Who Wants to Work for the Government?
Article first published online: 17 DEC 2002
2002 by the American Society for Public Administration
Public Administration Review
Volume 62, Issue 4, pages 395–404, July/August 2002
How to Cite
Lewis, G. B. and Frank, S. A. (2002), Who Wants to Work for the Government?. Public Administration Review, 62: 395–404. doi: 10.1111/0033-3352.00193
- Issue published online: 17 DEC 2002
- Article first published online: 17 DEC 2002
- Cited By
In an era when everyone wants to be a millionaire, governments struggle to attract and retain highly qualified employees, making it more important than ever to understand what attracts people to the public service. Using contingency table analysis and logistic regression on the 1989 and 1998 General Social Surveys, we explore how individuals' demographic characteristics and the importance they place on various job qualities influence their preference for and employment in the public sector. Job security may still be the strongest attraction of government jobs, but high income and the opportunity to be useful to society also attract some Americans to the public service. Minorities, veterans, Democrats, and older Americans preferred public-sector jobs more than whites, nonveterans, Republicans, and younger Americans, who were otherwise similar. Women and college graduates were more likely than comparable men and less-educated respondents to have government jobs, but no more likely to prefer them. Overall, desire for government jobs declined markedly between 1989 and 1998.