Defence may be looking for fewer young eyes for its units responsible for anti-terrorism and national security than last year, with new figures revealing the department has scaled back their recruitment target.
The department missed its graduate recruitment target by nearly 20 per cent last financial year and cuts this year include jobs for graduates employed to analyse classified satellite images and guard against cyber attacks.
New figures from last year's program reveal just eight in 10 – or 168 graduates – took up jobs out of 207 offers made in 2013-14.
Most of these – 64 people or 38 per cent – were for intelligence and security graduates, the next wave of staff responsible for national security and defence against "sophisticated foreign hackers".
The Department of Defence website says graduates in the program were charged with helping combat the most "critical issues" facing the nation's security.
"Your work will cover critical issues including support to military operations, the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, terrorism, regional security, foreign military capabilities and weapons systems, cyber threats and defence-related technologies," the website reads.
The department has set its recruitment target for 2015 at a total of 198 graduates, down about 5 per cent.
A departmental spokesman said opportunities at private companies were serious competition, snapping up some of the best and brightest tech wizards and analytical brains.
"The recruitment target to which defence aims is not always met, due for example, competition from other organisations for the same skill sets," he said.
The remainder of the graduates employed in 2013-14 took roles deciding where Defence should spend its money, general management and logistics, engineering roles and IT support.
Sixty enrolled through the Defence Pathways grad program, 42 took up offers in the Defence Materiel Graduate Scheme and just two obtained positions in the navy's Civilian Engineer Development program.