How To Become A Public Servant In Australia: Explained

Students want to know the public servant service levels, benefits, and pay rates, including the jobs roles.


Do you want to work in one of the public service fields but are not sure what exactly a public servant does? You are in the right place!


The Australian Public Service (APS) is dedicated to serving the Australian community. They employ people to become active members of the community, contributing to the prosperity and security of Australia.


Working with APS allows you to pursue your passions. With so many different positions to choose from, you can do nearly anything within the public service.


The post below will cover everything you need to know about becoming a public servant in Australia, including duties and tasks of a public servant, different types of Australian public service jobs, and a lot more.



1. What Is A Public Servant In Australia?


A public servant is an individual who is appointed to work for the public office in territory, state, or local governments. As it is a diverse profession, you can have a career in management, administration, and technical fields, such as public welfare, health, policy, construction, and more.


The APS (Australian Public Service) is much more than just a job. It is an excellent opportunity for a broad spectrum of people, including those seeking a change of profession, individuals returning to the workforce, and even graduates.


The APS is in charge of regulating and developing laws, including programs and policies that assist various aspects of the society, thereby protecting Australia's borders and boosting its economy.


Being a part of the Australian Public Service means you will actively participate in the country's development. This further means that you need to constantly think of the future, work across borders, and serve all Australians and the government impartially.


The majority of Australians are eligible to work for the APS, which hires more than 150,000 individuals in Australia and throughout the world — and getting a job in the APS isn't as difficult as you would imagine.


2. Duties and Tasks of a Public Servant In Australia


  • Manage, lead, and develop administrative staff to guarantee smooth functioning of business operations and timely and accurate information supply.

  • Represent the organisation at conventions, negotiations, forums, public hearings, and seminars, and promote new and existing policies and programs. 

  • Manage and develop the organisation's physical, financial, staff, and administrative resources.

  • Provide support and information for the preparation of budgets and financial reports. 

  • Analyse and prepare reports, submissions, and correspondence related to complex resource management initiatives and challenges that affect the organisation.

  • Implement and develop financial, administrative, and operational procedures and standards for the organisation's employees.

  • Provide senior management with high-level strategic planning, administrative and operational assistance. Also, conduct research and provide advice on administrative issues, such as facility management, staff management, information services, and financial planning.


3. What Are The Education and Training Requirements To Become a Public Servant in Australia?


You can enter the APS (Australian Public Service) as a Graduate Administrative Assistant or a Trainee Administrative Service Officer. You do not require any formal training or academic qualifications to become a Trainee Administrative Service Officer.


However, agencies and departments usually ask you to provide a Year 10 certificate or equivalent. You will require a bachelor's degree for all other job roles.

To work as a state public servant, you must complete a Senior Secondary Certificate of Education or just your Year 10. Generally, it all depends on the entry-level position you are applying for. Always keep in mind that if you possess the required qualifications or some basic skills in administration, data entry, and computing, your job prospects may improve.

When applying for a public servant position, the merit principle in promotion and recruitment states that the individual whose expertise, skills, and experience best meet the job criteria will be selected.


Furthermore, each job post in the state government has its own set of standards. Job seekers must demonstrate that they satisfy these requirements by carefully responding to predetermined selection criteria.

Note: You require a degree from a recognised tertiary institution for graduate entry into the state government. Obtaining your Senior Secondary Certificate of Education is the best way to enrol into a tertiary institution.


Additionally, different institutions have different criteria, and some offer flexible requirements and may even provide external study opportunities. Hence, it's always the best option to contact the institution to gather more information.


4. Types of Public Servant Jobs in Australia


The APS offers a diverse range of positions that correspond to several roles and levels of responsibility. Here are some of them:


  • Stakeholder management, policy advice, strategic decision-making, and program design and implementation.

  • Advice to the public and service delivery.

  • Professional and technical Australian public service jobs, such as engineers, scientists, lawyers, inspectors, librarians, economists, accountants, and journalists.

  • Corporate services, including accounts processing, information technology, parliamentary and ministerial processes, record management, and human resources.

  • A wide range of administrative and project support jobs.


The APS also offers part-time and full-time jobs on either a permanent (ongoing) or non-permanent (non-ongoing) basis. If you want a part-time job, but the job is posted as a full-time position, you can still get in touch with the contact officer about the possibility of working part-time or flexible hours.


Note: You can also apply for occupations offered on a casual (intermittent) or irregular basis.


Now let us learn more about temporary (non-ongoing) jobs:


Many Australian Public Service agencies use temporary or non-ongoing employment methods to fill short-term openings, typically at short notice. Additionally, there are other recruiting firms in Australia that specialise in placing employees in temporary government positions.


All in all, for this type of profession, people usually get selected based on their abilities and skills.


You may contact recruiting firms directly, or if you wish to work with a specific APS agency, visit their website to check if they provide an option to register online.


Furthermore, the APS jobs are divided into classifications, depending on the value of the tasks being performed. The APS job roles are paid and classified at various levels as per the skills, responsibilities, and complexity involved.


Note: Each agency has its own pay scale, typically outlined in a format in the Enterprise Agreement that can be found on the agency's website.


The following are the most common APS job classifications:


  • APS 1 & 2 - Service and general administrative roles.


  • APS 3 & 4 - Public contact, project, technical, service, and general administrative positions.


  • APS 5 & 6 -  Policy, project, technical, service, senior administrative positions that may involve supervisory duties.


  • Training Classifications - Job roles that require completion of a training program. These are basically graduate and trainee positions.


  • Senior Executive Service Band 1, 2 & 3 - Management and senior leadership roles.


  • Executive Level 1 & 2 - Professional or middle management positions.


Classifications paired together, such as APS 3 & 4, are known as broadbands. Some APS firms promote the job roles as broadbands, implying that moving from one position to the next is more accessible, such as from an APS 3 to an APS 4.


Remember that you need to possess proper skills and perform exceptionally well to advance through broadband and reach a higher level.


The APS agencies might even use different terminologies and job titles to characterise their job positions. The additional information and the job description might help you determine if you have the required experience and skills for that position. Furthermore, a contact officer can provide more information about the job's responsibilities and tasks.


Now let us get to know about entry-level jobs: 


People who have previously worked in the community, private, or other government sectors can apply for Australian Public Service jobs. The APS provides entry points for individuals who are learning new skills to switch jobs or are just starting their careers. These individuals may include:



Graduates are typically hired at levels corresponding to APS 3 to 4. On the other hand, cadetship jobs, traineeships, school leaver programs, and apprenticeships are filled at levels equal to APS 1 to 2.


Most agencies conduct their own yearly entry-level recruiting campaigns, mostly advertised on agency websites, social media, occasionally in newspapers, and the Public Service Gazette at


In most cases, you need to fill out an online application form. Furthermore, if you are selected based on your application, you will be invited to the assessment centre to give an interview


If you identify as a Torres Strait Islander or an Aboriginal, you can also look into Indigenous career pathways for graduates, cadets, or trainees.


The Indigenous Cadetship Support initiative provides opportunities for Indigenous Australians to work while studying. This employment program is designed to help Indigenous job seekers to take up professional roles in the government and private sectors. For additional information, refer to the Department of Employment's website -


You can also check out the Indigenous careers page on the Australian government's website. It provides access to a variety of recognised job opportunities and affirmative measures to view current openings.


Note: Indigenous individuals are encouraged to apply for employment under all APS fields, regardless of whether they are mentioned under one of the categories.


5. How To Apply For an APS Job?


Some of your options include the following:



  • Enrol for a temporary employment register to be considered for short-term work. You can find these registers on APSjobs, websites of many APS agencies, and sometimes through recruitment firms.



All in all, when applying for a job, take your time to double-check all the required information. There might be specific prerequisites for each job position, such as submitting a written application, sending a CV, or filling out an application form.


6. What are the Australian Public Service Pay Rates?


The average annual public servant salary in Australia is around AUD 88,000. Public servant salaries can range between AUD 60,000 and AUD 130,000, depending on the classification level and the state or city you are working in.



7. Australian Public Service Benefits


Here are some benefits of joining the Australian Public Service (APS):



Improved Work-Life Balance


  • In general, if you want a better work-life balance, you should join the public sector because of the employment agreements and rewards that maintain short work hours. You can also work overtime, which can be later adjusted in the form of flexible leave.



Make a Difference in the Community


  • When done right, public service can have a significant impact on communities and individuals. Such types of jobs are best for individuals who want to contribute to making a difference in the lives of others surrounding them.



Staff Training


  • Agencies under the public sector mainly focus on helping their employees reach their full potential. Employees are frequently encouraged, if not compelled, to further their professional development by engaging in training programs.



Improve Your Resume


  • Getting experience in several fields is an excellent way to build a well-rounded CV. Many professions in the public sector offer great opportunities to learn new skills and gain experience. It is important to note that the complexities and challenges in government jobs differ from those in the private sector.



Job Security


  • Job security is one of the most stressful aspects of working in the private sector. Businesses in the private sector are constantly merging, changing, and reorganising, putting a lot of strain on workers who rely on their income to pay their expenses. Such issues are rare in the public sector; unlike a private company, the government will never go out of business.


If you think a position in the Australian Public Service might be a good fit, you should explore your options today and get the job of your dreams!


Useful Links to Explore:

Don't forget to share this post!

Please Subscribe to our Newsletter