Updating Results

Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade

3.9
  • #7 in Government & public services
  • 1,000 - 50,000 employees

Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade Reviews

GradAustralia surveyed 59 graduates working at Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. Read on to get an insider’s view on life as a graduate.
3.9
Based on 59 reviews

Pros & Cons

  • Interesting subject matter and travel opportunities.
  • The small numbers of people working on big issues
  • Good culture, unmatched conditions in terms of work opportunities overseas
  • Opportunities to travel, diverse range of work, interesting insights into foreign policy
  • Working with excellent and inspirational people, working on a very interesting subject matter that is highly relevant to high-profile national and international issues.
  • Hierarchical, micromanagement, slow promotion, no posting opportunities, no language opportunities
  • Extremely hierarchical, very slow progression, areas protective of "good work", low levels of trust of graduates, too little work/responsibility allocated, hypercompetitive
  • Bureaucratic, organisation has limited engagement with or assistance for officers re achieving career goals, patronage
  • Work can be slow, travel and posting opportunities are diminishing by the year, opportunities for autonomy and innovation in work are minimal, work is largely reactive not strategic, most work is process-based, chronically under-resourced.
  • High degree of uncertainty about postings and career progression

What Insiders Say

3.6
Career Prospects
3.6
Career Prospects
Opportunities for promotion come up every couple of years and are filled through the APS bulk round system. - Experienced, Canberra
6.7
Corporate Social Responsibility
6.7
Corporate Social Responsibility
Different divisions will organise charitable events relevant to their areas, as do the various employee networks such as the LGBTI Network or Families Network. The Social Club also does a lot of work in raising money for good causes. - Graduate, Canberra
6.7
Culture
6.7
Culture
People at DFAT are professional, courteous and fun to be around. As a government bureaucracy, the fund is a hierarchical organisation, but in my experience people are generally interested in good ideas whatever level they come from. The atmosphere is highly collegial and people cooperates to get results. As a graduate trainee, the opportunities for after-hours socialisation are endless are endless if you're into that sort of thing (and no one puts any pressure on you if, like me, you're not). - Experienced, Canberra
7.1
Diversity
7.1
Diversity
The department has been running a strong campaign on women in leadership, a survey undertaken, focus groups established and a strategy launched. High hopes it keeps building and having positive outcomes. For LGBT officers, postings can be challenging because homosexual behaviour is illegal in some countries, the Department will not send staff there, even if they are willing to go. - Graduate, Canberra
7.6
Satisfaction
7.6
Satisfaction
No day is the same. There are your usual day-to-day functions in HR, finance, etc. I have also had an opportunity to work overseas where I provided consular assistance to travelling Australians and helped out in state visits. DFAT also gives its grads some management experience - I've had opportunities to manage staff and brief senior executives on projects. - Graduate, Canberra
7
Management
7
Management
My personal experience has been with very good direct supervisors who offer good feedback and have offered mentoring. Management at more senior levels seems less consistent. - Graduate, Canberra
6.5
Office Work Environment
6.5
Office Work Environment
The offices and location are fine. The IT facilities and assistance available could be much better, and are a constant challenge. The dress code for men is suits, but you'll see many men without a tie; often they follow the lead of their seniors. For women it is more flexible, certainly not strictly corporate, and can depend on the area of the department they are working in. - Graduate, Canberra
9.2
Recruitment
9.2
Recruitment
1. Written application, including selection criteria. 2. Online intelligence test. 3. Essay on Australia's international profile, which had to be written and submitted in an hour. 4. Face to face interview, comprised of: a) group simulation exercise b) written report on group simulation exercise c) standard interview. - Graduate, Canberra
6.2
Salary
6.2
Salary
Pay is generally good and there's a good balance between pay point progression and hitting ceilings where you get a bonus instead of career progression. - Graduate, Canberra
8.5
Training
8.5
Training
Absolutely world-class. We've had months of training from some of the top experts in the field in areas such as international law, human rights, and economics, et cetera. - Experienced, Canberra
8.8
Work Hours
8.8
Work Hours
Flexible. As an APS department, DFAT works to flex time - any time above 37.5 hours worked in a week can be accrued and taken as leave. The opportunity to do this is of course dependent on the priorities and needs of the section in which you are working, but DFAT is very good at recognising the need for all staff to have a good work life balance. - Graduate, Canberra