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Thread: Private sector vs public sector jobs and their availability to graduates?

  1. #1

    Private sector vs public sector jobs and their availability to graduates?

    As a prospective planner, I would prefer to work in an architecture/planning firm or consultancy (or as a private consultant) rather than the public sector.

    Am I right in assuming that the private sector involves less council meetings, less political dealings, and is generally more creative as one is working with architects/landscapers? Also, one is working on the creative end of projects.

    Is it true that only 2 in 10 jobs are in the private sector in planning? Does that mean its very difficult to find a job right away in a private firm?


  2. #2
    Dec 2006
    Private sector planning positions come in all shapes and sizes. Some smaller communities who do not have budgets large enough to hire full-time staff will either hire a part time planner or contract a planning consultant (this reduces overhead). In this situation, consultants will do the same job as a public sector planner. On the otherhand, the public sector hires consultants who are specialists in a certain area of planning. Some consultant groups will offer services like economic development, development studies, or survey writing: important areas of planning that are not necessarily "creative".

    Bottom line, a planning consultant is a planner who offers planning services based on an agreeable rate or budget established through a contract. However, more "creative" tasks involving urban design, streetscapes, subdivison design, etc. are much more likely to be found either through a private planning firm or a developer.

    I was offered a public sector position at the same time I was offered a private sector position. I don't think it really matters for freshly minted graduates. If anything, I think private firms are more likely to be flexible when looking for new hires, because they are typically not as weighed down by hiring requirements as the public sector. The private sector job wasn't even advertised, and even though I spent a long time prepping for the interview, I was hired based on a few years of internships in various communities and, more importantly, who I knew.

  3. #3
    Cyburbian DrumLineKid's avatar
    Feb 2007
    The Castle Aaaargh

    Night Meetings

    I worked private sector for a short while after working public sector for nearly 20 years. I was working half time for one community, and had responsibility for planning/director type stuff for up to three others. I was home late (11:00 PM or later) at least once per week, and sometimes multiple nights per week. In other words, its just as crazy. You just don't have to rely on the politicians for your actual pay check and suffering the winds of fate means you can work with another community without changing jobs. DLK

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