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Challenge 3: Department of Defence


The challenge:

In a world where private companies such as Facebook, Google and Trip advisor (to name a few) continually change the status quo of workplace culture and re-defining the term "work-life balance", how can the APS compete?

How do we make the APS an employer of choice? What needs to change in order to attract younger and innovative applicants across all levels i.e. APS1-EL2?


With the issue of an older workforce concurrent across majority of the APS agencies, It's easy to say that attracting the right person at the right time isn't as simple as offering more money or improved job security. In today's day and age, Generation Y and soon to be Z are demanding more from organisations. Instead of the question "why should we [as a company] hire you?" it has transitioned to "why should I [as an applicant] apply to work for your company?"

As innovative private sector organisations like Facebook and Google set the tone for out-of-the-box thinking to attract and retain employees, they also initiate the conversation around how public sector can adapt these ideas. With the public sector known as being "ridged and process heavy" youth are simply not attracted. Yes, albeit there is a slight higher level of job security, but with employees seeking new opportunities every 3 to 5 years, this is no longer a priority.

So, how does the APS attract young, innovative and motivated employees? How can the APS become a professional brand and an employer of choice with applicants fighting to join and stay?

With the success of Facebook and Google, it is a time for a change. How the APS agencies approach this will vary. There is potential for great results through very minor changes, however, the lack of viable resources and innovative talent in the recent past has caused the APS to remain 'dated'. The overall rewards for this type of change will definitely outweigh the risk across all agencies.


Department of Defence's mission is to defend Australian and its national interests. In fulfilling this mission, Defence serves the Government of the day and is accountable to the Commonwealth Parliament which represents the Australian People to efficiently and effectively carry out the Governments defence policy. Department is Defence's role is to defend Australia against armed attack.

Graduates can seek information about Defence's recruitment.

Last reviewed: 
8 June 2018