Difference Between Civil Servant and Public Servant

Main Difference – Civil Servant vs Public Servant

Both the terms Civil Servant and Public Servant look the same in the meaning, but there is a slight difference between them. Civil means relating to national, public or social aspects. Public also gives a more or less a similar meaning. However, a civil servant can be defined as a bureaucrat hired by the government to work for the public sector. Public servant, on the other hand, is an elected or appointed member of the government for social or public services. This is the main difference between a civil servant and a public servant. Let us look at the difference between civil servant and public servant in detail.

Who is a Civil Servant

A civil servant can be defined as a selected person for a government department to offer his/her services for the government and for the general public. Usually, a civil servant is selected through a competitive examination or an interview, and he/she should possess required educational and professional qualifications; experience will also be an advantage. A civil servant is usually paid by the government for his/her services. Also, a civil servant can be recognized as a representative of the government as well. A civil servant may stand for the government and provide needed services to the general public. A civil servant’s duties and responsibilities are usually decided by his/her respective department officials. These services may differ from one department to another and one country to another as well. However, a civil servant is an essential part of any government to dispense its services to the general public.

Difference between Civil Servant and Public Servant

Who is a Public Servant

 A public servant can be defined as a person who is elected or appointed by people or higher authorities in order to serve the general public. The term “public servant” is mostly used to refer to the politicians of a country’s government. These public servants always aim to serve common people in different ways. Unlike a civil servant, a public servant does not require educational qualifications or any other experience. It can be said that anybody can become a public servant if they are interested in social service and welfare. Moreover, a public servant does not necessarily work for the government but they are able to work for the society voluntarily. A civil servant may have a set of duties and responsibilities imposed on him/her, but a public servant might not have a set of imposed duties. They can engage in many types of social activities which satisfy the needs of the general public.

Main Difference - Civil Servant vs Public Servant

Difference Between Civil Servant and Public Servant


Civil Servant is an official or a bureaucrat representing the government and who works in an office or a department.

Public Servant is a social worker who is elected or appointed and sometimes works in an office and represent the government.


To be a civil servant, one needs educational and professional qualifications plus experience.

To be a public servant, it is not a necessity to possess educational or professional qualifications.

Duties and Responsibilities

Civil Servant is a given set of duties and responsibilities towards the general public.

Public Servant might not have a set of duties, but their aim is to serve the needy people.

Difference Between Civil Servant and Public Servant- infographic

Image Courtesy:

“US Navy 020614-N-0552D-001 SPAWAR award winning employee” by U.S. Navy photo by Corinna Durn.(Public Domain) via

“111th US Senate class photo” by U.S. Senate, 111th Congress, -. (Public Domain) via

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