What it does: Australia’s national security service.
Staff stats: Around 2000 employees, mainly based in Canberra, but ASIO also has offices across Australia.
The good bits: Serving your country. ASIO staff help protect Australia and Australians from threats to their security.
The not so good bits: You can’t vent about a bad day at work. The identity of ASIO officers and the work they do is secret, so you can’t tell people what you do or who you work for.
Hiring grads with degrees in: Health & Medical Sciences; Humanities, Arts & Social Sciences; Law & Legal Studies; Property & Built Environment; Sciences; Engineering, Maths, IT & Computer Sciences; Finance, Accounting, Communications, Economics & Business Administration
After WWII, Soviet spies were discovered accessing confidential government data from both the UK and Australia. In 1949, this prompted the Prime Minister to issue a ‘Directive for the Establishment and Maintenance of a Security Service’, which set in motion the creation of ASIO.
ASIO has worked to protect Australia and Australians for over 70 years. While many things have changed in this time, ASIO’s purpose has remained constant. As Australia’s national security service, much like its foreign counterparts such as Britain’s MI5, it's tasked with collecting and assessing security intelligence, investigating and responding to threats to national security. During the Cold War, this largely consisted of keeping an eye on Soviet interference. More recently it has been involved in everything from preventing terrorist attacks to catching spies.
ASIO protects the nation from foreign interference, espionage, sabotage, terrorism and threats to Australia’s border integrity. When investigating threats to Australia’s security, the ASIO Act 1979 allows officers to do certain things which would otherwise be unlawful. Use of these special powers is strictly limited by legislation, and ASIO operates within the letter and the spirit of the law. The Director-General of Security leads ASIO, which is a statutory agency in the Home Affairs portfolio.
ASIO counters threats through the dedication of its staff—ordinary people who do extraordinary things—and strong partnerships with law enforcement and national security agencies, governments, industry, academia and international counterparts.
ASIO is committed to diversity and inclusion. Seeking to reflect the community it protects, ASIO recognises the value of diverse thinking. It actively encourages women in Science, Technology, Engineering & Maths (STEM) and those from diverse backgrounds to apply. ASIO has been awarded silver accreditation by the Australian Workplace Equality Index.
However, there is a rigorous selection process to work at ASIO. While your application information is strictly confidential, people not comfortable providing detailed personal information might wish to consider if ASIO is right for them.
ASIO helps keep Australians safe, often in the background with little public recognition of the work its team does to protect the nation. ASIO staff are extremely dedicated to their work, but that doesn’t mean it’s all they do. ASIO’s people are from all walks of life, and their passions outside of the workplace reflect this.
ASIO employs graduates from a range of disciplines depending on what role you are applying for. The Intelligence Officer or Analyst Program accepts clever, curious candidates from any field of study, as long as you have the right aptitude.
To become a qualified Intelligence Officer or Analyst, ASIO will train you over the 12-month initial training program. Intelligence Officers have a wide array of career opportunities within ASIO, completing postings in both analytical and human intelligence collection roles. Intelligence Analysts focus specifically on analysis and are posted to a broad range of analytical roles throughout their career with the Organisation.
Technology more your thing? The Technologists Graduate Program is looking for people who have studied STEM and ICT subjects such as Cyber Security, Computer Forensics, Mathematics, Data Science/Analytics, Network Engineering, Software Engineering/Development, Telecommunications, Electrical, Mechanical, Computer Engineering, Information Security and ICT Systems Integration and Management.
This program builds on your existing skills to prepare you to be an ASIO Technologist, which involves using or developing technology to gather and analyse intelligence. This can include telecommunications interception, computer exploitation, technical surveillance, data science and electronic or software engineering.
As well as the above roles, ASIO recruits psychologists, lawyers and linguists, as well as corporate staff in areas such as IT, HR, communications and finance. If you are looking for a start to your career in these areas, ASIO handles all of these functions in house so keep your eye on their website for opportunities.
To apply, you’ll need to be an Australian citizen. You will undergo a long and demanding assessment process. This will include an extensive background check to determine whether you are eligible for a ‘Positive Vetting’ security clearance. As part of the security clearance process, you may be drug tested, have your digital footprint checked out and be required to supply information about your current and past financial situation.
Obviously, you’ll also need to be discreet – ASIO doesn’t even like people revealing they’ve applied to work there. ASIO doesn’t supply much information about the stages of the recruitment process. As with other public service graduate programs, you should be prepared for a long process, which starts with an online application.
You’ll earn $80,797 while doing the Technologist graduate program, with a pay bump to $83,936 once you’ve completed it.
For the Intelligence Professionals program, you will start at $83,936 and increase to $92,773 upon successful completion of the program.
All salaries attract superannuation of 15.4% on top of these figures.
Both graduates and mid-career professionals will have opportunities for professional development through graduate-entry and leading intelligence and management training programs within ASIO’s career management frameworks.
You can select from, and move between, a variety of jobs in ASIO, always growing and developing new skills during your career in security intelligence.
As with most public service roles, you’ll need to develop your capabilities to be competitive when looking for promotion to the next level.
The vibe of the place
ASIO is a unique workplace with an important purpose. Its success is built on the imagination and intelligence of its team, staff who are committed to deliver on its national security mission.
The Organisation will work with you and support you through the good times, as well as the more challenging times. The environment is busy and the work can be stressful, but ASIO officers take care of each other and the Organisation provides a number of support services for our all staff.