The tax office will welcome its largest intake of graduates as it prepares for a busy year ahead of growing government priorities.
The Australian Taxation Office will welcome nearly 450 new graduates to the workforce in 2021, with 39 of them based in Canberra, figures provided to The Canberra Times reveal.
The 445 graduates, who commenced work in early February, will work within six different streams across taxation, analytics, information technology, human resources, design and marketing communications.
This year's intake marks a major increase on 2020's figure of 352 graduates and is more than double the intake of 2019's program, which was 171 graduates.
The tax agency said the surge was in response to a number of new priorities from the government, including a tax-avoidance initiative.
"The increase in numbers on previous years is in response to our Operational Workforce planning, ensuring continued delivery of ATO services to the community and implementation of a number of key government priorities such as the Tax Avoidance Taskforce," an ATO spokesperson said.
Female graduates represented 47 per cent of 2021's cohort, an increase of 4 per cent on the previous year's figures.
The highest level of education for 77 per cent of the graduates was a bachelor's degree, with 12 per cent having completed their honours. Ten per cent had a master's degree, and 0.5 per cent had a PhD.
The Community and Public Sector Union urged the public service to expand its graduate and entry-level pathways in a pre-budget submission in October 2020.
The union said it was needed more than ever following the economic impact of the pandemic on youth unemployment, and expanding graduate programs could create thousands of new jobs.
"Employment outcomes for young Australians never recovered to pre-Global Financial Crisis levels and it will only worsen without direct Commonwealth action," the submission said.
"Any expansion of the [graduate] program could be used to increase this percentage with a focus on regional Australia and smaller capital cities."
Last year, the tax office found itself responsible for administering a number of the government's COVID-19 stimulus response programs, including the JobKeeper and JobMaker schemes.
It told staff working within the Economic Stimulus Branch on Thursday that it would begin winding back the workforce that swelled to take on the increased workload, with hundreds of staff returning to previous roles from March when JobKeeper finishes.
No job losses are expected, with non-ongoing employees expected to be redeployed to other priority areas.
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