What it does: Manages NSW’s finances
Staff stats: Around 500
The good bits: Friendly and smart colleagues
The not so good bits: Painful public-sector procedures
The NSW Treasury story
NSW Treasury was established in 1824, making it Australia’s oldest continuing government agency. In the later half of the 19th century, it had to manage the impacts of first a severe economic downturn then a gold rush. Over the course of the 20th century, it drove economic and budget reform. It also helped navigate the NSW economy through the Great Depression, two world wars, the post-war economic boomtimes and the neoliberal reforms of the 1980s and 1990s.
Nowadays, NSW Treasury is expected to prudently manage the State’s finances and assets, provide analysis and advice and assist in the delivery of innovative reforms that “support a strong and competitive economy”.
It is divided into five service groups: Fiscal and Economic Group; Agency Budget and Policy; Commercial Group; Industrial Relations and Corporate Group. NSW Treasury is headed up by a Secretary who reports to the State’s Treasurer and Minister for Industrial Relations.
NSW Treasury is “committed to providing a diverse and inclusive working environment”. It also puts a lot of effort into “ensuring our workforce and organisational practices are inclusive for everyone regardless of gender, ethnicity, generation, work status, sexual orientation and disability”.
NSW Treasury is an enthusiastic supporter of the NSW Government’s Aboriginal Employment Strategy. This aims to have Indigenous Australians comprise 1.8 per cent of the State’s public sector workforce by 2021 in “a wide range of roles and at all levels - from trainees to executive roles”.
As a NSW Treasury staffer, you’ll be helping the government of the day deliver on its election promises and playing a role in making NSW a great place to live, work and do business.
The recruitment process
NSW Treasury offers two grad programs: the NSW Treasury Graduate Program and the NSW Fast-Track Accounting Graduate Program.
To be eligible for the former, you’ll need a degree in accounting, business, commerce, economics or finance. If you’ve got a combined qualification incorporating public policy, politics or law, you’re also welcome to apply. Candidates are expected to demonstrate “exceptional communication, analytical and problem-solving skills” and that they “thrive [on] a challenge”.
Ten or fewer grads are accepted into this program each year so the recruitment process is competitive. It starts by responding to an ad that appears on the iworkfor.nsw.gov.au website in July. At this point, you’ll need to submit a cover letter, CV and your academic transcript, as well as answer several capability-based questions.
If you make the shortlist, you’ll be contacted in September and invited to an assessment centre. The assessment consists of different types of capability activities. You should be prepared to do verbal and numerical reasoning cognitive tests, group activities, written exercises and an interview. If your assessment goes well and your referee check proceeds smoothly, you can expect an offer in October and to start the one-year-long program in February. The program involves three four-month-long rotations and exposure to a variety of projects, teams and managers. You’ll also complete an individual professional plan, be mentored by executive-level staff and be provided with tailored training and workshops as well as e-learning opportunities.
The NSW Fast-Track Accounting Graduate Program is aimed at those with degrees in accounting and finance who are eligible to become a Chartered Accountant or Certified Public Accountant (CPA). Applicants are expected to enjoy a challenge, thrive in a flexible and fast-paced environment, demonstrate a desire to learn and have “the right attitude to embrace the dynamic work environment and cross-sector experience” the program offers.
Ten or fewer grads are accepted into this program each year so the recruitment process is competitive. The recruitment process involves responding to an ad placed on www.iworkfor.nsw.gov.au in March. This initial online application will involve submitting a cover letter, CV and your academic transcript, as well as answering several capability-based questions. The next stage is online ability and aptitude testing. If you make the shortlist, you’ll be invited to spend half a day at an assessment centre. Here you will “participate in three capability based exercises including an interview”. If that goes well, you’ll receive an offer in May and start work in January.
The three-year program comprises four six-month rotations followed by a 12-month placement at a NSW State Government agency. You’ll complete an individual professional development plan. You’ll be offered tailored training and workshops as well as e-learning opportunities. You’ll be mentored by senior finance leaders and professionals. You’ll also be supported as you complete the professional accounting qualification required to become a Chartered Accountant or Certified Practicing Accountant.
Those who do the Fast-Track Accounting program are paid a “significantly above market commencing salary” (i.e. $75,000 - $85,000). Those doing the standard program receive a salary “commensurate with Crown Employees (Administrative and Clerical Officers) Award - Grade ½” (i.e. $60,000 – $65,000). This being the public sector, those doing either grad program can look forward to generous super and leave arrangements, flexible work options and plenty of support if they decide to pursue additional qualifications.
As the name suggests, the Fast-Track Accounting program offers “accelerated career progression” either at NSW Treasury or other State Government agencies. The program specifically targets “talented individuals… [who] demonstrate potential to be future financial leaders in the [public] sector”. Those doing the standard program might not automatically assumed to be on the fast track but they can certainly place themselves on it if they perform well.
The vibe of the place
In the realm of public sector employment, a job at NSW Treasury is a glittering prize. If you’re one of the fortunate few to make the cut, you’ll be joining a team of made up of 500 expert analysts, economists, lawyers, accountants, investigators and specialists who oversee the nation’s largest economy. You should find your colleagues friendly and your supervisors supportive. You’ll get to do important work (in a well-appointed newish office) while still enjoying a reasonable work-life balance.
From the Employer:
"NSW Treasury employs a diverse team of over 500 analysts, economists and advisors from all backgrounds, working together to deliver on the Treasury vision of ensuring that NSW will always be a great place to live and work.
Are you looking to grow, collaborate and give back to the people of NSW? Our graduate programs offer a variety of challenges and opportunities for your work to make a real-world impact. Our Graduates have worked on a number of key projects including the multi-billion dollar Ausgrid lease, planning the future of public school infrastructure and contributing to delivering the State Budget.
Treasury offers two graduate programs. Our Fast-Track Accounting Program is designed for high-calibre applicants with a passion for accounting, seeking a fast-track career to become future leaders in the NSW public sector. During the three year program you will rotate through four NSW Government Agencies, providing you access to senior leaders and extensive support to complete your professional accounting qualifications.
Our NSW Treasury Graduate Program gives you the opportunity to work on influential state-wide projects for the people of NSW. With three rotations over twelve months, you could be contributing to everything from the State Budget to Justice policy to major commercial transactions, enabling you to build lasting professional relationships across all of Treasury.
Treasury Graduates take part in our employee development program, which includes on-the-job training, e-learning and numerous workshops to develop and enhance their technical and professional interpersonal skills. Join us, be at the centre of everything!"