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Most graduates who get jobs in the Australian Public Service expect to be operating at the executive level within five years, according to new research.
A few rookie bureaucrats even fancy their chances of cracking the Senior Executive Service in that time period, the Australian Public Service Commission has found.
Most will not scale the lofty heights they dream of as quickly as they hope, but their chances are good of at least reaching the APS 6 level before five years are out and a lucky 30 per cent will attain their coveted EL status in that time.
The commission's research also shows the time-honoured annual influx of bright young things to Canberra is alive and well.
Despite the increased decentralisation of the federal bureaucracy, most graduates will still have to move to the capital to take up their postings.
Almost all of the Australian Public Service's 10 biggest employers have hired more grads for the coming year than in 2015, when the Abbott government's tight limits on recruitment were still in place.
The turnaround is welcome news for the ACT, where the unemployment rate has grown relatively quickly in recent years and the property and retail markets have been sluggish compared with elsewhere in Australia.
Last year's APS graduate program, which the service sees as an "important source of talented employees" and future "effective senior leaders", recruited fewer than 1000 employees for the first time since 2005.
The intake had shrunk in seven of the past eight years.
The class of 2015 might have been small, but its members were certainly thinking big, according to the Public Service Commission's latest graduate survey.
"Assuming they remain in the APS for the next five years, graduates most commonly expect to secure an Executive Level 1 role," the report notes.
About 5 per cent are have their sights set even higher, confident of breaking into the ranks of the elite Senior Executive Service within five years.
But not all dreams come true, the commission found.
"Almost 30 per cent of graduates reach this level within five years, while around 40 per cent reach the APS 6 level," the report says.
The commission had good news for Canberra's labour market, and for the city's residential landlords, finding that three quarters of the public service's graduate intake started work in the capital.
"In 2014-15, 73 per cent of graduates took up positions in the ACT," the report notes.
"Rather than being limited to the local Canberra labour market, the graduate programs drew people from further afield.
"In 2014-15, 64 per cent of ACT-based graduates had moved from interstate.
"The fact that such a high proportion of graduates were willing to relocate to take up a position may speak positively about the employment value proposition offered by the APS."
Outside of the ACT, though the class of 2015 was a lot less willing to move their lives around the country in pursuit of a place in a graduate program.
"While the numbers were too small to examine other states individually, only 30 per cent of non-ACT based graduates had moved interstate to take up the position," the report states.
"Once again, this demonstrates that the recruitment patterns of APS agencies changes from region to region."