Employing veterans in the Victorian Public Sector

If you’re an employer in the Victorian Public Sector, find out what skills and experience veterans can bring to your team.

If you’re an employer in the Victorian Public Sector (VPS), find out what skills and experience veterans can bring to your team.

Australian Defence Force (ADF) personnel gain a wealth of practical experience operating in potentially stressful and arduous environments, or working long hours in time critical situations.

I worked in HR in the Health Sector for many years and over that time I have seen and recruited numerous ex-ADF personnel to roles, including executive and management roles in which they have been very successful. So when recruiting I am always aware that ex-ADF candidates are already extremely well trained and motivated to succeed and always seem to be able to get their staff onside.

Judy Leggatt
HR Manager, Public Sector

What veterans can bring to your team

  • While media suggests some veterans need support, most transition well to make a positive contribution - socially and economically to their community.
  • ADF personnel have worked in mixed military/civilian environments and are highly adaptable and agile.
  • The ADF selection process is highly competitive and thorough.
  • Ongoing education and training is a requirement of ADF service and for progression through the ranks.

Veteran attributes


Veterans are used to changing locations, environments, situations and approaches to problems. They have the potential to readily adapt to changing needs and requirements.


Improved resilience due to service requirements means veterans can manage and meet numerous deadlines under pressure. Resilience is a key component of military training.

Problem solving and initiative

They will take initiative in most situations. A veteran will see a problem, consider how to solve it and act without needing direction.

Strong communication     

Defence requires clear and concise communication, both written and verbally. Veterans can structure communication logically and clearly, and can readily adapt communication styles to suit diverse audiences.

Security awareness

This encompasses security of personal belongings, work equipment, information and the workplace. They are very conscious of sensitive information and will protect it accordingly.

Teamwork and leadership

All ADF personnel are instilled with the importance of teamwork and will have experience working in diverse teams throughout their career. Leadership is experienced from the beginning of service, understudying those above them to learn and be ready to lead when the opportunity arises.

ADF culture and environment

  • Defence, like all other Government departments has a high degree of governance and administrative tasks.
  • There is constant planning and collaboration whilst in the ADF, requiring clear and consistent communication.
  • ADF personnel constantly recognise the achievements of the team above self, and often refer to ‘we’ or ‘the team’ in interviews or applications.

Understanding ADF ranks

Familiarise yourself with the ADF rank structure, noting that rank does not simply translate to VPS grades. 

Here’s a basic summary of how a veteran may list their role and what it means.

  • Soldier/Sailor/Airman or Airwoman - is a junior rank and the bulk of the workforce.
  • Non-Commissioned Officer - responsible for supervising a small team or a number of small teams, and can be a junior or senior.
  • Warrant Officer - a senior leader with extensive experience. Also a technical expert and responsible for standards, conduct and assisting achievement of strategic perspective.
  • Officer - a person specially selected and trained in command, leadership  and management.

We’ve also provided more detail about each ADF rank and equivalent across the Navy, Army and Air Force.

Senior Officers

These are executive level positions equivalent to Senior VPS roles. They have usually served multiple decades in the ADF. 


  • Admiral
  • Vice Admiral
  • Rear Admiral
  • Commodore
  • Captain


  • General
  • Lieutenant General
  • Major General
  • Brigadier
  • Colonel

Air Force

  • Air Chief Marshal
  • Air Marshal
  • Air Vice-Marshal
  • Air Commodore
  • Group Captain

Junior and Mid Ranking Officers

These positions are equivalent to Middle Management. They take strategic direction to produce operational outcomes. They’re experienced in command, leadership and management.


  • Commander
  • Lieutenant Commander
  • Lieutenant
  • Sub Lieutenant
  • Acting Sub Lieutenant
  • Midshipman


  • Lieutenant Colonel
  • Major
  • Captain
  • Lieutenant
  • 2nd Lieutenant

Air Force

  • Wing Commander
  • Squadron Leader
  • Flight Lieutenant
  • Flying Officer
  • Pilot Officer
  • Officer Cadet

Senior Non-Commissioned and Warrant Officers

Technical specialists who provide advice to senior leaders. They’re equivalent to a Supervisor position and capable of leading a number of teams. 


  • Warrant Officer of the Navy
  • Warrant Officer
  • Chief Petty Officer
  • Petty Officer


  • Regimental Sergeant Major of the Army
  • Warrant Officer Class 1
  • Warrant Officer Class 2
  • Staff Sergeant
  • Sergeant

Air Force

  • Warrant Officer of the Air Force
  • Warrant Officer
  • Flight Sergeant
  • Sergeant

Junior Enlisted Ranks

They make up most of the ADF workforce and deliver daily tasks. They’re proven junior leaders who can be responsible for small teams.


  • Leading Seaman
  • Able Seaman
  • Seaman


  • Corporal or Bombardier
  • Lance Corporal or Lance Bombardier
  • Private

Air Force

  • Corporal
  • Leading Aircraftman or Aircraftwoman
  • Aircraftman or Aircraftwoman
  • Non-Commissioned Officer Cadet

We’d like to hear from you

How we can: 

  • improve the experience for veterans and employers by better understanding their skills and diversity
  • share stories of veterans working in your team

Share your thoughts

Glossary of ADF terms

If you come across unfamiliar terms or phrases in veteran job applications, please email:

Case studies - meet veterans working in the VPS

Reviewed 24 March 2020

Veterans support and commemoration

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