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 need to figure out what a public servant does? You are in the right place!


The Australian Public Service (APS) serves the Australian community. They employ people to become active community members, contributing to Australia's prosperity and security.


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 uncover everything you need to know about becoming a public servant in Australia, including the duties and tasks, different jobs, and much more.



1. What Is A Public Servant In Australia?


A public servant is an individual who is appointed to work for 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, policyconstruction, and more.


The APS (Australian Public Service) is 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 regulates and develops laws, including programs and policies that assist various aspects of 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 must constantly think of the future, work across borders, and impartially serve all Australians and the government.


Most 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 the 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 and administrative and operational assistance. Also, research and advise on organisational issues, such as facility management, staff management, information services, and financial planning.



3. Education 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 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 your Year 10. Generally, it all depends on the entry-level position you are applying for. Always remember that your job prospects may improve if you possess the required qualifications or basic skills in administration, data entry, and computing.


Individuals whose expertise, skills, and experience best meet the job criteria will be selected when applying for a public servant position.


Furthermore, each job post in the state government has its 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 best to contact the institution to gather more information.



4. Types of Public Servant Jobs in Australia


The APS offers a diverse range of positions corresponding 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 include engineersscientistslawyers, inspectors, librarianseconomistsaccountants, 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.


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



Let's 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. Other recruiting firms in Australia also specialise in placing employees in temporary government positions. 


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


You may contact recruiting firms directly. 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 classified depending on the value of the tasks. The APS job roles are paid and classified at various levels per the skills, responsibilities, and complexity involved.


Note: Each agency has its pay scale, typically outlined in a format in the Enterprise Agreement. You can find it 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, and senior administrative positions that may involve supervisory duties.


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


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


  • Executive Levels 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 must possess proper skills and perform exceptionally well to advance through broadband and reach a higher level.


The APS agencies might use different terminologies and job titles to characterise their positions. The additional information and the job description help 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.



Let's Learn About Entry-Level Lobs: 


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


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


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


Suppose 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 to help Indigenous job seekers take professional roles in the government and private sectors.


For additional information, refer to the Department of Employment's website -


You can also check the Indigenous careers page on the Australian government's website. It provides access to 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 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.


  • Apply for apprenticeships, traineeships, school leaver programs, internships, Australian public service graduate programs, or cadetships.


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 work in.



7. Australian Public Service Benefits


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



Improved Work-Life Balance


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 you can use 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 in 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 excellent 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!


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