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Professionals rank the employment appeal of prime contractors

Defence industry professionals have identified the top 20 prime contractors by employment attractiveness as part of the second Australian Defence Industry Report.

Defence industry professionals have identified the top 20 prime contractors by employment attractiveness as part of the second Australian Defence Industry Report.

Defence Connect can now reveal the top 20 prime contractors ranked by employment attractiveness among industry professionals, with survey respondents asked the question, “If you ever decide to work at a prime, which primes would you most likely consider?”

Respondents had the option of selecting up to five options out of a total 36 large defence businesses.


Conducted between 1 September and 17 November 2023, Defence Connect’s second annual Australian Defence Industry Report captures insights into the experiences, attitudes, and perceptions of Australia’s defence industry professionals and their work with prime contractors and the Commonwealth.

Topics assessed include invoice settlement, collaboration, communication and project management, global supply chain opportunities, knowledge transfer, and transparency.

The 2023 survey received a usable sample of 801 active defence industry participants.

According to the survey, the top 20 defence contractors by employment appeal out of a total of 36 are as follows:

  1. BAE Systems Australia – 28 per cent
  2. Lockheed Martin Australia – 24 per cent
  3. Boeing Defence Australia – 22 per cent
  4. None of the above – 20 per cent
  5. Thales Australia – 19 per cent
  6. Raytheon Australia – 14 per cent
  7. SAAB Australia – 14 per cent
  8. Babcock Australasia – 10 per cent
  9. Northrop Grumman Australia – 10 per cent
  10. Hanwha Defense Australia – 9 per cent
  11. Rheinmetall Defence Australia – 9 per cent
  12. Nova Systems – 9 per cent
  13. NIOA – 8 per cent
  14. ASC – 8 per cent
  15. Downer Defence – 7 per cent
  16. L3Harris Technologies – 6 per cent
  17. KBR – 6 per cent
  18. Austal Limited – 5 per cent
  19. QinetiQ – 5 per cent
  20. Leidos – 5 per cent
  21. EOS – 5 per cent

“Last year’s Defence Strategic Review highlighted how ongoing workforce challenges will impact both the Australian Defence Force’s ability to project power and also the capacity for Australia’s industrial base to develop, produce, and deliver the equipment needed by our servicemen and women to keep us safe,” Defence Connect senior analyst and government relations manager Steve Kuper said.

“The defence sector has to continuously fight to ensure that it can attract and retain the best and brightest in industry.

“Defence Connect welcomes these findings, shining a spotlight on those businesses that stand out when people are searching for their next role.”

Defence Connect’s Australian Defence Industry Report also uncovered waning confidence in the sector, with one in three report respondents indicating that they had “little” to “no” confidence that their projects would continue unchanged over the coming year.

To assess this, survey participants were asked: “Considering the changing defence policy and investment landscape of the Australian government, do you have confidence that your existing or upcoming contracts will continue as planned over the next 12 months?”

Of the respondents, 11 per cent expressed “no confidence at all” and 23 per cent expressed “little confidence”.

Only 5 per cent responded that they were extremely confident and 20 per cent detailed that they were very confident.

To learn more about the report, please contact the director of Agile Market Intelligence Michael Johnson at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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