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Public Sector Job Descriptions

Careers in civil services and the public sector are extremely rewarding, and civil service jobs are varied, ranging from Human Resources to roles protecting the general public, collecting statistics, or assessing housing needs. Still, recruiters and employers can find it challenging to attract young, old, experienced, skilled, or unskilled workers into one of these professions.

Attracting candidates towards jobs in local or central government organisations requires a neatly-honed civil service job descriptions that explains the role, responsibilities, qualifications, experience, and duties. To ensure all of these bases are covered and attract the right kind of talent, we recommend using a job description template as a starting point when creating job adverts.

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What Do Public Sector Workers Do?

Your public sector job descriptions detail the public service employees’ functions and how they fit in the local community and government departments’ hierarchy. Government organisations need to hire their civil servants and administrative officers carefully to ensure they have the best mix of experience and skills for completing a vital role in society.

The performance and effectiveness of government and public sector businesses rely on their civil servants and their ability to, for example, conduct policy development and make a positive difference, while remaining politically impartial. Failing to follow best practices can have disastrous effects on services from social care to benefits, health, pensions, and rural affairs.

Depending on the local government department, civil servants oversee:

  • Public services, such as housing
  • Administrative support for government ministers or a cabinet office
  • Internal Human Resources and training
  • Creating or updating policy documents
  • Guiding people’s education, training, skills development, and employment, enabling them to find job security
  • Collecting data and producing a range of research reports
  • Collecting census data across the country
  • Surveying large numbers of people
  • Investigating crime in communities
  • Administering pensions and benefits

Public Sector Role

The duties of public sector workers are completed in businesses by individuals employed in roles titled as:

  • Civil servant
  • Internal Audit Officer
  • DWP Work Coach
  • Police Officer/Police Force
  • Housing Advice Office
  • Property Manager
  • Community Manager
  • Security Officer
  • Emergency Services Roles
  • Armed Forces Roles

Public Sector Responsibilities And Duties

Public sector duties are the must-do and high-priority responsibilities of the role. Just as in other sectors, these are the job aspects that you will likely govern the individual’s performance on, and as you can imagine, these vary significantly due to the number of different offices, their functions, and public services.

Public sector responsibilities and job duties might include:

  • Handling office administration
  • Providing information and support to non-departmental public bodies
  • Answering complex queries from the public, private companies, or a cabinet office
  • Negotiating with third-party providers
  • Responding to emails and answering incoming calls
  • Attending courses to develop the knowledge and skills needed for the role or career development
  • Inputting data into spreadsheets and applications
  • Complying with regulations and policies
  • Collecting rent payments
  • Taking legal action
  • Overseeing policy development and updating policy documents
  • Conducting research and gathering data
  • Guiding a person’s skills development, teaching, training, employment, and education
  • Administering public services, housing, benefits, pensions, and support
  • Investigating crime or responding to emergencies

These duties are pretty generic, but you can make the job’s duties more engaging and meaningful by saying how the responsibility should be accomplished. For example, ‘Guiding a person’s skills development by connecting them with employers offering work experience opportunities.

Public Sector Skills

To ensure your department continues to serve the country effectively, you should seek employees with the relevant skills, expertise, and qualifications. Skills for working within the public sector or non-departmental public bodies include:

  • Integrity
  • Honesty, openness, and truthfulness
  • Objectivity, making decisions based on rigorous analysis
  • Impartiality and an ability to remain politically neutral
  • Research and analysis
  • Empathy and compassion
  • Technology, website, and systems proficiency
  • Numeracy and finance
  • Negotiation
  • Knowledge of information and data management
  • Specialist knowledge such as legal, environment, career development, property management, science, security, or engineering
  • Good communication skills
  • Time management
  • Ability to work under pressure and to deadlines
  • Teamworking
  • Analytical
  • Problem-solving skills
  • Active listening
  • Empathy and compassion
  • Target-driven
  • Adaptable
  • Leadership and motivational (people managers)
  • Presenting and pitching skills
  • Strategic thinking

Public Sector Qualifications And Education

The education and qualifications depend on the role and level of seniority but might include:

  • A Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration, Human Resources, Project Management, or similar
  • Specialist knowledge of science, career paths, the environment, law, engineering, or security

Required Public Sector Experience And Public Sector Training

Public sector jobs may require an individual with previous experience working for government with proficiency in using computers to enter or retrieve data or write reports. The Civil Service Fast Stream Scheme is another avenue to enter the career path with Fast Stream available to graduates and postgraduates in their final year at university.

Public Sector Job Description FAQs

Here we answer your questions on public services roles, job titles, and job descriptions.


Civil service administrative officers jobs might entail providing advice to government ministers or helping the public with careers planning, access to training, housing support, and pensions. The title administrative officer refers to many office-based roles but the civil servant moniker can also refer to roles such as police officers and security personnel.


Depending on the jobs you need to advertise, you may need candidates with an ability to complete administrative tasks or communicate with the public or an executive officer, requiring excellent verbal and written communication skills.


The civil service provides professional services to the government, in departments such as local authorities, councils, and the Ministry of Defence.


Public sector workers can be challenging but employees can find it extremely rewarding to successfully leverage their skills and training. Many public sector professions offer excellent benefits across finance, pensions, wellbeing, and careers development. These should be promoted in any public sector jobs description or advert.


Public sector jobs are performed in government or local authority departments. Civil servants include police officers, work coaches, security officers, and housing officers.


Job advertising for civil service professionals will differ based on the government department, jobs, position, and profession. It will help to implement a recruitment strategy that encompasses advertising on general and professions-based job boards, social media, and for word of mouth referrals. Your hiring strategy might also include having a presence at industry events and conferences and online with professional bodies, third-party providers, or other government departments.

Crucial elements that will affect hiring success include writing an effective job description and selecting the proper civil servant job title. The description of jobs should clearly define the role, and the job advert should highlight the benefits of working for a government department or public service agencies.

Public sector benefits might include an excellent work-life balance and career development opportunities within the department or externally to other professions. Many departments have clearly defined career paths and access to education for skills development.

It will also aid your department’s hiring efforts to include the organisation’s mission and values, often described on the government’s career website. In terms of advertising your private sector jobs, flat fee recruitment solutions continue to deliver the best results.


A public sector job description is a document that sets out the role’s duties, tasks, and skills. Putting these in black and white is crucial and will help you find the right match for a position that directly affects revenue, profit, growth, and customer experience.

The job description should be transparent and clearly set out who you are, who you want, what they will do, and why a potential candidate might want to work for you. It helps tremendously to use language and jargon that engages your audience.

When you get all of this right and include the best words to use when writing civil service job descriptions, you will get job applications from qualified candidates that closely match your ideal person profile.


When writing a job description, either for a civil service job advert or an internal job specification, you need to focus on 5 main criteria:

  1. What are the key jobs, tasks, and duties required for a civil service position
  2. Consider all the job responsibilities required for a civil service role
  3. What skills the person must have for the job
  4. What personality traits the person must have to work in civil service professions
  5. Appropriate and relevant education and qualifications

These five criteria should help you build a picture of your ideal candidate. Good questions to consider that will help you write a concise public services job description that stands apart from others (essential in the current competitive job market), and attract the best public services candidates, include:

  • What value does this role bring to your organisation?
  • How does the role align with your organisation’s culture, values, and mission?
  • How does this role differ from other government department positions?
  • How is this role similar to other positions?
  • What are the minimum skills and transferable skills?
  • What are examples of your department’s targets?

Suppose you are not hands-on in the department or highly familiar with the department’s products and services. In that case, it can help to interview one of your senior civil servants to gain a greater understanding.

A word about jargon: The phrase ‘jargon’ has good and bad connotations, and if it isn’t carefully considered, it may deter candidates from applying. Ask yourself if words and phrases are government department exclusive or recognisable by individuals that may have valuable transferable skills.

Furthermore, if you are hiring for senior civil servant positions, you might expect candidates to have a greater vocabulary and understanding of government department jargon. However, if you are hiring for junior-level civil service jobs, consider being as straightforward and transparent as possible.


The tasks of a public services officer or senior civil servants are any other activities that they complete occasionally or on a daily basis. These are usually subsidiary tasks such as responding to customers’ emails or handling complaints.

It is tempting to leave some of the more ‘boring’ tasks out to make your vacancy sound more attractive, but this can lead to trouble down the road as you may recruit a civil service administrative officer or manager that is not a perfect match. If you hire the wrong person, your business, team, customers, or the public may suffer. The employee might leave your organisation, and you are back to square one, requiring another investment in recruitment and training.

If you get to the end of the process outlined here and find that your job description is too long and concise has gone out the window, it is time to review your first draft. To bring things back into line, you should delete unnecessary phrases and fluff, remove prepositional phrases, focus on what is role critical, and refrain from putting your entire ‘about us’ page in your content.


As a final note for employers and recruiters, it is crucial to remember that while a job description is about what and who you want, describing this alone will not create an inbox full of eager candidates willing to comply. A job advert must go beyond the duties, skills, education, qualifications, traits, and tasks that you want and communicate the position’s value to job seekers.

Civil service departments should convey their employee value propositions to engage candidates, highlighting both monetary and other benefits. Benefits that will entice qualified job seekers to apply might include:

  • Stating the position’s average salary range rather than saying ‘competitive salary’
  • Focusing on work-life balance
  • Flexible working (when hours are completed or remote/work from home)
  • Training opportunities
  • Career development opportunities
  • The quality of national or local services
  • How company values align with those of customers and employees

Public Sector Job Description Examples And Samples

We recommend creating your public sector job description using one of the samples and examples below.

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