Water industry dominates ranks of Australia’s top graduate employers

Posted 27 March 2017

Graduate employers University graduates think the water industry is doing a decent job of nurturing new talent, with no fewer than fourteen Australian Water Association member organisations named among Australia's top graduate employers for 2017

Water Corporation topped the list for the water sector, coming in seventh nationally based on survey feedback gathered from graduates who have spent 12 months working with their respective organisations. 

Water Corporation's Corporate Human Services Manager Amanda Spiers said it was a great honour. 

“Water Corporation was ranked 15 out of 75 last year, so we are thrilled this year that even more graduates rated us as a top employer,” she said.

Spiers said there were a number of factors that made the difference between good graduate employers and great graduate employers.

“We offer graduates a number of experiences to gain practical experience during the three year program, as they work in three areas of our business relevant to their discipline in 12 month rotations,” she said.

“They also have access to networking and mentoring opportunities with the guidance and support from many of our senior employees.

“The week one induction program is always very well received by the graduates, as it includes site visits, an introduction to senior management and presentations from key branches. Some of these presentations are run by employees who have recently completed the graduate program, so they pass on valuable first-hand advice on what graduates can expect.”

Another company to achieve the accolade was Arup, which placed at 12th on the list for its Graduate Development Program

Australasia Water Skills Leader Therese Flapper said success started with “the right recruitment process – attracting and targeting those who share our Arup values and our culture”.

“As with all people, cultural alignment is the key to a great start with graduates. This is followed up with aligned technical and personal experience and development, including our Arup University and Arup Community Partnering opportunities,” Flapper said. 

She added that Arup aimed to empower and enable graduates from day one. 

“We invest in their development as people and not just engineers, scientists or economists and the like. Our graduates are connected across the business both in breadth and depth and sought out for their insight,” Flapper said. 

Other AWA members to make the top 75 were Victoria's Department of Environment, Land, Water & Planning (19), Telstra (20), Aurecon (26), KPMG (33), PwC (34), Sydney Water (35), ANZ (43), AECOM (46), Schneider Electric (51), GHD (57), Ashurst (59) and John Holland Group (63). 

For employers looking to improve their graduate program, Water Corporation's Spiers said it was important to look at the bigger picture.

“Ensure there is a strong commitment from senior management and develop placement opportunities for the graduates that are relevant, meaningful and offer the participants the opportunity to really make a difference,” she said. 

“When creating the program, consider what career paths are available to the graduates once they finish, making sure it is relevant to the contemporary job market. It also helps to keep connected and share knowledge with other graduate employers in the water industry around Australia.”