Careers advice and planning

Public v private sector jobs

22 Jun 2023, 13:22

There are career opportunities for graduates in both the public and the private sector. Find out which would suit you best.

Feature image Public v private sector jobs

Private sector

The opportunities

  • Graduate training schemes in multinational organisations.
  • Many vacancies in SMEs.
  • Anything in between.

Employers and job roles

  • Retail banks
  • Construction Industry
  • Agriculture
  • Media organisations
  • Professions, eg law
  • Management roles
  • Support functions (HR, IT etc)
  • Many specialist positions.


Opportunities throughout Ireland and Northern Ireland.

What to expect

‘Flatter’ organisational structures. Progress depends on performance, not length of service. Can be volatile, with less job security. May not be unionised. The place to look for new, innovative organisations with young workforce and culture. Salaries reflect performance. Vacancies not always advertised. Positions can be filled quickly.

Public sector

The opportunities

Many different employers and types of work. Some graduate-level positions.

Employers and job roles

  • Civil service
  • Local government
  • Semi-state bodies
  • Administration
  • Healthcare
  • Education
  • Defence
  • Police
  • Some specialist positions, eg science, engineering.


Mostly in cities. Decentralisation in the Republic of Ireland is happening slowly.

What to expect

Tend to be hierarchical, with set grades. Opportunities for flexible working arrangements, career breaks and job sharing. Good training opportunities. Better job security. Usually heavily unionised. Can be bureaucratic and conventional (but culture varies depending on the organisation). Recruitment process can be formal and lengthy.

gradireland editorial advice

This describes editorially independent and impartial content, which has been written and edited by the gradireland content team. Any external contributors featuring in the article are in line with our non-advertorial policy, by which we mean that we do not promote one organisation over another.

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