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Thank you for considering a career with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.
The department’s purpose is to help make Australia stronger, safer and more prosperous by promoting and protecting our interests internationally and contributing to global stability and economic growth.
The department provides foreign, trade and development policy advice to the government. We work with other government agencies to ensure that Australia's pursuit of its global, regional and bilateral interests is coordinated effectively.
To carry out this mandate, the department employs over 4,000 people on a permanent basis, of whom about 800 are serving overseas at any one time. We also employ a large number of locally engaged staff at our overseas missions.
The department operates in a complex and highly dynamic international environment. We look for, and value in our employees:
DFAT provides rewarding career opportunities across a wide range of policy, service delivery and corporate management work. For example, we encourage economists to apply for policy vacancies at all levels. Whether working with one of our two Chief Economists, negotiating trade agreements, managing an aid program to help to advance developing country economies, working on trade policy and investment issues, on a bilateral economic desk or at an embassy or high commission overseas providing analysis of other countries’ economies, there are great opportunities to use economics expertise in work at DFAT. We are looking for economists to bring an understanding of Australia’s national interests to economic analysis.
We also encourage applications from candidates interested in legal work. In addition to specialised legal work in commercial, administrative and international law, there are opportunities to utilise legal skills and experience in work across the organisation. For example, our corporate legal team provides advice on contracts, employment law and diplomatic privileges and immunities and manages litigation in Australia and overseas. Our international legal areas work on a wide range of bilateral and multilateral legal issues, including on international trade matters, law of the sea and international human rights.
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There are several different avenues for entering the department. Each year, we conduct several general recruitment rounds, as well as ad hoc specialist rounds.
Our graduate program is a popular avenue for graduates who have completed a degree in the last five years.
We also recruit Indigenous graduates and trainees.
We employ non-ongoing (temporary) employees to fill short-term vacancies in Canberra and our State and Territory offices.
It is also possible to work for an Australian embassy, high commission or consulate overseas by responding to one of their 'locally engaged staff' (LES) vacancy advertisements. All LES recruitment is managed by the relevant post and vacancies are advertised on individual posts’ websites.
The department manages an overseas network of over 100 embassies, high commissions, consulates-general and multilateral missions. Some of these are large missions with more than 100 Australian-based staff including staff from attached agencies such as Treasury or the Department of Defence. Others are small, some with just one or two Australian-based staff.
Ongoing (permanent) employees of the department can apply for overseas postings, which are usually for a period of three years. Employees are not required to go on postings, although for most officers postings are an integral part of their service with the department.
Working overseas is one of the most interesting and challenging parts of a DFAT employee's career. Overseas service provides unique professional and personal opportunities, which most staff and their families find extremely rewarding.
However, there are a number of factors relating to overseas service that potential employees should carefully consider before contemplating a career with DFAT. Issues to consider are:
See our current jobs list, log-in to continue your application or check the status of selection processes.