2. About jobs in the APS: cracking the code
Get the facts
APS jobs can be advertised as:
- individual vacancies
- multiple vacancies
- anticipated vacancies
- internships and graduate positions
- traineeships and school leaver programs.
In most cases, APS agencies run their own recruitment processes. Agencies advertise jobs in the Public Service Gazette on www.APSjobs.gov.au, on their own websites, through recruitment agencies, and on websites such as www.jobactive.gov.au
Types of jobs
The APS has a wide range of jobs corresponding to different roles and levels of responsibility (grouped as classification levels). These include:
- service delivery and advice to the public
- policy advice, program design or implementation, stakeholder management,
- and strategic decision-making
- corporate services such as information technology, human resources, records management, accounts processing and ministerial and parliamentary processes
- technical and professional jobs such as lawyers, journalists, accountants, scientists, engineers, librarians, inspectors and economists
- a range of project and administrative support jobs.
We offer full-time and part-time jobs on either a non-ongoing (temporary) or ongoing (permanent) basis. If you are interested in part-time work, speak with the contact officer about the possibility of flexible or part-time hours, even if the job is advertised as a full-time position.
Some jobs are available on an irregular or intermittent (casual) basis.
Non-ongoing (temporary) jobs
Many APS agencies have a non-ongoing/temporary employment register to fill short-term vacancies, often at short notice. Also, some recruitment companies specialise in placing people in temporary government jobs. People are selected for such work based on the skills and abilities needed for the job. These jobs provide a good opportunity to gain experience in the public service. You can contact recruitment companies directly, or if you are interested in a particular APS agency, check the agency’s website to see if they have an online register.
Find out more
What is the Public Service Gazette?
The Gazette is an official journal that lists vacancies in the APS and some other non-APS Australian Government organisations as well. It also lists some employment decisions such as promotions.
The online Gazette allows you to search for vacancies by job category, location, classification level, agency or salary range.
New vacancies are advertised daily at www.APSjobs.gov.au.
What are classifications?
Jobs in the APS are separated into classifications based on the work value of the duties being performed. Jobs are classified and paid at different levels according to the complexity, responsibility and skills involved. Note that each agency has its own rates of pay, generally set out in a schedule in the Enterprise Agreement available on its website.
The most common classifications are:
- Training classifications—jobs that include completion of a training program, including trainee and graduate positions
- APS 1 and 2—general administrative and service positions
- APS 3 and 4—general administrative, technical, project, public contact and service positions
- APS 5 and 6—senior administrative, technical, project, policy and service positions, which may have supervisory responsibilities
- Executive Level 1 and 2—middle management or professional positions
- Senior Executive Service Band 1, 2 and 3—senior leadership and management positions.
Classifications grouped together, such as APS 3 to APS 4, are called broadbands. Some agencies advertise their jobs as broadbands, and this means it is easier to move from one level to the next, for example from an APS 3 to an APS 4. Work at the higher level would need to be available, and you would need to have the right skills and to be performing well to progress through a broadband.
Agencies may also use different job titles and terminology to describe their jobs. The job description and information pack can help you understand whether you have the skills and experience needed for that role. The contact officer should be able to provide further information on the roles and responsibilities of the job.
Where can I find agency websites?
As well as advertising on APSjobs, most agencies also advertise vacancies on their own websites. You can find a list of APS agencies and other Australian Government organisations with links to their websites at www.australia.gov.au.
myth vs reality
I’ll have to move to Canberra
Although Canberra is typically seen as the ‘home’ of the APS, around two-thirds of employees are located outside Canberra. In Australia, APS employees work from Bourke to Geraldton and from the Snowy Mountains to Norfolk Island. Overseas, APS staff work in such places as London, Beirut, Beijing, Port Moresby and Jakarta.
Only public servants can apply for jobs listed on APSjobs
The vast majority of jobs are open to the Australian community. Only a very small number are for people already in the APS.
in the know
IF AN AGENCY HAS MULTIPLE VACANCIES TO FILL, THEY SOMETIMES ADVERTISE THEM ALL AT ONCE. IF THE JOBS ARE AT THE SAME CLASSIFICATION LEVEL, AGENCIES MAY ASK FOR A GENERAL APPLICATION BASED ON YOUR CORE SKILLS AND ABILITIES, AND RUN AN ASSESSMENT CENTRE OR USE OTHER ASSESSMENT METHODS TO ASSESS A NUMBER OF CANDIDATES AT ONCE. WRITTEN EXERCISES, COMPUTER SKILLS TESTS, GROUP ACTIVITIES OR JOB SIMULATIONS MAY BE USED IN AN ASSESSMENT CENTRE.