What it does: Supplies drinking water, recycled water, and sewerage services to residents and businesses in south-east Queensland.
Best known for: Serving 1.5 million customers as one of the largest water distributor-retailers in Australia. The company has a history that dates back to the 1860s. Each year, Urban Utilities supplies more than 136,000 ml of water and treats around 124,600 ml of sewage in south-east Queensland.
Staff stats: 1,100 employees
The good bits: Flexible working hours, a family-like work environment with supportive management, plenty of opportunities for career progression and great facilities.
The not-so-good bits: Sometimes moves slowly to make decisions depending on the department. Silo'd teams often mean that different teams are working on something not dissimilar. Hence the requirement for grads who are great communicators and great at building relationships.
On 1 July 2010, Urban Utilities was established as a statutory body under the South-East Queensland Water Act 2009, as well as a service provider under the Water Supply Act 2008. It services the councils of Ipswich, Scenic Rim, Brisbane, Somerset, and Lockyer Valley. Urban Utilities also operates the SAS Laboratory, which provides sampling services and microbiological and chemical analysis to a range of industries.
On 1 January 2013, South East Queensland's water industry was reformed under the South East Queensland Water and Other Legislation Amendment Act 2012. This restructuring merged three South East Queensland bulk water entities: Linkwater, Seqwater, and SEQ Water Grid Manager into one bulk water supplier named Seqwater. This newly formed entity was tasked with selling water to Urban Utilities, while Urban Utilities is responsible for delivering drinking, recycled, and other types of water to customers, charging for water and sewerage services, as well as collecting and treating sewage. Urban Utilities delivers these services via a $5.8 billion infrastructure network.
In 2018, Urban Utilities launched a new strategic direction, which involves playing a valued role in enhancing the livability of the communities in which it operates.
Urban Utilities offers job opportunities in the categories of administration and support, corporate governance, customer experience, customer service and community engagement, engineering, human resources, information technology, project management, and science.
Graduates may apply online via Urban Utilities's career page or through major job sites. The interview process varies from role to role, but graduates may expect a series of one-on-one or panel face-to-face interviews with HR representatives, department managers, and/or directors. Interviews may be technical or behavioural, and graduates are advised to read up on the company's ethos, mission, vision, and values. A business casual attire is advised for interviews. The hiring process may take up to a month.
The average Urban Utilities yearly salary is $138,521. In 2013, Urban Utilities executives took home an average of $40,000 in bonuses. Urban Utilities offers flexible work options which include work from home opportunities, career breaks, as well as full and part-time hours. Fringe benefits may include maternity and paternity leave, exclusive employee discounts on food, travel, insurance, fashion, and entertainment, on the job mentoring, and health and life insurance, among others.
Urban Utilities's two-year graduate program is open to data science, applied science, finance, and engineering graduates. The program involves rotating around four areas in the business. Here, graduates are expected to work on different projects, make new connections, and overcome various challenges. Areas graduates may work in include finance, digital and analytics, people, environment, planning, and laboratories. Instead of catering to graduates with the highest GPA, Urban Utilities puts a premium on graduates who are flexible, digitally savvy, willing to challenge the status quo and have a strong customer and community focus.
For Urban Utilities, diversity in culture and ideas is of paramount importance. Here, individual contributions, skills, and knowledge are encouraged and valued. Urban Utilities' Diversity and Inclusion Strategy implements a variety of programs that promote diversity and inclusion, which includes assisting employees with disabilities, creating support systems for indigenous employees and strengthening its culture of respect and gender equality.
Urban Utilities's social impact is expressed in a variety of ways. In 2019, the company launched Purpose Day, an opportunity for employees to spend a full day of work with a registered charity of their choice.
In the same year, Urban Utilities also began constructing its first Social Value Framework: a way to measure, identify, and guide its activities that have economic, social, and environmental benefits. These activities include supporting customers in hardship, managing its impact on land and waterways, and supporting initiatives that improve social wellbeing.
Other ways it contributes to social and environmental wellbeing include assisting its financially vulnerable customers through various programs, progressing trade waste initiatives, and turning waste into valuable resources.
There's plenty to learn in Urban Utilities, one of Australian Financial Reviews' Most Innovative Companies of 2018, a nationwide ranking based on track records in innovation and employee surveys. Graduates aiming to rack up experience in the utility industry will receive solid internal support from the company's management. With over 40% of roles recruited internally, Urban Utilities is a promising place to build a long-term career, but there may be tradeoffs: work here is fast-paced and often demanding, and workers who value freedom may find the company's knack for micromanagement to be a challenge.