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
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).
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 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.
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 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.
As with any employer, this will to a large extent come 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:
"For more than 60 years, we’ve been keeping Australia safe and helping to create a more prosperous and innovative nation.
With around 3,500 employees, working at more than 25 sites across the country, we deliver engineering, program management and sustainment solutions to ensure that our defence, security and commercial customers have the capability they need.
Working in an exciting, high-tech industry gives us a responsibility to develop Australia’s skills for the future. We do this by investing in our people.
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, nurture and inspire new graduates every year and opportunities are currently available across a variety of roles, including engineering, project management, commercial & procurement, finance and IT.
Training is a key component of developing our workforce. In 2017, we’re launching a new graduate learning and development program that includes enhanced mentoring, rotations and training courses.
We recognise the value of our employees with benefits such as flexible work options and we foster a diverse, inclusive and environmentally friendly workplace.
Visit www.baesystems.com/australia to find out more."