To answer the question of who wants to work for the government, scholars have relied on a few approaches, including sector preference, sector-based comparison of work motives, and sector-switching patterns of job mobility. The present study offers a related but distinct approach: perceived sector mismatch. The attractiveness of public sector jobs differs greatly across countries; thus, in order to present a more comprehensive study, we examine data from the U.S., New Zealand, and Taiwan, where attitudes towards public sector jobs differ significantly as a result of different public service laws and traditions. Across all three samples, we find that, among private sector employees, the preference for a public service job is related to socio-economic disadvantage. Among public sector workers, reasons for perceived sector mismatch vary, but often suggesting job dissatisfaction in current public sector jobs, rather than perceived advantages of the private sector (including compensation). These findings are followed by theoretical and practical implications from this comparative study.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Business and International Management
- Public Administration