Government jobs are widespread in Australia. According to data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics, there were more than two million government employees across the nation in 2020.

The public sector offers a unique path for professionals from a wide range of backgrounds –   and with some of the most sought-after benefits and working conditions in the country, it’s no surprise that working for the government is a goal for many.

So, how do you go about securing a sought-after role in government? Here’s what you need to know.

What types of government jobs are available?

Government jobs span a diverse range of roles and specialisations. Professionals from almost any background can find success in the public sector if applying for roles with selection criteria that closely fits their skill set and experience.

There are three main levels of government jobs:

  • Local. Jobs for local councils, which span all metropolitan and regional areas across Australia.
  • State. Jobs for state and territory governments including NSW, VIC, QLD, SA, WA, NT, ACT and TAS. State government jobs are usually based across several hubs throughout the state.r
  • Federal. Federal government jobs are typically Canberra-based, being in the ACT, but are also located elsewhere around Australia.

The types of jobs available typically vary depending on the level of government. However, some of the most common hiring areas include:

Public vs private sector: What are the differences?

The biggest difference between the public and private sectors is that the private sector is made up of organisations that are privately owned, whereas the public sector comprises organisations that are owned and operated by the government.

That aside, some of the key differences between the public and private sector include:

  • Benefits: Aside from compulsory leave, pay and superannuation entitlements, job benefits are at the discretion of private sector employers. Conversely, many government jobs come with generous employee benefits such as shorter work weeks, rostered days off and paid parental leave.
     
  • Standards and compliance: Private sector employees are usually expected to follow a code of conduct set out by their employer, which can vary significantly depending on the company. Government employees, on the other hand, have to work within the government’s guidelines, which in many cases include stricter rules and procedures.
     
  • Cost strategy: Private sector employers typically have their eye closely on the bottom line and continually work to optimise cost efficiencies, particularly if the business serves stakeholders. Public sector organisations operate primarily to fulfill the services they’re mandated to provide. Cost effectiveness in government is still important, but may be less of a focus than in the private sector.

Tips for landing a government job

1. Keep an eye out for roles in your field

Today, the public sector covers jobs in almost every field. And while some roles are more prevalent than others, it pays to stay up-to-date with government job listings so you know as soon as a relevant opportunity pops up and can apply immediately.

2. Address the selection criteria carefully

Government selection criteria examples include everything from technical skills, such as experience working within a specific system, to soft skills, such as the ability to work well within a team. Candidates for government jobs are carefully evaluated and shortlisted based on these selection criteria, so pay close attention to this section of the job ad. Your resume and job application should clearly demonstrate that you meet most, if not all, of these key criteria.

3. Talk to a recruitment consultant

Specialist government recruitment consultants are qualified to assist in filling public sector jobs and can help fast-track you to a role in local, state or federal government. Michael Page’s consultants have deep expertise in public sector recruitment – explore our open government jobs or get in touch to discuss opportunities in your field.

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