DISCOVER THE PUBLIC SERVICE, IRELAND’S LARGEST EMPLOYER
STUDENT INFO HUB
To help you choose the right path for you when the time comes, we’ve packed this page with information about the public sector. We’ve gathered all the most useful resources to help you kick-start your research into this vast career sector. The public sector is HUGE which can sometimes feel a little complicated to understand. To help you get started let’s clarify a few things: It’s complex, but fascinating; let’s go.
BEFORE YOU GET STARTED
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE PUBLIC SECTOR AND THE PRIVATE SECTOR?
Sectors are simply different categories of employment – the crucial difference is who pays the salaries, government or private company. Some careers and job types are exclusive to just the public sector or just the private sector, however there are many job opportunities that exist across both sectors.
WHAT IS THE PUBLIC SECTOR?
The public sector provide public services to Irish Citizens. This work touches all aspects of Irish life and so is very important work for the people of Ireland. There is a diverse range of career opportunities available, with the Government of Ireland employing over 300,000 people. The public sector is made up of:
THE GOVERNMENT OF IRELAND
which is currently made up of 18 departments including Education, Health, Housing, Transport, Environment, Justice and many more.
THE CIVIL SERVICE
support the government of the day to develop and implement its policies whilst being politically impartial.
THE PUBLIC SERVICE
includes State agencies such as HSE, An Garda Síochána and RTÉ as well as Local Authorities which you might know better as your local City or County Council.
For more visit: https://www.gov.ie/en/help/departments
WHAT IS THE ROLE OF PUBLICJOBS.IE?
Publicjobs.ie is the website where Civil and Public Service job opportunities are advertised. It is one of the main access routes for people interested in a career in the Civil and Public Service. Job seekers can apply to career opportunities through publicjobs.ie as they arise. Publicjobs.ie also manage the recruitment process from application to testing, interview and job offer.
HOW IS THE PUBLIC SECTOR RELEVANT TO MY CAREER PATH?
1. Options for school leavers
The public sector, through Publicjobs.ie, offers administrative roles at various levels across all government departments, nationwide. For early school leavers who are aged 17 or over, entry to the civil service is typically at the Temporary Clerical Officer and Clerical Officer level. These roles involve providing administrative support within a government department and can vary depending on the employing organisation (e.g. Department of Transport, Department of Justice, etc.). The work of a temporary or permanent Clerical Officer typically involves general clerical work such as filing, dealing with emails, reception desk duties and involvement in a variety of project work. There is an emphasis on working as part of a team in delivering important public services, whilst utilising the latest technology to provide a quality public service to the people of Ireland.
2. Options for college graduates
Entry to the Civil Service for college graduates is typically at the Executive Officer and Administrative Officer levels. Graduate opportunities within the Civil and Public Service are designed to inspire, challenge and support the next generation of Civil and Public Service leaders. As a Graduate, you will have the opportunity to work on projects that will aid the social and economic development of Ireland. If you enjoy challenging work and are committed to the concept of public service, a graduate position could be the ideal role for you.
3. Training and Development to help you climb the career ladder
Depending on the role and department, you could expect to advance your skills in a wide range of different ways, and you could have the opportunity to up-skill and develop yourself professionally through high-quality training programmes, mentoring and support systems, internal training initiatives, and many more – all to make sure you have the skills and knowledge required to succeed in a fast-paced and results-oriented role in the Public Service.
THE MOST RELEVANT INFO
Now you know the basics, it’s time to do some ‘deep dive’ research into the wider public sector. Have a look through our most relevant information to find out more about entry routes into a career in the public sector, as well as training and development. You can also check out our useful links section to investigate the full range of career opportunities available across the public sector.
Supporting Information Links
DONT MISS OUT
If a career in the public sector interests you, and you meet the eligibility criteria, register for job alerts on publicjobs.ie to hear about opportunities as they arise. Click here to register for job alerts
WE WOULD LOVE TO HEAR FROM YOU
If you have further questions, or would like to provide feedback on the information provided please get in touch by
dropping us an email at
1. Do I need a degree to get a job in the Public Sector?
There are a wide range of roles in the Public Sector that do not require a degree. For early school leavers, entry to the civil service is typically at the Temporary Clerical Officer and Clerical Officer level. These roles involve providing administrative support within a government department and can vary depending on the employing organisation (e.g., Department of Transport, Department of Justice, etc.)
The work of a temporary or permanent clerical officer typically involves general clerical work (e.g., filing, photocopying, answering/making telephone calls, dealing with emails, reception desk duties, etc.), working as part of a team in delivering important public services while supporting line managers and colleagues, working with the latest technology to record and advance services, communicating and providing a quality public service to the people of Ireland.
Other professional and technical roles such as an engineer, solicitor, ICT Specialist etc. will require a degree usually at level 8 but in some cases a level 6 is sufficient. It’s important to check the Information Booklet that accompanies the job you have an interest in. You can start having a look at the current roles we have on offer using our Job Search feature!
2. How old do I need to be to apply for a role?
For most of the roles we have on offer, you must be 17 or over at the time of advertising. However, this is not always the case so we recommend that applicants carefully read the entry requirements in the specific information booklet for a role before applying.
3. If I choose a career in the Civil Service is my only option to be stuck behind a desk all day?
Most certainly not! We offer a wide range of roles that can have you working in a number of different areas. Perhaps you could take up a role for the OPW keeping Ireland’s renowned national landmarks in good nick or if you like a bit of action and adventure you can be placed in the customs department working on operations to seize drugs and disrupt the operations of organised crime gangs. You can also be out and about working with your local authority to make a change within your very own community. You may even be able to work for the office of the Taoiseach of Ireland. There really is a role for everyone in the Civil Service.
4. Where can I find out more about the Government Departments?
For more information on Government Departments, State Agencies and Local Authorities, please click on this Government of Ireland link.
5. Are there opportunities to progress through my career?
Yes, this is one of the best things about the public sector! There are always career progression opportunities, whether it's changing what area or department you work in or being promoted to a higher grade through upgrading your skills you will never be stuck in one place. Just like in the Private Sector there are different levels of experience and seniority attached to each role. The qualifications and experience you need for certain roles differs.
The civil service grades, from Clerical Officer to Secretary General, relate to seniority and pay scales as opposed to specific roles and duties. Almost all private sector roles exist in the civil service, your grade determines your level of seniority within the organisational structure from operational activities up to senior leadership.
6. I’m a TY student, do you do work experience?
We're delighted you're interested in doing work experience with us! We don't have a centralised scheme in place for transition year work experience; however, a lot of departments take on students from time to time. If you are interested, it'd be a good idea to contact a department near you that you'd like to gain experience in. Here is how you can contact a department you may be interested in gov.ie.
7. What kind of jobs do you have?
We have a huge variety of roles on offer for school leavers, Leaving Certificate holders and college graduates with different levels of experience and interests. We’re sure you’ll find something that’s right for you! Check out our Information Hub to find out more information.
8. I have a disability, will this affect my career in the Public Sector.
Not in any way! We are an equal opportunities employer which means we do not discriminate based on race, colour, religion, national origin, sex, physical or mental disability or age. We are committed to recruiting people from a range of different backgrounds and we actively support those with additional requirements both during selection and in ensuring a smooth transition into the public service workforce. There are a lot of different supports in place for employees with disabilities throughout different government departments, with most departments having disability champions.
9. I’ve never done an interview, what’s the process like?
It typically involves aptitude tests as well as virtual and/or face-to-face interviews. You can find out more about the finer details of our recruitment process
10. What college course do I pick if I want a job in the Public Sector?
Pick whatever course you have an interest in whether that be Commerce, Computer Science, Arts, Nursing, Science, Marine Biology, the list goes on! There will be a job available in the Public Sector in almost every career sector you can think of.
11. Where can I find out more information on roles within the Public Sector?
12. What is the public sector?
When looking at career sectors, it is important to note that many careers are available in the Public Sector as well as in the Private Sector.
What is the difference between these two sectors you may ask?
Government-run organisations are part of what is known as the Public Sector. The public sector is made up of people from a variety of backgrounds, all working together to provide public services to the people of Ireland. We advise and assist in the running of Government Departments, Local Authorities (such as your local county council) and state agencies.
The private sector is the part of the economy that is run by individuals and companies for profit and is not state-controlled, while charities and other non-profit organisations are part of the voluntary sector.
Many careers and roles exist in more than one of these career sectors, which means that skills and experience from one sector can be utilised in the others.
13. What is the role of Publicjobs.ie?
Publicjobs.ie is the website where we advertise Civil and Public Service jobs. It is one the main access route for people interested in joining a career in the civil and public sector. Job seekers can apply to career opportunities through publicjobs.ie as opportunities arise. Publicjobs.ie also manage the recruitment process from application to testing, interview and job offer.
14. Who is the Government of Ireland?
There are a wide variety of roles, types of jobs and important work that people employed in the Public Sector do. The Government of Ireland employs over 300,000 people to provide public services to Irish Citizens. These public services are split into three sections:
- Government Departments which include Education, Health, Housing, Transport, Environment and Justice amongst others (see infographic).
- State Agencies that provide services such as HSE, An Garda Síochána and RTÉ.
- Local Authorities: You might know these better as your local City or County Council.
For more visit: https://www.gov.ie/en/help/departments