those involved in the finance industry are likely to see 60% of jobs within public services, which makes the British government one of the largest employers in the country. However, costs within the financial sector mean that professionals involved in the field might be facing unemployment unless they choose between other public opportunities and positions within the private sector. We will take a look at the differences between the two.

Differences between public and private sector jobs in financial services.

We look at:

  • salary
  • job security
  • unions


One of the most important deciding factors between choosing positions in the public and private sectors is salary. It is often incorrectly assumed that those within the public sector are offered poorer salaries, but it is not such a clear-cut issue. The lowest skilled financial positions are usually paid quite handsomely in the public sector, but after developing their skills and progressing on to more senior positions, it is often the case that financial workers at higher levels will be paid less in comparison to their peers at private companies. 

However, salaries are not the only monetary issue that workers need to consider. Employees will also need to take into account the entire employment package, which includes such fringe benefits as healthcare, paid travel expenses and public pensions that are usually better in the public sector. 

Job security.

Public sector jobs are traditionally known to offer some of the most solid packages for those at all levels, which feature job security that is second to none against businesses that are only concerned about making a profit in the private sector. Workers seeking ‘jobs for life’ were once able to rest assured that their jobs would be guaranteed in the public sector, but this is not always the case nowadays. Many private sector employers are beginning to offer annual contracts, which do not tend to have the long-term security that employees are after, but their renewable nature means that there is some element of security provided that companies are satisfied with an employee's performance. This makes the job security gap between public and private sector positions quite small.


One of the key differences between the public and private sectors is that those who work in the former are almost always likely to be a member of a union (66%) compared to just a low percentage of unionised workers in the private sector (15.5%). Employees should always consider union membership because these associations can offer assistance during troubled times, such as facing redundancy or pay cuts. However, employers sometimes shy away from unionised employees and this could put a strain on work relationships.