Careers for graduates

Help us in our vision to support economic growth and job creation for all Australians. Grow your skills and make a difference by joining our department.

We need graduates with diverse skills, expertise, perspectives and experience to help us solve some of our country’s most pressing challenges.

You can join us by applying through:

  • our Graduate Development Program
  • the Australian Government Career Pathways STEM stream.

Graduate Development Program

Our Graduate Development Program gives you an opportunity to grow the skills you’ve gained during university through work that directly impacts the Australian community.

We are many policy areas, industries and careers rolled into one department. Our breadth of work offers endless pathways to grow your career, skills and experience.

Whether you’re passionate about science, technology, innovation, resources, or any other policy area in our diverse portfolio, the scope of topics you can work on can’t be matched anywhere else.

Diversity and inclusion

Learn about our diverse and inclusive workplace and diversity networks.

People strategy

Learn how we invest in our people, values and culture.

What graduates say

Q: Why were you inspired to join the department?

Seb: I was inspired to join the department because of the breadth of the portfolio. I think in no other department do you get to work across so many different interesting things that are important to Australia's future.

Jamie: The reason I was inspired to join the Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources was the diverse work that the department does to help support economic growth. After studying economics at uni I knew how important businesses were, how important the resources sector was to the economy and I knew I wanted to work in a place where I could follow policy. From writing the policy documents all the way through to program implementation.

CY: The department's work just seems like a really good fit for me and you know, before I signed up for the grad program I had read lots of reviews online and I could see that the department was a really good place to work. So it was a sort of alignment between my own personal interests in terms of what I wanted to do at work but also knowing that I would be coming to work for an organisation that was a really good work environment.

Q: What motivates you to come to work each day?

Seb: You get access to heaps of challenging opportunities, lots of... a strong culture of learning and development and you get to be around a lot of interesting, smart, dedicated people.

Jamie: What motivates me is that we all are working towards the same goal, we all want economic growth and prosperity for Australians and we all work in our own way on our own programs to do that.

CY: I really enjoy working with my colleagues. Many of the people I've have had the chance to work with over the course of the past two years are credibly enthusiastic, kind, passionate about the public service. So it's definitely a very inspiring environment to work for.

Q: What opportunities were you exposed to during your rotations?

Seb: I was exposed to heaps of opportunities in my rotations, ones that I'd never expect. So I started off in defence industry policy, which was fascinating. And then I got to move into being an economic analyst, which was tremendously difficult. And now I get to work in strategic policies.

Jamie: As a graduate with the department I have been exposed to a plethora of opportunities. From sitting in an Innovation and Science Australia board meeting with billionaires who are angel investors in companies all over Australia, to emceeing the launch of the APS innovation month with their Secretary of Prime Minister and Cabinet.

CY: So I started in the industry growth division looking at health technologies, which was really aligned with my academic background. And then I went into the Office of Innovation and Science Australia. So getting to dabble a lot more on the technology policy side and innovation policy side. That is a big pillar for economic growth here in Australia.

Q: How was your transition into the department?

Seb: So it's a smooth transition into the department, and you get well supported by the employment programs team. You get lots of access to training modules, you get great supervision, people who are experienced in it and who are there to support you, so very easy and very smooth from my end.

CY: As you can imagine, it's quite a big organisation, so it can be a little bit daunting to get used to initially but we're all given a grad buddy, so someone who could mentor us and take us through the organisation and tell us about all the sort of tricks and insights about how to be successful in an organisation like this department. And certainly, you know, the graduate team and HR has been really supportive as well making sure that we have access to training that allowed us to develop the really core competencies and skills that really set us up well for a role in the organisation.

Q: What have you enjoyed most about your time in the Graduate Program?

Seb: You get to lead your own grad major project, which has great exposure to the executive.

Jamie: The thing I've enjoyed most in my time in the graduate program is the diverse inclusion that was involved. It's not just about where you're from or your academic background, but it's also about diversity of thought, diversity of your culture, your language. And the department has a range of activities you can get involved in to support you in that.

CY: Having the opportunity to see sort of across the department what people were doing, what sort of issues we help with and lead on and also at the same time being able to bring my experiences and knowledge from one area to the next and hopefully helping to bring some new perspectives and solve some problems across the organisation as well.

Q: What would your advice be to someone joining the Graduate Program?

Jamie: By leaving university and moving to a new place I'm not giving up all the things that I used to love. At the department, there's a range of clubs, sporting groups. There's even a choir now where you can get involved in the community.

CY: If I have one piece of advice to offer it's to keep in mind that this is an organisation that really wants you to succeed. And that definitely changed the perspective for me.

Seb: The piece of advice that I'd give is that people aren't that scary. Approach people, ask for help, show initiative. It really pays dividends to be an entrepreneur with these things. The best opportunities you'll get are the ones you find yourself, not the ones that are thrown to you, so take charge.

Program benefits

Our program offers:

  • a structured 12-month training and development program
  • 3 rotations to experience diverse roles and responsibilities across the department
  • starting salary of $68,436 plus 15.4% superannuation
  • advancement to Australian Public Service (APS) 5 (current salary of $77,913 plus 15.4% superannuation) once you successfully complete the program
  • access to a dedicated Employment Programs support team
  • a mentor to assist with career planning and personal development
  • a buddy from previous year's cohort to assist with your transition into the APS and graduate program
  • exclusive networking events.

Program format

Our program provides on-the-job learning, formal training and networking opportunities.

During our program you will experience:

  • the opportunity to collaborate with other graduates on a major project tackling real-life policy issues
  • soft and technical skills training and on-the-job learning throughout the program.

In addition, we’ll provide you with:

  • relocation assistance if you’re moving to Canberra
  • an extensive induction program so you can hit the ground running
  • a dedicated Employment Programs support team who is here for you throughout the recruitment process and program
  • a targeted learning and development regime, with exclusive networking events and opportunities to meet senior executives.

Eligibility

To apply, you must:

  • be an Australian citizen at the time of application
  • have completed a minimum 3 year undergraduate degree within the last 5 years
  • be able to obtain and maintain a baseline security clearance
  • be prepared to relocate to Canberra where the majority of roles are located.

If your degree is from an overseas university, the National Office of Overseas Skill Recognition must recognise the qualification.

Application process

The assessment and selection process may include:

  • an online personality and cognitive assessment
  • a written task
  • a behavioural interview
  • referee checks
  • a short phone or video interview (this may be applicable if you’re applying through specialist streams).

Australian Government Career Pathways Program

The Australian Government offers pathways for university graduates interested in a career in the Australian Public Service (APS) through its Australian Government Career Pathways Program.  

There are 8 streams in this program, each led by different government agencies or departments: 

  • Science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) (led by us)
  • Data (Australian Bureau of Statistics)
  • Digital (Digital Transformation Agency)
  • Economist (Treasury)
  • Generalist (Department of Finance)
  • Human Resources (Australian Taxation Office)
  • Indigenous Graduate Pathways (Department of Defence).

The lead agency or department is responsible for recruiting  graduates through their stream. You only need to go through the application and selection process once to have the opportunity to work across other Australian Government departments (outside your original stream).  

Learn more on the APS Jobs graduate portal.

Australian Government Career Pathway – STEM stream

Our department leads the career pathways stream for science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).

If you’re a graduate joining this stream you will have the opportunity to work across multiple STEM fields including:

  • developing initiatives to advance women and girls in STEM
  • international and national space negotiations and agreements
  • earth observations
  • robotics
  • neuromorphic engineering
  • chemical and biological analysis
  • electro technology
  • genomics
  • cyber security
  • technology and programming
  • software engineering
  • geophysics
  • spatial analysis.

Learn more about the STEM stream on the APS Jobs graduate portal.

Chief Scientist message

I’m Cathy Foley, I’m Australia’s Chief Scientist, and my role is to make sure that the government gets the best possible advice and evidence-based information on science and technology that really helps them make the best possible decisions. Taking into account all the other things that make the world go round.

These days, science and technology is absolutely critical to making everything work. We know that it touches every part of every aspect of government and so we need to have more and more science, technologists, and engineers even, coming into the public service so that they can provide their expertise and be able to help the APS make the best possible advice and recommendations to government.

One of the things that’s really amazing about working in the Australian Public Service is that there’s a whole breadth of areas that you can work in. Doesn’t matter whether it’s in Finance, in Agriculture, Health, Manufacturing, Mining, Energy, and it goes on. So therefore, that means you get a chance to work in a whole range of different areas and get that opportunity to see where you can make a difference, and where your passion is as well.

I really urge people who are interested in making a difference, being involved with policy, and wanting to see their STEM skills be used in ways which you just couldn’t dream of. Put your name forward, think about this as a real possible career for you because I know that you’ll find it really satisfying, and also provide a whole range of opportunities for you which you just can’t get anywhere else.