Why Consider a Career in Local Government?

Looking for a fulfilling career? Consider local government!

VIA ICMA-owned image

As a whole generation of baby boomers begins to retire, we in local government are searching for energetic learning-oriented younger workers and talented second- or third-career older workers. Public service is a wonderfully fulfilling career for a number of reasons:

1. Meaningful, Challenging Work

Local government service is inherently meaningful because our work is related to building and improving communities. Police officers, fire fighters, paramedics, and building inspectors keep us safe. Engineers and public works staff build and re-build the physical infrastructure. City and county planners help envision and shape future community growth. Recreation, arts and culture, and library professionals enhance community life. City, town, and county management takes the aspirations of residents and the policy goals of the elected governing board and puts those aspirations and goals into action.

Public service at the local level is also fulfilling because employees see the fruits of their labors. On a daily basis, local government employees see street and other infrastructure improvements; new buildings coming out of the ground; safety improvements; and happier, more fulfilled children, families, and senior residents.

Public service at the local level is also challenging work. The efforts of local government workers happens in the context of local government, where everyone gets to participate, and everyone has a say.

Every day presents new challenges, new problems, and lots of stimuli.

2. Financial Benefits

Local government service offers salaries that are now competitive with the private sector and benefits that are often better. Public agencies need employees with all kinds of talents, skills and occupational interests. Below are samples of positions and recent salaries offered by an average small-to-mid-sized city or county:

POSITION SALARY
Account Specialist $53,196
IT Manager $106,787
City Planner $80,811
Recreation Supervisor $101,379
Police Officer $74,534
Engineer $89,895
Fire Fighter $73,195
Building Inspector $74,727
Administrative Assistant $60,112
City, Town, or County Manager/Administrator $136,345
Sr. Water Systems Operator $78,733
Librarian $57,695


As you can see, local government offers employment in many, many disciplines.

3. Steady Demand for Services

Another reason to consider a career in local government is that the public needs, wants, and demands services. Residents typically do not ask their local government to reduce library, police, or fire services; public works; utilities; park and recreation; or other programs.

While local government may have to cut programs from time-to-time because tax or other revenues decline, the demand for services remains steady.

4. Learning Abounds

Local governments operate in a very dynamic environment. Changing resident demands, new federal and state laws and regulations, technology advances, demographic changes, new value trends, and other societal forces often make technical skills obsolete. Consequently, local governments need agile learners who are eager to pick up new ways of doing business or delivering services. Simply put, we are looking for young people and second- and third-career people who provide "learn-how" as well as "know-how" to our public organizations.

5. Plenty of Opportunities

Again, longtime baby-boomer employees (born 1946-1964) are now retiring. Local government needs a new generation of younger workers as well as those considering second or third careers. Consider local government if:

  • You want meaningful and challenging work.
  • You want to make a difference and build and improve communities.
  • You want a competitive salary and good benefits.
  • You are interested in learning.

Come join us in making a difference in your own backyard!

Advertisement

You may also be interested in