What it does: It’s a subsidiary of Singtel, a Singaporean telecom active in 25 countries that services 600 million customers.
Staff stats: Around 25,000 globally and 9000 in Australia
The good bits: A great grad program conducted on a well-appointed campus
The not so good bits: Red tape and bureaucracy
The Optus story
What was to become Optus emerged out AUSSAT, a government-owned company formed in 1981 to launch satellites for civilian and military purposes. It was privatised and sold to a consortium called Optus Communications and ultimately purchased by Singtel in 2001. It provides fixed and mobile telephony, internet access, cable TV, leased lines and data transmission. Headquartered in Sydney, it has annual revenues of around $9 billion.
Optus has an Employee Partnership Agreement. It expresses the shared commitment of Optus and its staff to maintaining a “mutually rewarding” relationship. One that results in a “committed, flexible and highly skilled workforce”.
Optus has a ‘My Career’ intranet that displays job vacancies and provides career-planning information. It also has an online learning and development tool called ‘My Learning’ and a range of leadership development programs.
Optus has five core values: customer focus; challenger spirit; teamwork; integrity and personal excellence. That means it expects staff members to keep customers happy, have an innovative and competitive mindset, put the team’s interests ahead of their own, behave ethically and strive for peak performance.
Optus focuses on helping young people use digital technology to reach their potential. It created ‘Digital Thumbprint’, which provides fun and interactive digital education to school students. It partnered with the Smith Family to create Mobile Student2Student. This helps younger students improve their skills through communicating with a ‘reading buddy’ via their mobile phone. It also supports the Kids Helpline @ School Digital program, which fights cyberbullying. Optus is the official partner of the Australian Open. It’s also a sponsor of the Australian Open Wheelchair Championships.
The recruitment process
Optus recruits accounting/finance, digital media, engineering, human resources and marketing grads. Optus is committed to workplace diversity. It especially encourages application from graduates with disabilities or who are Indigenous Australian.
You’ll need to live in Sydney for two years to take part in the grad program, which involves up to four six-month rotations in different parts of the company. You’ll receive training in everything from project management to conflict resolution to personal resilience, as well as mentoring from senior leaders.
You start the process by submitting an online application, which includes a psychometric test, via the careers section of the Optus website. Then comes a video interview, then an invitation to the assessment centre on the Sydney campus, where you’ll have to give a short presentation, perform team tasks and take part in one-on-one interviews.
The pay competitive for the industry. Bonuses greater than 10 per cent of your annual salary are achievable if you (and the company) perform well. Discounts are offered on the company’s products, such as phones, phone plans, home broadband. Staff can buy or sell one week of leave a year.
Optus’s Sydney campus is both picturesque and lavish. It offers ready access to childcare, food and beverage outlets, a convenience store, a gym, a sports ground and secure parking.
Give the size of the organisation there is plenty of opportunity to move up or sidewise, especially at the start of your career. However, those in higher level positions tend to stick around, which can make it harder to advance later on. Optus prioritises hiring from within. Many of those in management or executive roles started out in entry-level call centre or retail positions.
The vibe of the place
Optus culture reflects that of its Asian parent company Singtel. Employees are looked after but expected to reciprocate by working hard. There’s not much socialising during work hours but you can expect to be hanging out with workmates at one of the campus’s bars or restaurants after hours. You’ll be expected to be a team player when it comes to working with those in your own department. That noted, friction between departments with competing priorities is not uncommon. A flat structure means you’ll have regular contact with senior staff.
Overall satisfaction rating among grad employees: 4.3 stars
From the Employer:
"The fast pace of today’s world is driven by technology – we use it to keep connected with friends, family and colleagues, to make purchases, to play games, to listen to music on-demand, consume entertainment on-demand and to keep in touch with the world around us.
A career in the technology industry promises to be an exciting one – full of innovation, change, growth and opportunity.
At Optus, we strive to create an environment which embraces and leads this change, as well as provide a fun and dynamic workplace for our people. We are proud of our progressive employment practices, focus on learning and development, and our commitment to the wider community.
Staying on top of emerging trends and technology takes some unique skills and capabilities across all disciplines – not just the obvious ones for our industry.
Backed by the breadth of Singtel, the Optus Graduate Development Program does just that – helps develop Graduates with long-term career opportunities.
So if you are a highly motivated Graduate who aspires to be the best in your field, and if you want to join a progressive organisation to help shape the future of the technology industry, then Optus may just be the place for you."