100-year-old companies are not often described as technological adopters, innovators and leaders. But then Telstra – the public-turned-private institution that has been connecting Australians since 1901 – isn’t your average century-old organisation.
And today, we’ll be looking at what life is like on the inside – the hows, whats and whys of a Telstra career.
As a tech professional, you know that nothing quite compares to being at the leading edge of innovation. And as one of Australia’s biggest companies, Telstra employees are afforded the opportunity to work with the world’s foremost telecommunications technology, and with the knowledge that their efforts will make the lives of everyday Australians better.
So let’s take a closer look at Telstra as an employer, and find out what life within this iconic company is really like.
An Australian institution
In telling the story of Telstra, we essentially tell the story of Australia. The first official body tasked with controlling Australian telecommunications, and therefore the genesis of Telstra, was the Postmaster-General’s Department (PMG). This was formed in 1901, following Australian Federation. PMG controlled Australian telecoms until 1975, when Telecom Australia, a telecom-exclusive body, was set up to concentrate on doing the one job well.
In 1993, following pressures caused by the need to connect internationally, Telstra was established out of Telecom Australia. Over the next two decades the Australian government slowly sold off its majority stake, unloading the last of its shares in 2011 and giving us the fully-privatised Telstra that we know today – a true technological innovator, and a historic, unwavering service provider all rolled into one.
Over the last few decades Telstra has been charged with bringing Australian businesses and individuals into the digital age, and it will continue to carry this responsibility into the future. As the owner of both Australia’s largest mobile network and large swathes of Australia’s internet infrastructure, Telstra must continue to bring the latest telecommunications innovations to the country, lest our economy and its businesses be left behind. It’s no small task, and it’s one that Telstra takes incredibly seriously, with the company forever on the hunt for the finest tech talent to help it progress.
So, what of these vital cogs within the Telstra machine? Why should you, a top tech professional, see Telstra as an employer of choice?
Working at Telstra
With over 30,000 employees spread across not just Australia, but the globe, Telstra is one of the country’s biggest employers. While many of these positions are customer-facing (in Telstra’s extensive network of shopfronts and sizeable customer service centres), many more are tech focused, tasked with continuing the organisation’s evolution and solving the problems that telecommunication giants inevitably face.
What do you need to know about a Telstra career? In this article The Martec outlined 11 of the most enticing reasons for tech professionals to choose a career with Telstra. Staff enjoy:
- Employee benefits: 25% off Telstra products and services, as well as heavy discounts on the products and services of partnered companies – everything from tech to travel.
- Innovative graduate programs: Students from a wide range of fields are linked up with the part of the company that will best foster their professional growth.
- On-the-job mentoring: Telstra takes a 70:20:10 approach to skill development – 70 percent is on-the-job experience, 20 percent is fostering relationships and networking opportunities, and 10 percent is formal training with a mentor.
- A focus on diversity: Employing a dedicated Diversity Inclusion Lead, Telstra has set the diversity standard amongst Australian businesses, and all opportunities at the company are resolutely equal.
- Support for women: With just one in five STEM jobs currently filled by women in Australia, Telstra has committed to industry-leading minimum quotas into the future.
- LGBTI+ friendly: By publicly supporting same sex marriage, Telstra made a brave call on a polarising topic. The company’s LGBTI+ inclusion initiatives see it ranked as one of the top employers on the Australian Workplace Equality Index.
- The disability action plan: Telstra has committed to providing ongoing employment opportunities to those living with a disability. Specialised equipment and computer programs are available to those who need them.
- Travel opportunities: As the company spreads across the globe, Telstra offers certain employees unmatched opportunities to travel.
- Succession planning: Leaders within Telstra actively learn about the aspirations of employees, and sculpt both short-term and long-term opportunities within the business that suit.
- Prioritising health: Committed to keeping its workers healthy and happy, Telstra offers a wealth of mental and physical health programs and discounts with health industry partners.
- Community support: Telstra has a proud history of social responsibility, continued to this day through its sustainability agenda.
Glassdoor reviews of Telstra as an employer – which number around 1000 – are largely positive, with the majority of respondents saying that they’d recommend Telstra as a workplace to friends. Read what current and former Telstra employees say about the company here.
A view from the inside
But why read when you can watch instead?
As a Data Scientist in Telstra’s Big Data Analytics division, Colette Marais enjoys a multifaceted role. “My days are very varied. Some days are incredibly deep and technical, where I sit all day looking through data, writing code and building models, and other days I spend with different parts of the business trying to understand what their problems are, and working with engineers and architects on solutions.” With AI and machine learning currently sitting at the top of the Telstra priority list, Marais gets to work in an exciting space that is bursting with possibility.
She describes her team as not what you’d expect from a giant, established company. ”We have quite a start-up attitude. We’re constantly trying to innovate, but we have the support of a large organisation, so you don’t have that extreme pressure and financial strain that you would have in a start-up.”
You can hear more from Marais, including her take on why Telstra should be the employer of choice for Australian data scientists, in the following interview:
Justin Spyridis, part of the Consumer Product Engineering division of Telstra’s Networks Team, finds himself responsible for developing IoT (internet of things) specific enterprise products. His is a collaborative role that relies on multiple departments, from Products to CTO, working together. This collaboration is encapsulated in the culture of the team. “I know,” says Spyridis, “we use that word [collaborative] all the time, but there’s really no single point of failure in the team. Everyone helps each other. People have their own projects that they work on, but I’ll walk into a project meeting and there’ll be an architect helping another architect, or two analysts helping each other out.”
When asked to offer advice to potential Telstra interviewees, Spyridis emphasizes that while it’s not easy work, it is terrifically stimulating and rewarding. “It’s a really collaborative environment. Candidates would need to be very comfortable being in a social, highly engaged environment. IoT is a new domain, and there’s a lot of interest in it; it’s a busy space, but it’s an exciting space. Show passion, be excited – IoT is going to touch every aspect of Telstra.”
To learn more about Telstra’s plans for the IoT space, and how you could potentially fit into them, check out Spyridis’ entire interview:
Career paths within Telstra
‘To create a brilliant connected future for everyone.’ Telstra’s stated mission is one that those inside the four walls of the company take seriously. With resources and opportunity far from lacking, the sky’s the limit for Telstra and its team. This presents workers with both the motivation to keep innovating, and the satisfaction of knowing that good work will make a real difference.
The major benefit of working within such an expansive organisation is opportunity. As Australia’s largest telco and media company, Telstra boasts positions across the entire tech spectrum – no matter what your specific tech qualification, it’s more than likely that Telstra has a corresponding role. There are also a wide variety of roles available across Australia, and in much of the world – currently Telstra is looking to fill positions in no less than 18 global locations.
As such, Telstra attracts some of Australia’s top tech talent. Recently listed by The Martec as one of the 50 Tech Companies in Australia Everyone Wants to Work for Right Now, it’s perhaps not surprising that Telstra proves such a honey trap for great minds.
While careers can be forged in the many customer-service, marketing and sales positions generated by a business that has fingers in the retail and B2B pies, the tech careers Telstra are perhaps its most sought after and exciting. These include:
- Digital: Web Design, Development, UX, Testing, Quality Assurance and Digital Transformation.
- Technical: Application Software Engineering, Network Engineering, Network Security, Product Design and System Design.
- Strategic: Business Analytics, Data Analytics & Management, Project Management and Strategy & Business Transformation.
Like any company that commits serious resources to training, upskilling and developing their staff in-house, Telstra prefers to promote internally, although senior roles are often openly advertised.
Salaries at Telstra
Glassdoor has recorded the following average salaries for some of the most in-demand tech roles within Telstra, which are accompanied by the average salary for that position across all Australian companies.
- Business Analyst: $86K (Australian average: $82K)
- Project Manager: $110K (Australian average: $103K)
- Technology Specialist: $85K (Australian average: $83K)
- Technical Specialist: $81K (Australian average: $84K)
- Product Manager: $120K (Australian average: $101K)
- Solution Architect: $137K (Australian average: $125K)
- Technical Consultant: $88K (Australian average: $82K)
- Network Engineer: $95K (Australian average: $76K)
- IT Manager: $153K (Australian average: $100K)
It should be noted that while these averages indicate that Telstra generally pays over the Australian average for the listed positions, the location of these jobs has a dramatic effect on both the salary a worker receives, and the average that they should compare themselves against. An IT Manager in Hobart, for example, should not expect the same salary as an IT Manager in Melbourne (where Telstra is headquartered).
The Telstra offices
With major offices in every Australian capital, the Telstra in-office experience will differ from city to city. From the 47 floors that make up Melbourne’s Telstra Corporate Centre (the company’s HQ), to the small offices and stores found in regional centres across the country, the workspaces are as broad and diverse as you’d expect from one of Australia’s largest companies.
One element that almost all offices share is an open and airy atmosphere, with a wealth of glass allowing as much natural light in as possible. The company’s latest rebrand, a lesson in minimalism and personality, sees the Telstra logo being displayed in every colour under the sun, a decision meant to “reflect the energy, diversity and emotion that customers experience when all the different parts of their lives are better connected.” This move has meant that offices don’t share a universal colour scheme, giving each a distinctive feel.
The Martec had the pleasure of touring Telstra’s Sydney head office, and you can see snapshots of that visit here.
Open jobs at Telstra
Are you a tech professional looking to take the next step in your career? Do you feel as though you align with the Telstra philosophy, and would enjoy working with Australia’s biggest telco? Here is just a taste of the roles that the company is trying to fill right now:
- Agile Coach
- Business Improvement Lead
- Data Scientist – Belong
- General Accounting Analyst
- Manager – HSWE Governance & Strategy
- Marketing Campaign Analyst
- Product Specialist
- Senior Systems Engineer
- Workplace Experience Coordinator
- Analytics Specialist (Business Analyst)
- Cloud Developer
- Customer Experience Researcher
- Data Engineer
- Network Engineer
- Product Owner
- Project Coordinator
- S2P Process Architect
- Senior Visual Designer (UX)