What it does: Helps keep Australians in work
Staff stats: Over 1900
The good bits: Innovative, high-tech workplace
The not so good bits: Frenetic pace
The Department of Employment story
The Department of Employment emerged in the 1970s as the Department of Labor and Immigration. After several name changes, it became the Department of Employment in 2013.
The department's head, the Secretary of Employment, reports to the Minister for Employment. The Secretary is supported by three deputy secretaries who oversee the Workplace Relations and Economic Strategy; Employment and Corporate sections.
The Department is supported by a host of agencies, including the Fair Work Commission, Fair Work Ombudsman, Safe Work Australia, Comcare, Asbestos Safety and Eradication Agency, Workplace Gender Equality Agency and Fair Work Building and Construction.
The department’s employees are located in offices around Australia, though a majority are based at the Canberra headquarters.
The department strives to have a productive and engaged workforce where people can do their job to the best of their ability, in a safe environment. Staff and their managers are expected to embrace collaboration and innovation. (The department even has a ‘virtual ideas management system’ which allows employees to share ideas with each other.)
The department aims to recruit people who represent the diversity of the Australian community. It has a Disability Action Plan to increase the representation of people with a disability. There is also an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Employment and Career Plan to help connect Indigenous Australians to careers in the department. The department’s 2016-19 Gender Equality plan aims to increase the take-up of flexible working arrangements; improve return to work experiences for parents coming back to work; identify any inappropriate gender pay gaps and promote gender balance in job roles, boards and committees.
Access to employment plays a huge role in determining the life chances and happiness of most Australians. As a Department of Employment staffer, you’ll be playing a part in helping people find jobs and making sure they aren’t being underpaid or being put at unacceptable risk of injury while doing those jobs. You’ll also have the opportunity to assist those who find it difficult to break into, or stay involved in, the labour market, such as younger or older workers, by creating and administering programs that give them a leg-up.
The recruitment process
The department looks for graduates from many disciplines, including business, economics, policy, law, finance and IT. It aims to recruit those who are “bold thought leaders who are passionate about supporting national policies and programs that help Australians find and keep employment, and work in safe, fair and productive workplaces”. Applicants are also expected to “embrace diversity, valuing the contributions of people with different backgrounds, experiences and perspectives and demonstrate our shared values” and display “strong communication, curiosity about the world around them and an open mind to new ideas and thinking outside the box”.
The department's Graduate Program offers 10-month placements. The process begins with a one-page-pitch. This is your chance to explain “why you want to work at the Department of Employment, why you are interested in the role, what you can contribute, and how your attributes, skills, knowledge, experience and qualifications would ensure success in the role”. You’ll also need to provide real-world examples that “demonstrate your ability or potential to develop the skills required in the position overview”.
If your pitch impresses, you’ll be invited to an interview where you will also have to complete a ‘written activity’ and supply two references. If that goes well and you pass the required identification, health and security checks you will receive an offer.
If you aren’t accepted into, or aren’t interested in, the department’s grad program you can also apply for standard entry-level roles through the online recruitment system. Like many Federal Government departments, you can also get your foot in the door through an ICT Internship or, if you’re Indigenous, an APS Indigenous Pathways Graduate Program or Indigenous Australian Government Development Program.
If you’re accepted into the department’s grad program you’ll be classified at (APS) 3 level. This entitles you to a salary of no less than $59,400. On completion of the program, you'll be bumped up to APS 4, which entitles you to a salary of no less than $64,615. You’ll also get the standard public service super of 15.4 per cent. On top of being able to request flexible hours and purchase extra holidays, you’ll have access to parental, cultural and community-volunteer leave as well as study assistance. The department offers an annual flu vaccination reimbursement as well as a health-related allowance of $500 per year for APS levels 1-3.
You’ll get plenty of support if you want to undertake further education and the department has an online training platform called LearnHub, where staff can learn new skills at their own pace. Given it’s the public service, you’ll be expected to pay your dues but you can then look forward to a steady career progression combined with a reassuring degree of job security.
The vibe of the place
The Department of Employment offers a dynamic, fast-paced and ever-changing work environment and most people find work there challenging but fulfilling.
From the Employer:
"Just a little about what we do
We are a Department that is forward looking and strives to be innovative in everything we do. We identify risks, emerging trends and opportunities. We look for creative solutions to challenges and we are on the front foot providing advice to Government.
Employment is central to the Australian way of life. Having a job provides financial security throughout life, enabling choice of investment in housing, education and health. As well as providing financial security, having a job can enhance self-esteem, social skills and self-confidence.
We want every Australian to have the opportunity to get ahead and build a better life for themselves and their families; and for employers to have confidence to grow their businesses and hire new employees.
This vision is built on the Government’s plans for stronger economic growth. By providing good advice on policies that will create jobs, helping job seekers into work and encouraging great workplaces, we build Australia’s participation and productivity.
The Department works on initiatives such as Jobactive, transition TO WORK, Empowering YOUth, ParentsNext and the Seasonal Worker Programme.
Our Ideal Graduates
Our ideal Graduates are bold thought leaders who are passionate about supporting national policies and programs that help Australians find and keep employment, and work in safe, fair and productive workplaces.
They embrace diversity, valuing the contributions of people with different backgrounds, experiences and perspectives and demonstrate our shared values.
Personal qualities we are looking for include strong communication, curiosity about the world around them and an open-mind to new ideas and thinking outside the box.
The Graduate Program
The Graduate Program is a ten month program offering workplace learning and development in a supportive environment.
The Graduate Program offers:
- Placements in a range of different work areas, providing opportunities to work on a variety of programs and policies developed and implemented by the Department.
- Professional development, including structured learning and development activities.
- Opportunities to be involved in a wide range of networks, social and fundraising events.
- An attractive remuneration and conditions package.
We welcome applications from graduates from with all degree backgrounds, particularly in:
- Quantitative Analysis
- Information and Communication Technology
- Public Policy
Why you should apply
Our Graduate Program will offer you a broad range of career development opportunities, on and off the job training, a permanent position with the Department on completion of the program, competitive salary, leave entitlements and working conditions.
It will also give you the chance to make a contribution to policies and programs that are central to the Australian way of life.
Some of the benefits include:
- Two five-month work placements
- Meaningful and challenging work
- The opportunity to work on policies and programmes that directly affect Australians
- Diverse career opportunities across the Department
- Extensive learning and development suite that includes policy development, project management, strategic thinking and innovation, stakeholder engagement and graduate projects
- Great workplace culture with a sense of community and a network of previous graduates willing to help
- Relocation assistance for those outside of the ACT
- Competitive salary and superannuation benefits
- Excellent employment conditions, including flexible working hours and generous leave entitlements
- Ongoing employment once you complete the program
The Recruitment Process
We understand how daunting graduate recruitment processes can be so we have tried to make it as comfortable and personable as possible. At the end of the day, we want you to perform your best so we get to see your full potential.
1. Tell us about yourself (1-29 March 2017)
Complete a one page pitch outlining your skills and experience and why you should be considered for a graduate role with the Department of Employment. In your one page pitch you should include examples to demonstrate your communication, teamwork and problem solving skills. You should also include why you want to work for the Department of Employment and how you believe you can make a contribution.
2. Now we want to meet you… (May/June 2017)
Candidates rated suitable at the application stage will be invited to participate in an interview and written activity in their home state. If you are successful, you will receive an email advising you of the dates we will be in your home state and a link to register into a preferred time slot.
You will also need to have two referees complete written referee reports and bring those to the interview. The referee report templates will be included in the email.
The Department of Employment participates in the Recruitability Scheme. For more information on the scheme please visit our website www.employment.gov.au/graduate.
3. WOW! That was quick… its already time to make offers! (July 2017)
If you’re successful at gaining a position on the Department of Employment Graduate Program for 2018 you will receive a phone call from one of the Graduate Program Team members. Unlike some programs, we will offer you your actual placement so you will know exactly where you will be working on day one. You will also receive a phone call from your future manager to discuss the work you will be doing before you have to formally accept the offer. We do this so you can get an understanding of the work you will be undertaking and gives you the opportunity to get to know your team before you commence.
The placement we offer you will be your first rotation placement and in most cases, will be where you return after you complete the program. You will have an opportunity to expand on your skills in rotation two."