AWU: National Economist and Policy Director

Australian Workers Union

As the nation’s oldest blue-collar trade union representing thousands of working Australians, The Australian Workers’ Union is seeking a National Economist and Policy Director based in our National Office in Sydney.

We are a diverse union representing workers in a range of industries across all States and Territories. Getting the best outcome for our members is at the heart of what we do. Our members work in:

  • heavy manufacturing (steel, aluminium, copper, building materials and more)
  • civil construction
  • agriculture and aquaculture
  • metals mining and oil & gas extraction
  • chemicals & fertilizers
  • forestry
  • a diverse range of further industries

Position Description

The AWU National Economist is a diverse role that works closely with government and industry to:

  • secure better outcomes for AWU members through government policy
  • track market and policy issues affecting the companies AWU members work for.

In this role, you’ll be working directly with decision-makers to help develop effective policy that protects and grows AWU members’ jobs, on critical issues such as:

  • climate, energy and environment
  • industry policy
  • procurement
  • trade
  • migration
  • apprentices & training.

On an average day, you could be briefing union officials on economic and political events, advocating to Ministers and their staff, providing economic evidence to the Fair Work Commission, steering our long-term policy agenda on future industry technologies like hydrogen, critical minerals and green steel, or representing and advancing the AWU’s and the union movement’s interests within the ALP and government.

 Other key responsibilities and tasks include: 

  • Industry liaison and consultation– regular consultation with government relations personnel and other executives at large AWU employers and financial institutions
  • Political liaison and consultation– regular consultation with staff in Federal and state parliaments as well as in the public service
  • Union liaison and consultation – maintain working relationships with key personnel across other unions and union associations. This includes taking part in working groups and at times preparing material to ensure the union movement’s public policy advocacy remains consistent with those issues that affect AWU members.
  • Preparing reports– writing, coordinating, and commissioning reports in various policy areas for the purposes of submissions to parliamentary and government inquiries, as well as for general public policy advocacy purposes.
  • Economic and financial information support for internal organisers– providing company-level information to assist organisers in enterprise bargaining negotiations.
  • Appointment on committees/boards – working as an appointee and guiding other union appointees on various government and non-government working groups and committees, such as the International Trade Remedies Forum and Jobs and Skills Australia working groups.

Desired Skills and Experience

The successful candidate will have:

  • Undergraduate tertiary qualifications
  • Experience as an economist working in public policy development, in government, industry or an NGO
  • Have a good understanding of the policy development process within government
  • Minimum 3 years analytical experience in a complex industry/organisation
  • Ability to analyse, interpret and synthesise quantitative data from multiple sources
  • Ability to identify and analyse issues and develop appropriate strategies
  • Ability to develop strategic messaging and communicate complex policy issues effectively in verbal and written forms
  • Strong relationship building skills
  • Prior political exposure will be highly regarded.


An attractive salary and other generous conditions will be offered depending on experience.


To apply for this position, please send your CV and a cover letter addressing the Position Description to AWU Operations Manager Mark Fagan using the subject heading ‘National Economist and Policy Director Application’. Applications close COB 25 September.

The ACTU Network

Australian Unions

Whether you want to join a union, take action in campaigns, or make the most of the benefits of being a union member, Australian Unions is the place to go for information and resources.
Visit Australian Unions

Mind Your Head

We’re taking action to protect workplace mental health.
Visit Mind Your Head


Your rights at work for students and for people entering the workforce for the first time.
Visit Worksite


Information and resources for health and safety representatives and workers about how to speak up at work for health and safety.
Visit OHS

Union Aid Abroad

Union Aid Abroad-APHEDA is the overseas aid and development agency of the ACTU. Our work aims to build self-reliance through support to educational and training projects for workers and their organisations in the developing world.
Visit Union Aid Abroad

ACTU National Union Directory

Find who you are looking for from the who’s who of the union movement.
Visit the ACTU National Union Dictionary
Australian Council of Trade Unions

Representing Australian workers and their families.