What it does: Australia’s largest domestic and international airline
Staff stats: Over 30,000, 93 per cent of them based in Australia
The good bits: Cheap travel
The not so good bits: Red tape
The Qantas story
Qantas – Queensland and Northern Territory Aerial Services – was formed in 1920 by a couple of WWI Australian Flying Corps veterans with the backing of some wealthy Queensland graziers.
After modest beginnings ferrying one or two passengers at a time around rural areas in open-to-the-elements biplanes, it partnered with Imperial Airways (which later evolved into British Airways) in 1934. It then began offering flights between Brisbane, Darwin and Singapore.
Following WWII, Qantas was nationalised by Labour PM Ben Chifley, only to be privatised by Labour PM Paul Keating half a century later. By the time of privatisation, which began in 1993, Qantas had grown to become Australia’s national airline and a much-loved brand, flying tourists from all over the world into Australia and Australians all across the globe.
Faced with challengers such as Virgin Australia, Qantas launched its own low-cost carrier, Jetstar, in 2001. Qantas currently flies to 20 Australian destinations and 21 international destinations across Africa, Asia, Europe, Oceania and North and South America. It owns full-service flight caterer Q Catering, the regional airline QantasLink, and the freight services Qantas Freight and Australian Air Express. Qantas is part of the oneworld alliance. It has code-sharing agreements with airberlin, American Airlines, BA, Cathay Pacific, JAL and Qatar Airways. In 2015, the airline had revenues of $16 billion and assets worth $17.5 billion.
In less enlightened times, cabin crew jobs were one of the few positions boasting reasonable pay and conditions open to both women and openly gay men. Qantas has long been a leader in seeking to recognise and employ Indigenous Australians. Qantas has a Diversity and Inclusion Council made up of senior managers from across the business. It focuses on “delivering programs and providing support services that enable all employees to feel that they belong and are valued individuals who can reach their full potential”. Qantas aspires to have a good gender balance in executive positions and has several programs in place to help women prepare for senior roles. It also has a Reconciliation Action Plan. This encourages the employment of Indigenous Australians; facilitates Qantas staff the developing ‘cultural competency’ that will allow them to share insights about Indigenous cultures with passengers and aims to include Indigenous enterprises in supply chains.
Qantas’s ‘community strategy’ has three pillars: a commitment to reconciliation; showcasing the best of Australia and engaging with its customers and workforce. Qantas invests $3 million into community partnerships each year. It has partnered with organisations such as Make-A-Wish and Mardi Gras. It also encourages its customers to donate leftover foreign currency via the Qantas/UNICEF Change for Good program and Jetstar StarKids initiative. Qantas supports the arts through partnerships with the Australian Ballet, MONA and the National Gallery of Australia.
The recruitment process
Qantas runs three grad programs. The General Graduate program is open to those with any degree, if they are passionate about working in the aviation industry. As the name suggests, the Finance Graduate program is for those with accounting or finance degrees. In this program, you’ll be paid to undertake your CA or CPA and work at Qantas’s Centre of Finance Excellence. The Technology Graduate program is for those with an IT degree, or at least an IT major. Working in Qantas’s tech department involves investigating new technology and using it to design and implement solutions that improve the customer experience and boost the bottom line. Qantas has several ‘Indigenous Engagement’ programs that provide employment opportunities, including through its grad programs, to Indigenous Australians. Whatever the ‘development program’ they opt for, grads are provided with on-the-job experience, coaching, formal classroom learning, performance planning and plentiful feedback over two years.
Applicants need to be prepared to relocate to Sydney and have a distinction average or above. Work experience in a corporate environment and evidence you’ve taken a leadership role in your extra-curricular activities is looked upon favourably.
The process starts with an online application. This is followed by an online ‘talent simulation’ and online ability testing. If all that goes well, you’ll take part in a video interview, then be invited to attend an assessment centre before sitting some final face-to-face interviews. You can expect the process to take around five months.
The bracing winds of competition mean that the salaries and conditions of airline staff aren’t what they used to be. However, staff travel benefits haven’t yet been rationalised. This means Qantas staff (and even former staff) along with their ‘plus one’ can fly for around one-tenth of the standard cost. (You can also expect discounts when hiring cars and staying at hotels.) Qantas is big on flexible working and you can purchase extra annual leave. Salaries are around the industry average.
Under Alan Joyce’s hardnosed management, Qantas has shaken off what was left of its public service mentality. You’ll be expected to work hard, especially if you want to advance. That said, if you’re a strong performer you can look forward to a long, fulfilling and well-paid career at Qantas.
The vibe of the place
There’s a reason Qantas staff generally seem happy. Aside from some being able to fly first class to London or New York for a couple of hundred dollars, most of them enjoy a good work-life balance, have formed close friendships with their colleagues and are proud to be working for one of Australia’s most admired companies and iconic brands.
From the Employer:
"Fast moving, challenging and always exciting, the aviation and travel sector is one the Qantas Group is proud to be at the heart of. An Australian icon and one of the world’s most recognisable airlines, we’ve come a long way since our beginnings in rural Queensland in 1920.
Today, 35,000 people work in Australia and overseas across our airline, freight, catering, ground service and loyalty arms. They’re the people who continually drive our success and maintain our position as a world class organisation. As we engage our next generation, we continue to look for the passion, drive and commitment that have always set the Qantas Group apart.
Wherever you work across the Qantas Group, you’ll quickly discover that a role with us is much more than a job. In this uniquely dynamic environment, you’re encouraged to embrace a challenge and build your experience everyday.
The values we display each day make Qantas a unique place to work and grow your career:
- Together - At Qantas we know how to work as a team, and always come together as a united force to support our customers and each other
- Genuine - We're known for being friendly, easy going and extending a warm welcome
- Inventive - Our world class safety, professionalism and product are the result of constant invention, including and adaptation of the world's best ideas
- Optimistic - It's a word synonymous with Australia, and at Qantas it's this optimism that drives us
- Experienced - With 96 years of aviation experience under our belt, you know you couldn't be in safer hands
But to stay ahead in such a competitive and constantly changing landscape, we need to keep pushing ourselves to new heights. We're aiming to be more than just a great airline - we want to be a great business, too.
We're committed to delivering a fantastic experience for our customers each and every time, and our people share a passion for safety and service.
Visit the video section to hear from Engineer Rachel on what she loves about her job and making sure that her customers get back to their loved ones safely.
As a Graduate, you'll play an integral role in supporting a wide range of projects and business functions, many of which have a direct impact on our front line operations and the end-to-end customer experience.
Hear from Andrew David, CEO of Qantas Domestic, about why Qantas could be the place for you, in our video section.
Which Graduate are you?
Our General Graduates hold all types of degrees and generally have a keen interest in working in the Aviation industry. You'll have the opportunity to work across diverse business areas such as Customer, Operations, Commercial and Corporate Strategy. All rotations are designed to build broad knowledge and skills and form professional networks to fast track your success as a future leader at Qantas. This program is really what you make of it!
As a Finance Graduate you'll have the opportunity to work in our Centre of Finance Excellence, business partner with our Domestic or International Teams and our specialist teams such as Treasury and Tax. We're looking for individuals who have an accounting or finance degree who are wanting to kick start their finance career. During your time on the Finance graduate program not only will you have the opportunity to work across the Group, we will pay for you to undertake your CA or CPA qualification.
Technology is at the core of driving our vision to always be first choice for customers, from our market leading inflight wifi connectivity, to our faster, smarter check-in solutions, right through to fitting out our brand new 787-9 Dreamliner fleet. As a Technology graduate at Qantas you will be at the forefront of new technology, designing and implementing solutions that will have real customer value. You could find yourself designing our latest app features, building out artificial intelligence and machine learning algorithms, investigating applications of blockchain, or testing out new technology deployed onto our aircraft. We're looking for individuals who share our passion for technology-driven innovation and are willing to seek out the next wave of solutions that will fuel our growth. If you've graduated with an IT degree, or with an IT major, and are ready to kick start your career as a game changing technologist this is the opportunity for you.
What development and support will you get as a Qantas Graduate?
Your ongoing development will be a focus throughout the Program. Our Development Program integrates on the job experience, coaching, formal classroom learning, performance planning and feedback to support a 70:20:10 approach to learning where:
- 70% of learning & development takes place from real-life and on-the-job experiences, tasks, and problem solving
- 20% comes from feedback and from observing and working with mentors
- 10% of learning and development comes from formal training.
So are you ready to strap yourself in and take off with Qantas?
You’ll start with us in February and over the two years and four rotations you'll work on real projects that allow you to shape the future of Qantas' culture, product, network and service. These rotations will help you learn about the diverse areas of our business and shape where you end up."