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A Postgraduate Diploma in Public Management (PDPM) can prepare you for a variety of careers in the public sector, including roles in government agencies, state-owned enterprises, nonprofit organisations, and private companies that work closely with the government.

THIS ARTICLE COVERS:

  • What is public management?
  • Reasons to pursue a career in public management
  • What you can do with a diploma in public administration
  • How to get ahead in public management

What is public management?

Public management is a broad field that encompasses the management and administration of public sector organisations. It offers scores of jobs in as many fields again, ranging from policy making to co-ordination of service delivery in fields as diverse as health services, town planning, law, education, environmental protection, and international trade (to name a few), intended to ensure that economies run smoothly, serving their citizens’ best interests.

While public managers and administrators may need to make hard choices to serve the public good, and must always be accountable to the public, they have tremendous scope to do good in their public management positions.

Reasons to pursue a career in public management 

There are lots of reasons to want to work in the public service. Those most often cited are the opportunity it offers to do good, the diversity of options it offers, leadership training, financial benefits, and relative job stability.

Opportunity to make a difference

Public management, which focuses on addressing public issues and promoting the wellbeing of communities, can be a rewarding career path for anyone who wants to make a positive impact on society. A public management degree can equip you with the skills and knowledge necessary to develop and implement policies, manage programmes, and improve the lives of people in your community (Bureau of Labour Statistics, 2020).

Diverse career opportunities in a growing sector

Employment in public administration is projected to grow 6% in the decade up to 2029, creating opportunities for job growth and career advancement (Bureau of Labour Statistics, 2020). 

Leadership development

Public management qualification programmes often include courses on leadership, communication, and decision-making, which can help you develop the skills you need to be an effective leader. These skills can be applied in a variety of roles, from management positions, in elected office, and in community leadership (Neff, 2021).

Financial benefits

Salary ranges for public management graduates, from remuneration specialist PayScale, vary widely, which is not surprising given the broad range of jobs in every country’s public service. Nevertheless, the field offers opportunities to advance and improve your earning potential as you progress in your career (PayScale, 2021). Additionally, many public sector jobs come with benefits such as retirement plans, healthcare, and paid leave.

Annual Salary Range for Public Management Graduates by Country

United States 

US$ 59,000-76,000

United Kingdom

£ 25,000-93,000

Australia 

AU$ 82,000-127,000

South Africa

R 216,000-492,000

India

660,000-706,000

Nigeria

2,000,000-7000,000

(PayScale, 2023)

Job security

Public sector organisations are generally stable and have low turnover rates, which can provide job stability (Neff, 2021).

Postgraduate Diploma in Public Management duration

What you can do with a diploma in public administration

The scope of what you can do diploma in public administration or management is vast, goes beyond the public service, and covers a wide array of fields. Here are some of the jobs you might consider:

  • Public administrator: Public administrators manage public programmes and services such as public health, transport, or housing. They are responsible for developing policies and programmes, overseeing staff, and managing budgets (Liu & Hsieh, 2019).
  • Nonprofit manager: Nonprofit managers oversee the operations of nonprofit organisations, including fundraising, programme management, and community outreach. They ensure that their organisations’ missions are fulfilled and that their programmes are effective (Kramer & Marmaros, 2020).
  • Policy analyst: Policy analysts research and analyse public policy issues to provide recommendations to government officials. They work on issues such as education, health care, or environmental policy (Fischer & Miller, 2020).
  • Urban planner: Urban planners work with government officials and community leaders to develop land and resource use plans for cities and towns. They may work on issues such as transport, housing, and economic development (Calthorpe, 2018).
  • Programme manager: Programme managers oversee the implementation and execution of government programmes, ensuring that they meet their objectives.
  • Public relations specialist: Public relations specialists work to build and maintain positive relationships between government agencies, nonprofits, and the public.
  • Human resource manager: Human resource managers oversee personnel policies and procedures, employee relations, and training and development programmes for government departments, government agencies and nonprofit organisations.
  • Lobbyist: Lobbyists work to influence government policies and legislation on behalf of their clients, which can include corporations, nonprofit organisations, and trade associations.
  • Grant writer: Grant writers prepare and submit grant proposals to secure funding for nonprofit organisations and government agencies.
  • Public finance analyst: Public finance analysts evaluate and advise on policy proposals, spending plans, policy development, and projects, and monitor expenditure and service delivery trends. They participate in budget processes, advising from an economic and financial perspective on requests for roll-over requests, virements, unforeseen expenditure, structural changes to programmes, and ensure that budget documentation complies with national treasury guidelines.
  • City manager: City managers are responsible for overseeing the day-to-day operations of cities and municipalities, including managing budgets, programmes, and policies.
  • Emergency management specialist: These specialists develop and implement emergency plans and procedures for government agencies, nonprofit organisations, and private companies.
  • Public health manager: Public health managers oversee public health programmes and initiatives, ensuring that they meet public health needs and goals.
  • Public safety manager: Public safety managers oversee public safety programmes and initiatives, including police and fire departments, emergency medical services, and disaster response and recovery efforts.
  • Environmental manager: Environmental managers oversee environmental policies and programmes for government agencies, nonprofit organisations, and companies, ensuring compliance with environmental regulations and promoting sustainable practices.
  • Social and community service manager: These managers oversee social service initiatives, including those related to healthcare, housing, and education, and work to improve community wellbeing.
  • Government relations specialist: Government relations specialists build relationships with government officials to advocate for policies that benefit their organisations, and work to influence public opinion on issues relevant to their organisations (Ong, 2019).

These are just a few examples of the many career options in public management. For a wider variety, look at the job boards of the national, provincial and municipal departments that interest you.

How to get ahead in public management

Ultimately, a qualification in public management can be a rewarding and fulfilling choice if you want to make a positive impact on society and pursue a career in the public sector. 

If you are already working for the public service and need a catalyst to change your professional direction and trajectory, consider enrolling for a Postgraduate Diploma in Public Management. You’ll find more details about the Postgraduate Diploma in Public Management duration, eligibility requirements, and courses here

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Fulufhelo Ramashia

MBA, MDHR, HED, BA Senior Facilitator | Regenesys School of Public Management

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MBA, MDHR, HED, BA Senior Facilitator | Regenesys School of Public Management

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