Can your Public Service skills transfer to the Private Sector?

Canberra Partner Amanda McIntyre has created an impressive career spanning across both the public and private arenas. Reflecting on her experiences, she sheds new light on the age old debate: Government vs Private Sector Employment.

You could say that Amanda McIntyre’s career has come full circle. She first started out as a Graduate with Coopers and Lybrand (now PwC) nearly 20 years ago. Leveraging the knowledge and qualifications she gained from working across fraud investigations, insolvencies and internal audits, Amanda then made the jump into an area she was particularly “curious” about – public service.

From here, she went on to hold coveted roles as Chief Financial Officer for the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, as well as Chief Internal Auditor for the Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency – “These were great jobs. Incredibly stimulating and they taught me a lot.”

Now, having amassed a decade in public service and an incredibly diverse skill set, Amanda has returned to her PwC roots. This time she joins us as a Consulting Partner in our Canberra offices, an area which she says offers her “exciting” opportunities that align with her personal interests.

“All the career choices I have made, and the path of my career to date has been driven by a desire to work in roles that align with my preferences and passions.”  

Reflecting on her experience of both the public and private sectors, Amanda finds herself in the unique position of being able to offer authentic input to the age old debate, which pins the two against each other. However, she says, it’s not so clear cut as a singular answer. Instead, Amanda encourages people to explore how they can diversify their skill set and gain new opportunities through time spent in both areas.

“In today’s job market we no longer face a dichotomy of choice between a job in the private sector or the public sector. We need to become more comfortable changing employers and the sector in which we are employed in.”

“I’ve had a career as a Consultant, and one as public servant. I feel that I have benefited from the best of what the public service and the private sector has to offer. Both the public and private sectors offer a world of opportunity – and with a professional qualification, be it a CPA, a CA or anything else, the world is truly your oyster.”

When directly comparing the sectors, Amanda says both are equipped to offer employees great complex problem solving and people management skills. But, in her opinion, where the private sector holds a unique edge over public service is in its embracement of creativity.

“On the whole, I’ve found, the private sector is more risk taking. If you want to hone your creative skills, find a role in the private sector that is around assimilating information to consider options, and one that also teaches you different ways of working.”

In fact, creative problem solving is the very passion that unites the diverse PwC community. Like Amanda, our people are continuously finding new ways to innovate and solve some of the biggest issues currently redefining society. It’s something that we not only embrace, but we consider a core value.

“At PwC, creativity is inscribed in one of our core values, which is ‘reimagine the possible’. We challenge each other and actively strive to reimagine the ways to solve each complex problem. I’m looking forward to honing this skill more in my current role.”

Even so, Amanda is still a strong advocate for public service and attributes her time spent here to helping her shape a career that is “values-driven”, which she says is “one of the real pros of choosing a career as a public servant”.

As to why a public servant should consider a transition (whether short or long term) into the private world? More than just bringing out your creativity, it will better equip you with “all of the skills needed for a 40+ year career in the changing world of work”. Specifically, as private businesses continue to be “market-drive”, the private sector offers employees greater exposure to service orientation skills.

“Market forces have meant that for-profit businesses do not survive if they are not responding to the market. The public sector has lagged in this regard, if you are not in a ‘frontline’ or ‘service delivery’ of public service you will be less exposed to this.”

So, if you’re considering where you’ll best learn, build and apply your skill set, a transition to the private sector could provide you the right opportunity to enable your career of the future.

Interested in working with Amanda’s team? Apply now!

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