Reservists in the ADF and the Workplace

Reservists are a fundamental part of the Australian Defence Force (ADF) and assist safeguard the security and national interests of Australia.

ADF reservists are proud and loyal Australians who come from all backgrounds to add a new dimension to their lives through part-time military service. They come from the private, public and not-for-profit sectors and many are students undertaking tertiary studies. They balance their civilian lifestyle with their part-time role in the ADF.   

Reservists serve in a variety of roles in the Navy, Army or Air Force, where they join as initial recruits in trade-qualified and professional service positions or with no experience. Full-time ADF personnel can also transition to part-time reserve service.

Reservists serve alongside their full-time counterparts on all Defence exercises and operations. They also assist in securing Australia’s national borders and make a valuable contribution to the local community, providing assistance and support following natural disasters and in emergency rescue operations.

Reservists are valuable assets to Defence and their civilian workplace bringing self-discipline, focus, leadership, teamwork and world-class training into any civilian role.

Total Workforce System

The ADF Total Workforce System provides Defence with the flexibility and agility it needs to meet current and future workforce demands.

The system recognises that there is a life outside the ADF. It features a structure of service categories (SERCATs) and service options (SERVOPs) to help individuals achieve the right balance between their personal commitments and service responsibilities. Reservists are in SERCAT 2 through to SERCAT 5.  

For more information on the total workforce system you can visit pay and conditions.


Return to civilian work after deployment

Reservists returning from service may sometimes experience some challenges readjusting back to their civilian lifestyle. They may feel some discomfort with elements such as the sudden change in tempo, or the loss of regular access to people with shared experience.

There are many resources available to support reservists and their employers. A full list of support services can be found on our ‘Useful Contacts Page’.

Last update: Monday, September 6, 2021

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