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APS Graduate Recruitment

2014-15 State of the Service Report – APS graduate recruitment

The graduate programs run by agencies represent a major investment by the APS. They are an important source of talented employees. It is hoped that many will become effective senior leaders. Significant differences exist between graduates and other new entrants to the APS in terms of what attracts them to the APS. Graduates are more likely to rate long-term career progression as more important than general entrants.

Graduates are less likely to rate the geographic location of the job as important. Many graduates move interstate to take up a position in the APS. They are more likely to rate the security and stability of the job as important, as well as their development.

Interactive Chart: Factors attracting graduates to their agency

Learn more about this chart: view data for Figure 1.

There are key demographic differences between graduates and other new starters in the APS. Seventy-seven perecent of graduate respondents to the APS Entry Survey were aged under 30 years, compared with 38% of other new entrants. They were also more likely to be from a non-English speaking background (NESB). Representation rates of Indigenous employees and people with disability were comparable.

Interactive Chart: Demographic comparisons of Graduates and other new entrants to the APS

Learn more about this chart: view data for Figure 2.

In 2014-15, 73% of graduates took up positions in the ACT. This is consistent with the Australian Public Service Employee Database (APSED), which identifies that over half of all graduate positions are located in the ACT. Rather than being limited to the local Canberra labour market, the graduate programs drew people from further afield. In 2014-15, 64% of ACT-based graduates had moved from interstate. The fact that such a high proportion of graduates were willing to relocate to take up a position may speak positively about the employment value proposition offered by the APS.

While the numbers were too small to examine other states individually, only 30% of non-ACT based graduates had moved interstate to take up the position. Once again, this demonstrates that the recruitment patterns of APS agencies changes from region to region.

When responding to the APS Entry Survey, the majority of graduates indicate they expect to remain with their agency for at least the next two years, which is consistent with the length of their graduate program. Other new entrants are less sure about the future. This difference may reflect the structure of graduate programs rather than a meaningful difference in career intentions.

APSED data shows that there is little difference between graduates and other new entrants when it comes to the proportion still engaged after 5 years, with around two thirds of each group remaining with their agencies.

Assuming they remain in the APS for the next five years, graduates most commonly expect to secure an Executive Level 1 role. Almost 30% of graduates reach this level within the 5 years, while around 40% reach the APS 6 level.

Graduates’ expectations for career progression in the next five years

Learn more about this chart: view data for Figure 3.

Last reviewed: 
4 July 2018