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BAE Systems

  • #10 in R&D and manufacturing
  • 50,000 - 100,000 employees
  • Engineering Consulting
  • R&D and Manufacturing
  • Technology

What it does: Defence, aerospace and security solutions
Staff stats: 82,500 employees in over 40 countries, with around 3500 of those in Australia
The good bits: Being part of a dynamic global organisation
The not so good bits: Lots of paperwork, tight schedules
Hiring grads with degrees in: Engineering, Maths, IT & Computer Sciences

The BAE Systems story

BAE Systems came into being at the turn of the Millennium as a result of the merger of British Aerospace and Marconi Electronic Systems. British Aerospace and Marconi Electronic Systems themselves emerged out of decades of British shipbuilders, submarine makers, aircraft manufacturers, engineering companies and electronic system assemblers merging and acquiring each other.

BAE Systems predecessor companies were involved in everything from making WWI radios to building the British navy’s first destroyers and submarines, to developing radar systems and the Spitfire fighter plane in WWII, to playing a part in the development of the world’s first commercial jet airliner and the Concorde supersonic passenger jet. Currently, some of the company’s major projects include the Eurofighter Typhoon, the Astute-class submarines and the Queen Elizabeth-class Aircraft carrier. The company’s major operations are in the UK and the US but it is also a significant player in Australia, India, Saudi Arabia and Sweden.

The company is headquartered in London and has three subsidiaries. These are BAE Systems Applied Intelligence, BAE Systems Australia (which has existed for six decades) and BAE Systems Inc. The company is listed on the London Stock Exchange and in 2016 had annual revenues of £18 billion ($31 billion).

The culture

BAE Systems is facing a shortage of skilled employees, particularly in engineering and trades roles. This being the case, it has a practical as well as the moral reason for seeking to attract candidates from a broad and diverse talent pool. At last count, women accounted for only 15 per cent of BAE Systems Australia workforce. While that’s far from unusual in the defence industry, the company is now putting a lot of resources into recruiting, retaining and developing female staff. For instance, the company has made its workplaces more family-friendly by introducing flexible working options for all staff.

BAE Systems Australia encourages male and female students to study STEM subjects and trades via initiatives involving partnerships with the Foundation for the Inspiration of Science and Technology, Northern Advanced Manufacturing Industry Group and the University of South Australia.

Social contribution

BAE Systems is committed to “high ethical, safety and environmental standards… and making a positive contribution to the countries and communities in which we operate.” While there’s no getting around the fact most of what BAE Systems produces is chiefly designed to be used for defence and wars, it does work with governments and NGOs, as well as industry and trade bodies, to address issues of concern. The company’s primary concern is one of security and keeping Australia safe. The company aims to be transparent in its dealings with governments. It does not make donations to political parties and has a strict policy in place in relation to its lobbying activities. BAE Systems donates and encourages its employees to donate to local, national and international charities and not-for-profit organisations.    

The recruitment process

BAE Systems Australia considers applicants from a wide range of disciplines but particularly those with engineering, ICT, project management, commerce, procurement and finance degrees. The company offers a range of programs, typically lasting from one to two years. Some grad programs – business, leadership and even finance – are open to all comers but you’ll require a STEM degree to apply to the engineering programs. The company welcomes applications from veterans, reservists, women, ethnic minorities and people with disabilities.

The recruitment process starts with an online application. After submitting this, you can expect to do several interviews, either face-to-face or via a phone or video-conferencing hook-up. BAE Systems Australia recently revamped its grad learning and development program to include more mentoring, rotations, training, development and support.


BAE Systems Australia offers a “competitive reward package” based on an individual’s job responsibilities and their contribution to the company’s overall performance. It provides flexible working options, generous maternity and paternity leave and the option to buy extra annual leave. It also offers access to an employee share scheme.

Career prospects

As with any employer, this will to a large extent comes down to your performance. If you’re interested in advancing, the company is happy to devote significant resources to your professional development.

That noted you should take into consideration that a career in the defence industry can be impacted by events over which you have no control. Such as your division-winning or losing a military contract, or governments to deciding to ramp up or slash spending on their armed forces.

The vibe of the place

BAE Systems Australia employees typically report being happy with their employer, especially the flexibility it offers and the clarity and fairness that is baked into the organisational culture. Most staff find it a friendly, supportive and an interesting place to work.


From the Employer:

"BAE Systems Australia provides engineering, program management and sustainment solutions to ensure our defence and security customers have the capability they need. Our skilled workforce of over 4,000 people and our vibrant supply chain help to fuel the local economy, harnessing Australian innovation and generating careers that make a difference today and for future generations.

Recruiting new talent is not only important for growing our future workforce but it also provides new and diverse perspectives, critical to ensuring that innovation flourishes.

We employ and develop new graduates every year and opportunities are available across a variety of disciplines.

To ensure we can deliver the right capability to our customers, we invest in our people. We work with employees to create meaningful career development plans that support them to grow and excel.

Our graduate program includes a variety of on the job learning experiences, formal role rotations, mentoring, personal development courses, networking opportunities and secondments.

In terms of our culture, it’s safety-focused and inclusive. For us, that means ensuring that the voices and talents of every employee are valued and that everyone has a sense of belonging. It also means providing a family-friendly, flexible and supportive place to work.

Visit https://www.baesystems.com/en-aus/home to learn more about applying your talent where it counts."

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