1. The big picture: Cracking the code
Get the facts
So you think you want to work in the APS but don’t know much about us?
There are three levels of government in Australia—local, state/territory and Australian (or Commonwealth/Federal) Government. Each state and territory government is supported by its own public service, with the Australian Public Service (APS) being part of the Australian Government.
There are more than 100 separate APS organisations, employing more than 150,000 people. The APS ranges from large agencies that provide a broad range of services across the country through to small agencies working on specialised issues in one sector of society.
The APS is responsible for developing and regulating laws, developing policies and programs to support many areas of the community, protecting Australia’s borders and enhancing Australia’s economy. Behind almost every facet of life in Australia is an APS job.
Why should you join us?
The APS has a range of career opportunities, while also providing the scope for you to change career direction. So you can start in an administrative support or client service role and then develop your skills for managerial, technical or professional careers. The APS supports professional and personal development, further study, and career and leadership development.
We offer great working conditions including competitive salaries and superannuation, excellent leave conditions, and flexible work practices.
The APS has jobs across Australia, as well as overseas. Our workforce includes accountants, biologists, contract managers, customer service officers, economists, graphic designers, information technology specialists, lawyers and policy advisers to name a few.
We provide the opportunity for you to pursue your interests while contributing to the Australian community.
We value and encourage supportive workplace environments based on fair and equitable treatment. How we work and treat each other is governed by the APS Values and Code of Conduct.
We are committed to providing an inclusive and diverse workplace where all employees are valued. We appreciate the experiences, skills and perspectives of all individuals and harness a collaborative environment. We actively encourage applications from people with diverse backgrounds.
Find out more
What are the APS Values and Code of Conduct?
The APS Values and Code of Conduct apply to all APS employees and provide a framework for the integrity and professionalism of the public service. The Values and Code guide how we act in our relationships with the government, parliament, the public and colleagues. The Code sets the standards of personal behaviour expected of APS employees. For more information see the APS Values and Code of Conduct webpages.
When applying for an APS job you may be asked to demonstrate how you would uphold the Values. Describing how you have acted and behaved in previous employment or other areas of your life is a good way of showing you understand the Values and Code.
What is merit?
We recruit staff based on merit, which means that from a field of applicants, we select the best person for the job. To do this we compare and weigh-up the skills, abilities and experience of each applicant. We use different tools and techniques, such as written applications, CVs, interviews and/or work-sample tests, to collect the evidence we need to make a merit-based decision. We may ask you to provide the name of a referee or two for us to contact—someone you have worked with recently or who knows your skills and abilities.
Myth vs reality
You have to know someone to get a job in the APS
Getting a job in the APS is based on merit. This means looking at your skills, abilities and experience, how well they fit the requirements of the job and how you compare to other applicants.
You need lots of public sector experience to get a job in the APS
Some jobs require specific experience or qualifications, but many don’t. It comes down to the skills required for the job. Some key skills for the APS include communication, problem solving and analytical skills. Your skills can be drawn from school, work, study, committees, volunteering, and community events.
In the know
There is no standard process for filling APS jobs. The application process can vary greatly between agencies, and between jobs. A core requirements is that recruitment decisions for the engagement of a new employee or promotion of and existing employee are based on merit.