Finance department takes 2% of public service graduate job applicants

There is as much chance randomly picking the queen of hearts from a deck of cards as there is scoring a graduate position at the Department of Finance. 

Hopefuls wanting a graduate gig at the department known for its hunting culture have a 2 per cent chance of getting picked for the job.

An answer to a question on notice shows 25 people scored a position at Finance out of 1025 applicants in the latest graduate intake for 2014.

But the chances of securing a graduate gig at Finance as anybody trying to crack into the lower echelons of the Australian Electoral Commission, which only takes 1 per cent of its applicants for graduate gigs. 

"One in a 100 is very close to the probability that if four people are in a room, two of them will have the same birthday," said Mike Clapper, executive director of the Australian Mathematics Trust at the University of Canberra. 

"Of course, probability plays a role, though I am sure ability also has some influence."


The managing director of Cantlie recruitment, Keith Cantlie,said the graduate intake was still vitally important to Canberra as it attracted talent to the territory who might maintain links with the ACT for many years. 

He said hopefuls could increase their chances by showing how they will fit into the specific organisation's culture, such as showing they have the ability to develop cost models or the skill to write well. 

"It's not all about your highest [academic] grade," Mr Cantlie said.

"Finance would be a fast pace because it's a central agency and from an academic point of view they would be looking for people who can get their minds around issues quickly."

In May, former department head Don Russell described the Finance Department as having a "hunting culture" because it was so focussed on finding savings