Who is civil servant?

What Is a Civil Servant? Your Guide To The Profession

Every day, civil service professionals work to help and serve the broader population. Civil servants protect, educate, provide for and help their fellow people. If you want to explore a career in the civil service industry, there are several occupations and roles to select from. In this article, we discuss what is a civil servant, why you may consider pursuing this industry, how to find a civil service job as well as what are the different types of roles available.

What is a civil servant?

A civil servant is a professional who works for the government agencies and public sector undertakings. Civil servants are politically neutral and independent of government. The civil service is a collective name for a government sector that mostly consists of civil servants employed on professional merit rather than elected and appointed.

Each department of government employs, manages and establishes employment policies on its own. As a civil servant, you may expect your pay, perks and career prospects to differ substantially based on your job title. In short, the label “civil servant” encompasses a wide range of people and occupations.

Why pursue a civil servant job?

There are numerous compelling reasons why you may desire to pursue a career in government. For starters, working for the government offers a high amount of employment stability. The majority of the services provided by civil workers safeguard essential human rights guaranteed by the government, such as safety, justice and education.

The benefits vary depending on the employment, but most government employers provide a pension. Government pay generally grows on a regular basis based on the number of years you’ve worked. Specific government contracts vary, so when contemplating a civil service position, compare the perks and compensation with comparable employment in the private sector. Outlined below are some advantages of working in the civil service field:

  • Job security: Regardless of economic conditions or even crises, it’s very unlikely that you can get retrenched from the civil service.
  • Consistency: Because you work for the government, who makes the labour rules, you can expect the civil service to strictly follow these regulations. As such, the salary is typically on time, the bonuses are predictable and exercising employee rights is simple and straightforward.
  • Personal and skill development: Singapore’s civil service puts a great emphasis on workforce development and upskilling. As a civil servant, you may expect subsidised and more accessible degree courses and training workshops.
  • Subsidised facilities: As a civil servant, you can enjoy numerous employee facilities and subsidised services.
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How to find a civil servant job

Outlined below are some steps you can consider when pursuing a civil servant job:

1. Look online

In order to find a job, it’s important that you find suitable openings for yourself. You may conduct an internet search to look for available civil service roles on careers@gov. You can also look into various online job portals to discover civil service opportunities that fit you.

2. Attend a civil servant job fair

Seek upcoming career fairs and recruitment campaigns in your area. Attending one of these events can help you to establish key professional connections, exchange your resume and acquire vital information about a range of civil servant careers. This might help you when you are applying for your desired position.

3. Reach out to your local community

Speaking with public servants in your region may lead to opportunities. Inquire about prospective employment vacancies in your local community. You can also express your interest to your local fire department, police station, social services centre or civil government agency.

4. Ensure that you’re qualified

Once you’ve found a suitable job opportunity, examine the job criteria and description to ensure that you’re qualified for the role. Pursue the necessary education and training to ensure that you fulfil the requirements. Some roles might even require you to have certain certifications prior to applying for the position.

5. Broaden your search

If you’re yet to be qualified for your intended role, you may explore a lower-level position with chances for growth. You may also look for roles that you have not really considered before, review their job scopes and ask around for feedback. If you can adjust your expectations and goals to the current employment market, you can have better chances of success in the long run.

Types of civil servant jobs

Salary, work requirements and duties vary widely across civil servant occupations. Discussed below are a few examples of popular civil servant jobs:


If you work as a teacher in local schools, then you’re classified as a civil servant. The taxpayers pay for the salary of MOE school teachers. In turn, these teachers contribute to the public good by teaching students. Teachers enjoy excellent benefits as a result of their unique work schedules and are compensated more based on the number of years they teach. After finishing your bachelor’s degree, you can apply to receive training at the National Institute of Education.

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Armed forces

The mission of the Singapore Armed Forces is to maintain the country’s peace and security via diplomacy and deterrence and to win a fast and decisive victory over the aggressor if these fail. Security is a continual requirement in order to maintain the sovereignty and way of life in Singapore. Military civil servants encompass personnel in the Singapore Army, the Republic of Singapore Air Force and the Republic of Singapore Navy. In Singapore Armed Forces, the titles or ranks include commanders, corporals, sergeants and administrative assistants. As a prerequisite, armed forces are required to pass an admission examination.


The judicial department of the government offers a variety of intriguing career options, one of which is serving as Chief Justice, Judge of Appeal or Judge of the Supreme Court. Judges preside over legal trials in state courts. A trial is overseen by a judge to ensure that it follows the rules and regulations of the law. Judges have doctorates and rely on their vast legal knowledge and practical experience to enforce their responsibilities.


When it comes to civil engineering, there’s a notably consistent and high demand in Singapore. Civil engineers design, construct and maintain public roads, bridges and trains. Some civil engineers work with sewage systems, water treatment plants or dams. To work in your chosen area, civil engineers are required to first acquire a degree and then undergo practical training. Engineers have various specialisations with job titles such as mechanical engineers, structural engineers, chemical engineers, health and safety engineers and electrical engineers.

Social workers

Social workers assist people in managing difficulties, such as drug addiction, child abuse, homelessness, unemployment and health problems. Generally, social workers engage and evaluate service users to better understand their requirements and level of functioning. In doing so, social workers collaborate with the affected individuals to set goals, facilitate resources and create case plans to solve the issue. To ensure flexibility, social workers also do their best to implement, review and modify case plans according to the changing environment.

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There are different types of social workers with various levels of expertise, experience and education needed. Public health social workers are professionals who help people who are unwell or addicted to drugs or alcohol. When a child suffers from an unsafe and dangerous situation in their existing home environment, family social workers act by placing them in foster care or arranging an adolescent placement.

Police officers

By apprehending criminals, police officers safeguard the public and preserve the peace. They investigate crimes, battles gangs, detects computer fraud, arrest offenders and testify in criminal prosecutions. Officers from the police department are often the first to react to emergency 999 calls. Police officers can develop their careers in a variety of ways, including becoming a police commissioner, sub or senior inspector or a police superintendent.

Who else is considered a civil servant?

Aside from these specialised positions, it’s also feasible to maintain a standard job title while serving as a civil servant. For instance, you might work for the government as a professional assistant, secretary, legal advisor, IT consultant or accountant. In a government facility, you might potentially work as a security guard, receptionist or facilities manager. There may be confusion pertaining to what is a civil servant. Regardless of your exact job description, if you work for the government ministries and the legal system, you’re regarded as a civil servant.

Are nurses considered civil servants?

In most cases, nurses aren’t considered civil servants. Almost all the nurses working in hospitals are not public or civil servants. If you’re a nurse working in a hospital, then you’re treated the same way as statutory board employees.