What it does: Advises on communications and cultural policy
Staff stats: Between 500-1000 employees
The good bits: Flexibility, interesting work
The not so good bits: Potentially slow career progression
The Department of Communications and the Arts story
The Department of Communications and the Arts (DoCA) was established in 2015. This occurred shortly after Malcolm Turnbull, the former Minister for Communications, became Prime Minister. DoCA replaced the Department of Communications and took on responsibility for the arts, a responsibility that had previously rested with the Attorney-General’s Department.
DoCA is one of the smaller federal government departments. Nonetheless, it plays a crucial role in high-profile areas such as the NBN, the digital economy in general, ‘old’ media such as radio and television, copyright issues, censorship decisions, arts funding and maintaining Australia’s cultural heritage. The department is overseen by a Secretary who reports to the Minister for Communications and the Minister for the Arts.
DoCA is committed to sustaining a workplace that fosters diversity and inclusivity, offers flexibility and identifies and develops talent. DoCA has a Gender Action Plan that aims to improve gender equality through initiatives such as rolling out unconscious bias training, further improving workplace flexibility and providing more support for female staff seeking to move into Executive Level classifications.
DoCA is a member of Pride in Diversity, which promotes LGBTI workplace inclusion, and a gold member of the Australian Network on Disability, which advances “the inclusion of people with disability in all aspects of business”.
DoCA strives to enrich the lives of everyday Australians by making communications services and technology, as well as artistic and cultural experiences, as accessible as possible. It has a ‘Multicultural Plan’. This aims to “ensure that Australians from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds can access broadcasting, telecommunication and internet services, take up online opportunities and enjoy the benefits of a fast-developing digital economy”.
It also has a Reconciliation Action Plan. Among other things, this promotes the recruitment of Indigenous Australians and encourages existing DoCA staff to use their volunteer leave to work with Indigenous communities. DoCA staff get two days of paid volunteer leave a year.
The recruitment process
In 2017, DOCA received over 1,000 applications for the 15 or so positions available in its 2018 graduate program. You’ll need to have maintained a credit average and be an Australian citizen to be eligible for the grad program.
DoCA has recruited graduates from a range of disciplines including arts, criminology, economics, engineering and law.
DoCA looks for candidates who have strong analytical, communication and relationship-building skills. You’ll also need to demonstrate sound judgement and a high level of critical self-awareness. An interest in the DoCA’s work and a willingness to move to Canberra (the department will cover some relocation costs) are essential.
The recruitment process involves submitting an online application, completing online psychometric testing and participating in activities at an assessment centre. (This involves spending half a day doing group activities, written exercises and interviews at a centre in Sydney, Melbourne or Canberra). Before receiving a formal offer, you’ll need to get security and health clearances.
Successful candidates start a one-year program in January. This program includes an orientation week, workplace rotations, participation in diverse policy and program areas, interaction with senior staff members and guidance from mentors and former graduates.
Graduates in the 2017 graduate program received a starting salary of $58,713 and an additional 15.4 per cent in super. Upon finishing the grad program, you’ll automatically receive an APS 4 classification, which will entitle you to a salary between $65,784 – $71,096.
Like most public service employers, DoCA makes up for its modest salaries with impressive benefits. There are generous leave arrangements and super payments, lots of training and development opportunities, flexible working hours, mentoring schemes and a comprehensive wellbeing program.
DoCA staff have ready access to short courses to develop their business skills and knowledge, as well as programs that can develop their management and leadership capabilities. If you want to undertake further education, you can get financial assistance of up to $5000 a year and up to 75 hours’ study leave per semester. You’ll automatically rotate through different areas during the grad program. You can continue to do this as your career develops. You can also request secondments to other departments and agencies.
You’ll have to be prepared to pay your dues. But once you’ve done that, you can look forward to a steady rise through the ranks while working in areas vital to Australia’s future economic and social progress.
The vibe of the place
DoCA is housed in the cutting-edge Nishi building and its staff have access to latest in office amenities and communications technologies. The arts have always played an important role in Australian society. In a digital age, making the right decisions around communication policies has never been more important. So, if you want the excitement of being at the heart of some of the most important issues facing the nation, combined with the security of a government job, you should enjoy working at DoCA.
Star rating: 4.2 stars
From the Employer:
"As a uniquely small government department, we're a flexible, agile and diverse workforce, empowered by smarter technology. We work in an exciting, fast-moving sector.
We develop policy, provide advice, analysis, and deliver programmes that make digital technologies and communications services better for all Australians and enhance our cultural identity.
We’re looking for fresh-thinking, high-performing graduates with a strong desire to shape Australia’s communications and creative industries landscapes. Experience, aptitude and/or qualifications in the areas of economics, research, commerce, and statistical analysis is highly regarded.
Innovate your career – we invest in our employees so they have the right skills and knowledge to succeed.
As a graduate, you can expect:
- to work with leading-edge technology
- diverse and challenging workplace rotations
- experience across a wide range of policy and program areas
- structured opportunities to develop your capabilities
- support from mentors and former graduates
- opportunities to develop valuable networks and exposure to senior staff members
We offer significant benefits such as:
- starting salary from $60,182
- relocation assistance if moving from interstate
- flexible working hours
- generous leave entitlements
- permanent employment on successful completion of the Program
- access to study assistance on successful completion of the Program"