Public Design Jobs

A job board for designers disillusioned with commercial work

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Public Design Jobs is a mission-based job board for design & innovation jobs in the public sector, worldwide. Discover careers at the intersection of design and the public good, and find job opportunities aligned to social missions you care deeply about.

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Jason Leow
Jason LeowMaker@jasonleowsg · design + public good + indie maker
Hi Product Hunters! Back story: I’m tired of myself talking about making products but never. So I’m committing to make 1 minimum viable product per month, starting Feb 2018. I’ll keep going till I run out of ideas or money, or something takes off in a huge way that requires all my time, or exhaustion kicks in. Whichever comes first. More about #1mvp1month here: For my 4th MVP, I’m launching Public Design Jobs, a mission-based job board for design and innovation jobs in the public sector, worldwide. Designers seeking social impact in their work often do not know where to look for opportunities. Employers, similarly, do not know where to find designers interested in joining government. There’s a lot of missed opportunities in matching interested job seeker to willing employer, hence this job board aims to address that. Why make Public Design Jobs? Being in the design+gov field for some years now, I’m struck by how there’s a lot of missed opportunities in matching employers and job candidates. I often get asked about my design work with government agencies. People are curious. Many designers and other innovation professionals I know are hungry to explore more altruistic career pathways, more social impact and a deeper personal meaning in their work. This might be due to fatigue or boredom from years of commercial work, or simply a curiosity to stretch themselves in a different way. I get this too from many younger fresh graduates who see job security and purpose/passion as not mutually exclusive – being able to make a decent living is just as important for their careers as being able to make a decent impact on society. The social mission is important. And they aren’t just looking for low commitment, pro bono volunteering opportunities; to design the odd website for a charity here or do up a event poster there. A proper career are on the cards if it checks off their boxes. Yet most of the designers I speak to are often unaware of the many available opportunities in the public sector. “I don’t really know what’s out there. Help me discover job opportunities which I may be interested in but not even know exist.” They are often curious to know what it’s like to work as an in-house designer inside government; what are the projects that they can work on; how is it different from commercial work; is there career progression; does it pay well; how’s the culture like – stifling red tape, or skunk works? On the employer’s side, they often do not know where to find the right design talent who are interested to work in this niche area, because design and innovation positions are relatively new to government. Even when it’s the in-house design team doing their own hiring, it’s exceedingly difficult to find the right design talent. People with the right mix of depth in design skills and breadth in experience (in say, managing stakeholders and working through organisational red tape), coupled with the right personality and attitudes (e.g. pro-active yet patient). Many in-house teams I know have permanently open vacancies, as after they manage hire one designer, another one would be leaving! So it’s kind of like a situation where you have two groups of people wandering in the talent wilderness, looking for each other but just passing each other by because they are looking/hanging out at the wrong places! Employers also want to get the job exposed to the right audience and secure the best candidate for the job. A job portal should also be easy to use, help them save time and effort, allowing them to fill vacancies quickly. Depending on position, they don’t always have huge budgets for recruiters or ads, so affordability is important too. To my knowledge, I do not know of any job board or job aggregator site that focuses exclusively at this intersection of design and public service. So I do sense a market gap here that could be plugged. By making this job board, I hope to bring both sides together. As Public Design Jobs is a sister site to Public Design Vault – a curated directory of 500+ design tools & resources for the public good – I’m hoping there will be serendipitous opportunities for people to discover a new meaningful and impactful career in design, and to shine a spotlight on our field at the intersection of design and the public good. More about why and how I made the site here: I’d love to hear if this is useful for you, why or why not? Honest feedback is how I like to take it, so please fire away. Especially shouting out to the designers and developers here who are working for government and public good, your feedback and questions would be much appreciated! :)