Industry Spotlights

Government & Defence

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Overview

Salary and compensation is still the stand out driver for candidates in the government and defence industry, however there are many other factors that combine to attract their attention.

Salary and compensation ranks number one for 17.1% of candidates when it comes to looking for their next role. While for most it is about base salary, as many as two in three (64%) would be motivated by the enticement of financial compensation such as extra superannuation contributions.

Work-life balance was ranked number two (13.2%) among candidates and flexible working hours is particularly attractive. Job security came in third (12.2%) this year compared to 2012 and has swapped spots with career development, which is now the fourth driver of attraction. 

Life stage may be a factor in this result – as of June 2015 the average age of Australian public service employees was 43.5 years and therefore job security may be viewed as more important than career progression opportunities. Despite this, candidates in this industry are significantly more likely to view mentoring and internal and external training opportunities as a ‘must have’ or something that would delight them.

Job security and training and development opportunities may also be closely linked in the minds of candidates. Investment in employee careers may also show that an employer is invested in a candidate’s long-term future with the company or organisation. 

“As flexibility is now more widely recognised in the private sector, employers in the public sector need to emphasise work-life balance in their employee value proposition and walk the talk, especially at senior levels. Government roles often involve working on large-scale projects with wide-ranging impacts across the country, so employers should also show how candidates have an exciting opportunity to make a difference.” - Kathy Kostyrko, Director, Public Sector, Hays

While the top two drivers of attraction are the same order in 2017 as they were five years ago, candidates in government and defence now view them as somewhat less important – 19.4% ranked salary and compensation as number one in 2012 and this has now declined by just over 2%. Work-life balance attracted 15.7% of the vote five years ago but its value in the eyes of candidates has also declined by more than 2%. This suggests they are seeing a greater connection between the factors that influence their employment decisions. For example, if salary and career development opportunities are important to candidates, they may view a company’s reputation as a necessary factor. Company reputation moved up one place this year to number nine, while the importance of additional benefits jumped one spot to number 11.

The increased use and sophistication of the internet also enables candidates to become more aware of factors such as employer reputation, additional benefits and colleagues and co-workers. This may be having an impact on how a candidate perceives their importance, so employers would be wise to look at the bigger picture when it comes to attracting talent.

Younger workers (aged 18 - 24 years) are significantly underrepresented in government and defence. Only one in 20 people looking to work in the industry is under 25 compared to one in 10 of the total sample. 

About this research: The data points referred to on this page are drawn from the SEEK Laws of Attraction survey. For more information about the SEEK Laws of Attraction survey and the terms and conditions governing the use of this data, click here.

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