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Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet (PM&C)

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

About Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet (PM&C)

  • Government & public services

What it does: Helps run the country
Staff stats: Around 2100
The good bits: High-powered work
The not so good bits: Huge demands
Hiring grads with degrees in: Engineering, Maths, IT & Computer Sciences; Finance, Accounting, Economics & Business Administration; Health & Medical Sciences; Humanities, Arts & Social Sciences; Law & Legal Studies; Property & Built Environment; Sciences; Teaching, Education & Human Welfare

The PM&C story

For the first decade after the Federation, the Prime Minister (who then also held the External Affairs portfolio) relied on the Department of External Affairs to help him govern the country. In July 1911, the Prime Minister’s Department was created but it wasn’t until 1968 the Department of the Cabinet Office came into being. In 1971, the two were merged to form the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet (PM&C).

Like the Executive Office of the President in the USA or the Cabinet Office in the UK, PM&C is  Australia’s central department. It has broad responsibilities including assisting the Prime Minister to manage his or her Ministers and providing sound policy advice to both the Prime Minister and Ministers. PM&C oversees intergovernmental and whole of government policy coordination. It coordinates the implementation of government programs, provides leadership to the broader Australian Public Service, administers ceremonies and overseas visits, manages Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander policy and oversees policies relating to national security, counterterrorism, regulatory reform, cities, population, data and women.

It is structured around four policy and program groups. These are: the Domestic Policy Group; the National Security and International Policy Group; the Governance Group and the Indigenous Affairs Group. PM&C is run by the Secretary of PM&C, who is supported by a senior management team made up of Senior Executive Service Band 3 officials.

The culture

PM&C makes all selection decisions on merit and aims for a fair and consistent assessment process. As a public-sector employer, it champions inclusion. In recent years, it has introduced initiatives such as an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Employment Strategy, a Disability Action Plan and Reconciliation Action Plan. The Department has a ‘Diversity Champion’, who is supported by a Gender Champion, Indigenous Champion and Disability and LGBTI Champion.

Social contribution

While politicians talk about improving the lives of Australians, it's public servants, especially those in PM&C, who have the challenging task of turning those aspirational visions into reality. As a PM&C staffer, you’ll be suggesting and helping implement policies that will (hopefully) have a positive impact on many of your fellow citizens’ lives.  

The recruitment process

You can be from any academic discipline with an interest in; and understanding of Government, policy and/or the work of the Department.

Given the nature of the work you’ll be expected to undertake, you’ll also need to demonstrate excellent verbal and written communication skills, the ability to quickly develop effective relationships with people from a range of backgrounds, analytical abilities, innovative thinking, a knack for absorbing new information, processes and technologies, and a resilient and agile mindset.

You also need to be (or eligible to be) an Australian citizen, to have finished a bachelor degree in the last five years and to be willing to undergo a security clearance process.

The recruitment process starts with an online application. If successful, your knowledge areas, critical skills, motivation and fit for the role will be further assessed. This will be done through online critical thinking and behavioural exercises; and attending an assessment centre incorporating interviews and group tasks.

If you get an offer, you’ll need to move to Canberra, though there may be some opportunities available in the Department’s regional network. Once in Canberra, you’ll take part in a structured, on-the-job development program, undertake rotations across various areas of the Department and be provided with a range of on-the-job training, networking and mentoring opportunities, and tailored learning and development activities.

The vibe of the place

You’ll soon find a career spent striding the halls of power is neither as glamorous or as absurd as it’s commonly made out to be in works of fiction. That said, you’ll be working at the heart of government and having experiences, such as meeting heads of state or helping the Minister for Defence devise counter-terrorism strategies, that most grads can only dream about. You can also look forward to working with passionate overachievers and enjoying a supportive workplace culture and reassuring sense of job security.

Overall satisfaction rating among grad employees: 4.2 stars


From the Employer:

"Discover, grow, learn – challenge yourself

About us – what we do

At the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet (PM&C) we strive to be bold, be excellent and drive change. Our role is to provide fresh thinking and sound advice to government.

Our expertise spans Indigenous affairs, social and women’s policy, economic and international policy, defence, national security and everything in between. With such diverse responsibilities, we can offer a large variety of opportunities.

Opportunities – what we offer our students.

At PM&C we believe that the journey is more important than the destination. Our program empowers graduates to discover, learn and grow through diverse opportunities.

Working across PM&C gives you the opportunity to develop broad knowledge and understanding of the Government's priorities. You will gain experience developing and implementing government policy. The opportunity to work in our regional network will give you first-hand experience of government policies in action.

We provide an environment focused on working smarter. Through the rollout of Working Your Way across our offices, we work flexibly and collaboratively with great technology, tools and systems.

About the program

  • The program is based in Canberra.
  • Rotations are completed at our national office and in our regional network.
  • You will be provided on-the-job training, and structured learning and development.
  • You will work on exciting projects and activities at the heart of government.

We are a workplace that respects and values diversity.  We encourage applications from people with diverse experience and backgrounds including: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people; Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex people; Culturally and Linguistically Diverse people; mature age and people with a disability.

PM&C is proud to be a member of the Diversity Council of Australia, the Australian Network on Disability, and Pride in Diversity. We are also White Ribbon Accredited. "

Graduate Review

Overall score based on 15 reviews
Corporate Social Responsibility
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Corporate Social Responsibility
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  • PM&C provides a large variety of areas to work across, so graduates and other employees can get incredible amounts of experience while there.
  • The different and diverse experiences you can have all within the one department. Each work area has a different perspective and unique view which allows you to continue to learn and build upon new skills.
  • The diversity of work that is offered across the department, and the effort of the grad program to make sure you work across as many different areas as possible.
  • Broad experience at the forefront of government.
  • The exposure to a wide range of Government processes and core policy. The focus on work-life balance and well being.
  • The turnover at PM&C is very high. Supervisors and coworkers can leave and be replaced quickly, which can make working there slightly more difficult if you prefer a consistent environment.
  • At times the department misses the mark on work life balance and some areas are less willing to change work practices in line with the rest of the department.
  • Working within the Public Service hierarchy and working directly to (sometimes unstable) politics.
  • Sometimes hard to achieve what you want, it’s a big machine that needs significant push to get moving.
  • Managing situations that you may personally disagree with and continuing to effectively performing your job.


    Business & Management
    Creative Arts
    Engineering & Mathematics
    Humanities, Arts & Social Sciences
    IT & Computer Science
    Law, Legal Studies & Justice
    Medical & Health Sciences
    Property & Built Environment
    Teaching & Education

    Graduate Job

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    Graduate Success Stories

    • Graduate stories
    In the Cabinet Division, I have an entire Department to look after in relation to their submissions, papers, etc that need to go to Cabinet for consideration.

    Sapphire Dawson

    • Graduate stories
    In the Cabinet Division, I have an entire Department to look after in relation to their submissions, papers, etc that need to go to Cabinet for consideration.

    Sapphire Dawson

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