How to Get a Government Job in Australia in 2024

by | Jan 1, 2024 | Career Advice

Government jobs offer stability, flexibility, and enviable perks, making them hot commodities in the job market, but also fiercely competitive.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics reports that in 2023, there were over 2.4 million people working in government jobs across Australia. Most employees were in state government (1.8 million), with 350,000 in federal jobs and 200,000 in local government roles.

Graph depicting the number of government jobs at state, federal and local levels.

Why Are Government Jobs So Popular?

There are a number of benefits to working in a government job in Australia:

  • Job security and a stable income
  • Attractive benefits including paid parenting leave and attractive superannuation
  • Diverse career paths and opportunities for advancement and fulfilling work
  • Work-life balance and flexible working options

These benefits are evident in the 2023 Australian Public Service Employee Survey results:

APS Employee Survey Results 2023 depicting the benefits of government jobs
Australian Public Service Employee Survey Results 2023

How to Get a Government Job in Australia in 2024

Where to Find Government Jobs

Knowing how to get a government job in Australia starts with knowing where to look.

While networking and keeping an eye on other job search websites can be handy to keep informed about upcoming opportunities, keeping an eye on the sites outlined below will be the most effective way to keep informed about any vacancies.

What is the Best Site for Government Jobs?

The best site for government jobs depends on what level of government you are applying for.

There are specific government job search websites for each of Australia’s three levels of government. For APS Jobs, it’s the APS Jobs website.

Federal Government Jobs

These are sometimes called Commonwealth or Australian Public Service (APS) jobs.

All APS jobs are advertised on the APS Jobs website.

Picture of the APS Careers Website front page

State Government Jobs

Each state and territory has their own government jobs portal:

Queensland Government jobs

New South Wales Government jobs

Victorian Government jobs

Western Australia Government jobs

South Australia Government jobs

Northern Territory Government jobs

Australian Capital Territory Government jobs

Tasmanian Government jobs

Local Government Jobs

These jobs are offered through local councils around Australia.  According to the Australian Local Government Association, there are 537 local councils around Australia (too many to list here!).

To find a local council job in your area, head to your own local council website’s careers section to see vacancies.

Is It Hard to Get a Job in the Local Government?

While local government jobs can be competitive, they can actually be easier to get than private sector jobs, if you strictly adhere to the application guidelines.

Since many people fail to adhere to the guidelines, those who do have a significant competitive advantage.

Local governments typically have specific guidelines and criteria for each job vacancy, and candidates are expected to meet these criteria precisely.

This includes addressing key selection criteria, providing evidence of qualifications and experience, and participating in standardised assessments and interviews.

How to Be Competitive Against Internal Candidates

Consider Temporary Contracts

Temporary contracts can be a great way to ‘get your foot in the door’. This can make getting a permanent role easier.

Consider Roles at the APS2 or APS3 Level

Often, these levels are easier to get than higher level roles.

Keep an Eye Out for Bulk Recruitment Rounds

Government departments often recruit high numbers of the same position at once. There will be less internal competition for these roles.

Write a Winning Application

Once you have found a government job you want to apply for, you’ll need to create a winning application.

Most government jobs in Australia require a resume or CV and a selection criteria response. Some also require an additional cover letter.

Write a Strong Resume and Cover Letter

You will need to tailor your resume (and cover letter, if requested) for the role you are applying for.

This means you should carefully read the job posting to understand the specific qualifications, skills, and experience sought by the government agency.

Pay attention to keywords and phrases used in the description. You can then emphasise your relevant work experience, qualifications, skills, and achievements.

Tailor your government resume to showcase how your past roles align with the requirements of the government position.

Tip: use a plain, black and white style resume (save the fancy, more showy resume templates for private sector jobs). Keep it to 2-3 pages.

Write a Winning Selection Criteria

Government job applications often require applicants to address selection criteria or key competencies.

Create a separate document to address each criterion, providing evidence of how you meet them. Use the STAR (Situation, Task, Action, Result) format.

Use quantifiable metrics to demonstrate your accomplishments. For example, mention how you improved efficiency, reduced costs, or increased revenue in your previous positions.

A reputable selection criteria writer can assist where required.

Types of Government Jobs Available

Australian government agencies are often grouped into categories, with jobs within these agencies supporting these functions:

Policy: organisations involved in the development of public policy.

Smaller operational: organisations with less than 1,000 employees involved in the implementation of public policy.

Larger operational: organisations with 1,000 employees or more involved in the implementation of public policy (e.g. teachers).

Regulatory: organisations involved in regulation and inspection (e.g. police officers)

Specialist: organisations providing specialist support to government.

National Cultural institutions: organisations that maintain collections of material and offer public programs relevant to Australia’s cultural heritage.

9 Government Roles with Salaries

We’ve outlined 9 of the most common government roles, as well as expected salary ranges for APS roles and state roles.

1. Call or Contact Centre Employee

Anticipated salary range:

APS3: $67,604 – $73,659

According to the Australian Government Public Service Commission, the Call or Contact Centre role remains the most common type of work in the APS (16,730 or 13.3% of the workforce).

About the role:

Call Centre Employees serve as the frontline representatives, handling inbound calls from citizens and clients, addressing enquiries, and guiding them through processes such as applying for welfare payments, updating personal information, or resolving issues with their accounts. They are trained to provide exceptional customer service, actively listening to clients’ needs, offering clear explanations, and troubleshooting problems. Additionally, call centre employees maintain detailed records of interactions, follow established procedures, and collaborate with other government departments to ensure that clients receive the support and services they require efficiently and effectively.

2. Compliance Case Manager

Anticipated salary range:

APS4: $74,670 – $82,743

About the role:

Compliance Case Managers work diligently to monitor and manage compliance issues, often within specific programs or industries. Their primary duties include conducting thorough assessments to identify potential violations, investigating non-compliance incidents, and collaborating with relevant stakeholders to develop corrective action plans. Compliance Case Managers are well-versed in the intricate details of laws and regulations applicable to their field, and they provide guidance and education to individuals and organisations to ensure compliance. They also maintain comprehensive records of cases, document investigations, and track progress toward resolution. They may participate in audits and assessments to evaluate and improve compliance processes, ultimately helping to maintain the integrity and effectiveness of government programs and regulations.

3. Strategic Policy Advice and Development

Anticipated salary range:

APS5: $83,751 – $91,824

About the role:

Professionals in the field of Strategic Policy Advice and Development within the government sector are instrumental in shaping and implementing policies that drive the long-term vision and objectives of government agencies. Their role revolves around conducting in-depth research and analysis to identify key issues, trends, and opportunities within their respective domains. They provide critical advice to government leaders and policymakers, helping them formulate effective strategies and policies that address complex challenges and promote the public interest. This often involves collaborating with various stakeholders, including government departments, industry experts, and community representatives, to gather input and build consensus. Additionally, professionals in this field may assess the impact of existing policies, propose necessary revisions, and develop innovative solutions to address emerging issues.

4. Customer Support

Anticipated salary range:

APS6: $93,840 – $106,905

About the role:

A Customer Support professional is a pivotal role within the Australian government, responsible for delivering high-quality customer service and managing complex enquiries and issues. These individuals often work in various government agencies and departments, such as Services Australia, and their primary responsibilities include assisting clients, resolving escalated concerns, and providing expert guidance on government programs and services. They play a vital role in ensuring that clients receive accurate information, timely assistance, and solutions tailored to their needs. This often involves handling complex inquiries, interpreting policies, and making decisions in line with established guidelines. Additionally, these professionals may oversee a team of customer support representatives, providing leadership, training, and support to ensure the team delivers exceptional service.

5. Administration Officer

Anticipated salary range:

APS4: $74,670 – $82,743

About the role:

These professionals are typically responsible for tasks such as managing records and documents, organising meetings and appointments, coordinating logistics, and handling office communications. They may also assist with budget tracking, procurement, and other financial management tasks, ensuring that government resources are used effectively and transparently. They are known for their attention to detail, organisational skills, and the ability to maintain confidentiality when dealing with sensitive information. They work collaboratively with colleagues to implement more efficient workflows and ensure that administrative functions are aligned with departmental goals and government policies.

6. Teacher

Anticipated salary range:

E.g. Queensland Band 1-3: $71,986 – $108,359

About the role:

Government-employed teachers work in public schools, colleges, and educational institutions, imparting knowledge and fostering personal and academic growth among their students. Their responsibilities encompass designing curriculum, delivering engaging lessons, assessing student progress, managing classrooms, providing individualised support, engaging with parents and communities, and continually improving their teaching methods.

7. Nurse

Anticipated salary range:

E.g. in New South Wales 5th year Nurse: $1644.60 weekly (plus penalties)

About the role:

Government-employed nurses work in a variety of public healthcare settings, including hospitals, clinics, nursing homes, and community health centres. Nurses assess and monitor patients’ health, administer medications, and provide treatments as prescribed by healthcare providers. They collaborate with doctors and other healthcare professionals to develop and implement patient care plans, ensuring that each patient receives individualised and holistic care. Nurses also educate patients and their families about medical conditions, treatment options, and self-care practices, empowering them to make informed decisions about their health.

8. Police Officer

Anticipated salary range:

E.g. for Victorian Constable: $75,604 p/a plus allowances

About the role:

Police Officers are responsible for patrolling assigned areas, responding to emergency calls, and enforcing laws and regulations. They conduct investigations into criminal activities, gather evidence, interview witnesses, and make arrests when necessary. They play a key role in maintaining community safety by preventing and investigating crimes, including theft, assault, and drug offenses. Police Officers often engage in community policing, fostering positive relationships with residents, and working collaboratively with community members to address concerns and build trust. They provide assistance during emergencies, accidents, and natural disasters, offering support and maintaining order in challenging situations.

9. Allied Health

Anticipated salary range:

E.g. for WA Speech Pathologist HSO Level P1: $71,703 – $100,257

About the role:

An Allied Health Professional works in specific areas such as physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech-language pathology, radiography, and more, tailoring their expertise to the unique needs of their patients.

Need further help with your application? Contact our expert selection criteria writers.

Read more about how to write an APS statement of claims.

Nicole Wren

Nicole Wren

Senior Writer

Nicole is the principal resume writer at Resumes to Impress. Nicole loves writing and sharing her knowledge about all things job hunting and career guidance.

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