What is the Private Sector?
The private sector in a free economy is very large. It includes sole-proprietorships, partnerships, small to mid-size businesses and corporations. These private companies can be publicly traded. At times, private sector businesses form partnerships with public sector entities, forming a public-private partnership.
Private sector businesses and organizations are autonomous. The managers set their own goals and targets, which are driven by profitability. Hiring and firing decisions happen much faster in this sector than in the public sector. Additionally, the revenue private businesses generate can be used immediately and, unlike public sector companies, these companies can choose their own suppliers and distributors.
Entities within this sector answer to a board of directors, shareholders and consumers. While private businesses are not controlled by the government, they are subject to government laws and regulations.
Competition and consumer accountability create private sector efficiencies. These entities must provide excellent products and services to stay in businesses.
Public Administration Careers in the Private Sector
Public administrators who work in the private sector often hold positions that involve frequent interaction with public sector organizations or agencies. Individuals also use their public administration skillset while pursuing seemingly unrelated career paths. The following are some of the most common private sector jobs held by individuals with public administration backgrounds.
Chief Executive Officer/Executive Level Positions: Top executives lead organizations by making high-level strategic decisions that advance business goals. These executives have a vast amount of practical work experience and typically hold a graduate degree.
Consultant: Companies hire outside consultants to help improve their efficiency and profitability. Many consultants are retained because of their expertise in certain areas. Businesses in highly regulated industries often hire consultants with previous government or public administration experience.
Human Resource Manager: A human resources manager is the liaison between government officials or corporate managers and their respective employees. The human resources department oversees hiring, training, compensation and benefit plans, employee grievances, employee discipline, personnel policies, labor negotiations and many other administrative matters. Private businesses and corporations must comply with all applicable employment laws. Human resources managers familiar with federal, state and local regulations review an entity’s employment practices and confirm legal compliance.
Academic Administrator: Academic administration is a supervisory position. While many administrators are former educators, in this job their responsibilities revolve around management-related tasks. This role exists at all levels of education, primary through graduate school. Public and private schools fill these jobs with people who understand academia and are equipped to manage large groups of students.
Marketing Manager: Marketing specialists and managers create strong brand identities that represent the idea, product or service being promoted. Once established, this brand identity can help advance the company’s ultimate goal. A public administrator’s unique perspective allows them to tailor marketing campaigns in a manner that generates a positive response.
Information Technology Administrator: Many laws and regulations affect the online universe. Public administrators can advise private companies about proper data storage and usage.
Journalist: Journalists research various topics and report their findings via print, radio or television. News outlets are interested in individuals who understand the context behind the topics being researched. For instance, political reporters must recognize the way the government functions and know how policies are created and implemented.
Statistician: Statisticians gather, process and analyze data. This information is used to answer complex questions, solve difficult problems and grow businesses. This knowledge is relevant to both public and private sector organizations.
Lawyer: Lawyers offer advice and vigorously defend their clients. Many private law firms employ attorneys who handle matters involving government contracts, government finance, government regulations and other administrative topics.
Healthcare or Pharmaceutical Manager: Healthcare management is a growing field that involves overseeing all aspects of healthcare facilities and care. Individuals in these positions are liaisons between administrators and medical personnel. A thorough understanding of healthcare regulation is imperative in this profession.
Private Sector, Public Administration Education
Many different graduate degrees can help advance a private sector career. One such degree is a Master of Public Administration (MPA). Students in this program acquire the analytical, management and leadership skills needed to build a successful private sector career.
MPA programs cover topics such as strategic planning, statistical analysis, communications, organizational operations and policy interpretation. In addition to these skills, MPA students are also taught about the importance of social responsibility. The increased emphasis MPA programs place on this topic helps their graduates understand consumer wants and needs. Recently, more and more consumers are choosing to align themselves with companies that share their values. Private companies are looking for individuals to create programs that can achieve both community and corporate goals. MPA graduates are uniquely prepared to fulfill these initiatives.
The practical and pragmatic approach of an MPA program allows students to successfully manage the situations they will encounter while working in various private sector jobs.