How to use the revised APS Work Level Standards

In 2013 the APSC published a revised set of Work Level Standards for APS Level and Executive Level classifications. The work level standards are general in nature, rather than providing an exhaustive list of responsibilities and duties for each classification level.

The WLS consist of two key elements: characteristics and functions. Characteristics are general statements about the broad job requirements and operating context for each classification level.

There are five key characteristics:

  • Leadership and accountability
  • Stakeholder management
  • Independence and decision making
  • Management diversity and span
  • Job context and environment.

Functions describe the typical duties and provide examples of the types of tasks and/or functions performed at each classification level. Five key functions are:

  • Service delivery
  • Program and project management
  • Policy
  • Regulatory
  • Professional/technical.

A Work Level Standards Differences document summarises some of the key responsibilities and requirements that differentiate each classification level from the others. For each classification level, the list describes what changes, either in new functions or increases in complexity. The factors that are listed in order to identify differences between classifications are:

  • Knowledge
  • Advice
  • Results
  • Planning
  • Innovation, change and business improvement
  • Risk management
  • Complexity
  • Legislation
  • Guidance
  • Decisions
  • Impact of decisions made
  • Research
  • Stakeholder relationships
  • Represent the agency
  • Supervision/management.

Applicants can use these two documents to:

  • Increase understanding of the level they are interested in so as to pitch their material appropriately.
  • Use their understanding of a level to better manage their career and position themselves for a promotion.
  • Better understand critical factors such as results, policy work, complexity, stakeholder relationships, leadership.
  • Check their experience against the examples so that responsibilities and results listed in resumes match the appropriate level.
Dr Ann Villiers, career coach, writer and author, is Australia’s only Mental Nutritionist specialising in mind and language practices that help people build flexible thinking, confident speaking and quality connections with people.