The majority of positions in the department are designated as generalist positions, which means that no particular technical skill (e.g. accounting, legal expertise) is required and the position can be filled by any otherwise qualified officer at the corresponding level. For generalist positions the department recruits to level, i.e. APS4 to SES Band 3, rather than to specific vacancies. These selection rounds are used to fill a number of positions at a time, across various areas of the department.
Generalist staff can perform, during their career with the department, a number if not all of the following types of duties, both in Australia and overseas:
- development and implementation of foreign or trade policy, including country or region political and economic analyses
- provision of advice to the Government, in particular the Minister for Foreign Affairs and the Minister for Trade, about international strategic, political, economic and trade issues, or treaties and other international legal matters
- provision of advice or services to the department's clients, such as other foreign governments, other areas of the Australian Public Service and the Australian public
- liaising and negotiating on behalf of the department and representing the department or the Government at meetings, conferences or seminars
- provision of media liaison and public affairs support, including contributing to the enhancement of Australia's image overseas
- provision of corporate enabling services such as financial management, human resource management and property management, or administrative support
- delivery of passports and consular services
- management of security for the department's information, staff and property.
DFAT periodically requires staff with particular expertise, professional knowledge, skills or experience. Specialist vacancies are advertised throughout the year as needs arise. Examples include:
- nuclear safeguards officers
- economic/trade specialists
- information technology staff
Staff recruited to specialist positions are required to remain in the position for a minimum of three years before they are eligible to apply for placement in another area of the department or for a posting overseas.
Some positions are designated as ‘professional specialists’. These positions require highly specialised skill sets that are not readily transferable to other roles in the department. Professional specialists are required to remain in the position to which they are recruited for the duration of their employment with the department. Examples of professional specialist positions include:
- medical doctors
- staff counsellors (social workers or psychologists)
- Chief Finance Officer
- Chief Information Officer
We also engage non-ongoing (temporary) employees to fill short-term vacancies from time to time. The duration of a non-ongoing vacancy may range from a week to several months. Positions that are available for a period longer than 12 months are advertised in the Public Service Gazette.
The majority of the department's non-ongoing vacancies are filled from the department's temporary employment register which is managed by our HR services provider, Clarius. For information on how to register for non-ongoing employment please email email@example.com or call Clarius on (02) 6260 7533.
Locally engaged staff employment
Individual Australian embassies, high commissions and consulates overseas periodically employ locally engaged staff (LES) to undertake research, administrative and other support roles. All LES vacancies are advertised on the website of the relevant embassy, high commissions or consulates and all enquiries about these positions should be made directly to the relevant mission.
Locally engaged staff do not have diplomatic or consular status, privileges or immunity. Wages and conditions of service for LES positions are based on local labour laws and local labour market conditions. Prospective applicants need to demonstrate that they are eligible to work by meeting the local citizenship and/or visa requirements. The department does not fund relocation costs for LES positions.