Mythbusting at ASIS.

A real secret intelligence agency is very different to what you might have seen portrayed in film and literature. Sure, there are a couple of similarities – the work is exciting, fast-paced and involves the latest technology – but there are also plenty of misconceptions about what our work actually involves.

Myth: ASIS only hires spies.

Intelligence officers are crucial to what we do. But running an organisation takes so many different skillsets, many of which you wouldn’t normally associate with secret intelligence. Just like any other Australian Public Service organisation, ASIS engages a number of highly motivated, knowledgeable and capable individuals to fill a variety of corporate roles. From Finance, HR, Psychology, Training or Corporate Policy and Governance etc, each role is critical to the success of our operations, with corporate officers applying their knowledge and expertise in a challenging environment where, due to the nature of our organisation, traditional solutions do not always apply.  
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Other common myths about working at ASIS.


If I work for ASIS I won’t have time for family - Not true. 

Our staff enjoy a healthy work/life balance with reasonable working hours, along with a range of flexible work hour arrangements such as flex time for APS Level 2 - 6, time off in lieu for EL1-EL2s, compressed hours and carers leave to care for immediate family members. There's also maternity and paternity leave and policies to support new parents. A further range of support mechanisms and allowances are also provided to staff working overseas with families. A large portion of our staff have family or carer responsibilities. 

It is a dangerous job - Not true. 

The vast majority of roles at ASIS are extremely safe. 

Some officers may choose to work in high-threat locations, however this is certainly not mandatory, and proper training and ongoing support is always provided. In these scenarios, ASIS will never tell its officers to do something they're uncomfortable with, or if we feel that the risk is too high.

Working at ASIS does come with some risk in a sense that if people publicly know you work for the department, you could become of interest to our adversaries – it’s why we ask employees to be discreet about their roles.  


If I take a job with ASIS I will work for ASIS all my life - Not true. 

While it’s always a shame when someone decides to move on, rest assured that you will have developed skills that are highly sought after by employers and transferable between careers.  

Previous ASIS employees have transitioned into a wide scope of careers locally and internationally including roles in academia and think tanks, roles in international non­-government organisations, crisis coordination and management, small business owners, law enforcement and other government departments. 

I can’t tell anyone where I work - Not true.  

Keeping our staff safe is a huge priority, and as a result, we ask all employees to be discreet about their association with ASIS – especially during the application process.   

Once you are employed, you'll be able to discuss the process of telling someone (spouse or family member) of your employment with ASIS.


I need to speak a foreign language - Not true. 

Although it is often beneficial, you will not be disadvantaged if you do not speak a foreign language. 

Language training is provided for officers working in positions where language proficiency is necessary to achieve your work objectives. Being paid to study a language and immerse yourself in other cultures is actually one of the many great parts of the job!