Home Your Guide to Working in Australia

Your Guide to Working in Australia

Posted by on March 22nd, 2017.

Employment opportunities in Australia

Australia has long been one of the world’s most popular emigration destinations, with its high quality of life, sunny climate and laid-back atmosphere attracting people from across the globe.

The nation also offers a number of attractive employment opportunities, with the IT sector in particular crying out for skilled recruits at the moment.

If you’re considering moving to Australia to advance your career, keep reading to find out what key points you should be taking into account.

Employment Opportunities

The unemployment rate in Australia averaged around 5.7% in 2016, making the level of joblessness comparable to most developed countries.

As of last year, the three largest Australian employment sectors are Healthcare and Social Assistance, Retail and the Construction Sector.

Individuals with medical training are in particularly high demand (especially with Australia’s ageing population) and expat employment in Healthcare and Social Assistance roles can be easier to come by then in other sectors.

One area which differentiates Australia from other popular emigration destinations is its mining sector. With over 50% of Australian exports being raw metals as of 2014, the sector still accounts for around 2% of total employment – despite Australia moving away from a reliance on mining in recent years.

The Australian government also attends skilled migration events around the world to provide information about which expertise the country is in need of. Those unable to attend one of these events will want to check the SkillSelect section of the government website. This helps address regional skill shortages by matching those migrating to the country to areas where their abilities are needed.

Once you have an idea of the area and sector you wish to work in you’ll need to start searching online (using sites such as Workingin) to find the right employment opportunity for you.

Thinking of working in Australia

Work Practices

While Australia has a reputation for being a laid-back, easy-going nation, just how true is this in the workplace?

Well, according to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Australia placed 32nd out of 38 in a ranking of nations with the best work/life balance. Despite not placing highly on this gauge, Australians do consider a good work/life balance extremely important, with Aussies caring more about that than factors like job security and salary.

Those seeking the best work/life equilibrium may find their options improve outside of the largest population centres, with employees from regional areas such as Tasmania appearing to enjoy a good balance.

Recent reports stated that Australian employees under pressure to meet deadlines do overtime worth $110bn for free each year. However, don’t let this fact alarm you as an increasing number of companies are introducing more flexible working practices. Being able to request flexible working arrangements is also part of the National Employment Standards.

Average Earnings

Like any other country in the world, average earnings in Australia can vary greatly between regions and industries, but in this brief guide we’ll try to give you a rough starting point to work from when considering employment opportunities in the nation.

In 2016 the average earnings for someone in full time employment was around $78,800 per annum – or $83,900 including bonuses. In regards to region, the lowest average can be found in Tasmania where wages are typically below 70k. The highest wages tend to be commanded in Capital Territory, with average earnings of around 90k.

In terms of occupation, the lowest paying positions are in retail and hospitality, where the yearly average falls below 60k. Meanwhile, Australia’s highest paying industry is the lucrative mining sector, with average pay reaching almost 140k a year.

Those working in Healthcare, one of the areas with the most employment opportunities for workers from overseas, can expect to earn roughly $84,000.

While these wages may seem astronomical in comparison to other countries even once you’ve converted them to your domestic currency (in some areas of the UK average earnings are around £26,000) it does well to remember that the costs of goods and services down under are also notably higher.

Average Cost of Living

As noted above, the cost of living in Australia can be substantially higher than in other comparable countries, something that has been exacerbated by the strong performance of the Australian Dollar in recent years.

The cost of living in Australia is 17.7% higher than in the UK, and everyday items can cost significantly more. For example, while a loaf of bread would cost you £1.00 in the UK, it would set you back £1.78 in Australia (according to Numbeo’s cost of living calculator).

Grocery prices in Australia are, on average, 42.3% higher than in the UK, while rent prices are 24.1% higher.

While the higher wages help to make up for some of this discrepancy, you’re still likely to find that life down under is slightly more expensive than back home.

Australian visas

Employment Visas

The best way to go about acquiring an Employment Visa for Australia is to find a job in the nation before leaving the UK. If you have a job offer from an approved Australian employer they may sponsor your resident visa application.

Not only does this take a lot of the hassle out of the whole process, visas gained under this scheme grant you permanent residence, allowing you to work in Australia indefinitely and even allowing you to apply for citizenship.

However, you can still be granted a visa without having a job lined up if you have skills that can be applied to a job on the Consolidated Sponsored Occupations List (CSOL).

This is done through a points based system and you will have a greater chance of success if you can work in a sector which contributes to Australia’s economic growth or is facing a shortage of skilled labour.

If you are looking to set up a business in Australia then you can apply for the Business Innovation and Investment visa, although this may be one of the more difficult routes to take.

Finally, for those between the ages of 18 and 30 (particularly those who may be unsure about committing themselves to staying in Australia long-term or who are just looking to enjoy Australia’s sunny climate for a few months), you may want to look at taking advantage of the Australian Working Holiday Programme.

This programme allows those who fit the age criteria to spend up to a year down under experiencing everything Australia has to offer whilst working. You’ll need to have a reasonable amount of capital saved however as you have to be able to prove that you can provide for yourself while out there.


While there’s a lot more to working in Australia than we’ve covered in this guide, we hope it’s at least given you an idea of what things you should be considering if you’re hoping to advance your career down under. Happy job hunting!

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