Top skills for a successful career in the public sector

The public sector is a large employer, covering sectors from firefighters and police to civil servants and project managers. While there is always a demand for public sector employees, they are highly competitive. To increase your chances of employment, check out these top skills for a successful career in the public sector:

  • Communication

Communication is a crucial skill in the public sector as it is needed to build and retain relationships with service users, colleagues and partners. Dr Jennifer Law says it is important to have communication skills as 'you will need to be able to persuade and explain effectively, listen well and vary your verbal and writing style to get your point across.’


  • Resilience

The public services sector is one of the fastest moving and ever changing sectors out there and you need to be resilient to be able to work in this kind of environment. Dr Law says 'this includes the ability to bounce back from difficulties, take a positive approach to change, and to persevere and cope with pressure effectively.'


  • Leaderships

Leadership is an essential key within the public sector, especially the ability to lead without controlling others. Dr Hans Schlappa says 'Placing one's actions within a strategic framework helps those who are involved understand the rationale for the direction of travel.'


  • Collaborative working

One of the most valuable skills in the public sector is the ability to work across boundaries with another public agency or partner. Dr Law says 'public service organisations are increasingly recognising that solutions to pressing problems, such as the gap in life expectancy between the richest and the poorest and the need to plan for the needs of the growing population, involve more than one organisation.' 


  • Problem solving

It is essential for those working within the public sector, to have the ability to explore the root cause of problems and use critical thinking to understand phenomena and offer and put solutions in place.