What does a policy officer do?

A policy officer contributes to the development and review of policies and provides information to internal and external stakeholders about policies and procedures. In developing policies they may do research, undertake surveys, coordinate feedback from others and be involved in other community engagement and consultative processes. They also prepare papers, reports, submissions, briefs as well as policy materials on behalf of their organisation.


  • Develop, implement and review policies
  • Collaborate with other staff and external stakeholders
  • Write reports, briefs, submissions and other documents
  • Provide policy advice to staff and stakeholders
  • Assemble, interpret and analyse information

What skills do I need to be a policy officer?

A policy officer needs to be a detail-oriented person with strong skills in writing and spoken communication. They should have strong research and analytical skills, as well as the ability to think critically, solve problems, negotiate effectively and work with autonomy. Strong report writing skills are essential, as is the ability to work in an environment that can be political at times, with competing demands and objectives. Teamwork and customer service skills are also important.

  • Excellent written and spoken communication skills
  • Great organisation
  • Attention to detail
  • Negotiating skills
  • Strong numeracy


Policy officers typically work in the public sector in local, state/territory and commonwealth government organisations, but can also be found in the not-for-profit sector as well as in large businesses.

Public sector policy officers

Policy officers typically work in the public sector in all levels of government, in areas including health, social services, employment, agriculture, Indigenous affairs, trade, technology, transport, arts and entertainment, foreign affairs, taxation and finance, immigration, economic development, urban planning, regional development, law enforcement, sport and defence.

Not-for-profit sector policy officers

These roles can be found in the not-for-profit sector including advocacy groups, sports and arts organisations, research institutes, social and welfare service providers, environmental organisations and charities.

Private sector policy officers

Opportunities exist in the private sector for policy officers in large businesses across a range of industries including banking and financial services, insurance, law, business consulting organisations, manufacturing, energy, transport, health and education. They are also needed in peak industry bodies representing the private sector.

Study pathways for policy officers

Many policy officers have general degrees like arts or science, but a qualification in political science or public policy and management can be advantageous.

Getting Started

An undergraduate degree in art, science, a particular specialisation, or political science or public policy.

Skill Building

Many public sector organisations have roles open to new graduates through comprehensive graduate programs with excellent training.

Professional Development

There are courses available to help policy officers refresh or hone skills in areas like government framework or report writing.

Industry Recognition

Policy officers in Australia are required to attain professional tertiary accreditation. Find out more about the professional requirements of the https://studyselect.com.au/business-administration-courses/ industry in the resources section.

Getting a job after graduation

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Job Prospects and Salaries

The growth in work for policy officers has been average over the last five years, and is only expected to grow moderately in the near future.