Job market Australia

by Mark Benson on April 25, 2010

in Jobs in Australia

The job market Australia is more buoyant today than it ever has been despite the fact that the worldwide recession is only just coming to an end in many areas of the globe. There is no doubt that the Australian economy has changed dramatically over the last 20 years and many believe it is one of the strongest economies in the world and set to become more and more prominent as time goes by.

So what can you expect from the job market in Australia and how has it changed over the years?

The Australian economy

Before looking at individual jobs in Australia it is worth taking an overview of the economy which has grown dramatically over the last 20 years. The 1990s saw a severe financial downturn in many areas of Australia which effectively put the Australian economy back many years. However, since then we have seen significant investment into the Australian economy, a calmer political scene and more and more overseas companies looking to gain exposure to Australia.

It is interesting to see that the Australian economy that one of the first to exit the worldwide recession towards the end of 2009, leaving many such as the UK in its wake. This strength in the economy appears to be continuing and indeed many believe that interest rates in Australia could move higher towards the end of 2010 as a way of slowing down the recovery and negating the potential problem which could be inflation.

Employment in Australia

Historically the Australian employment market has been dominated by natural resources and commodities with mining still very dominant today. However, despite the fact that some of the largest mining companies in the world are located in Australia, there has been a much broader spectrum of employment opportunities over the last few years. Australia is now a Western-style capitalist economy which has much to offer and has proved to be very resilient in recent times. Aside from the likes of minerals, oil, gold, wool, cereals and meat there has been enormous growth in the services sector and the tourism industry continues to go from strength to strength.

Working conditions in Australia

Those moving to Australia from the UK will experience very similar working conditions and working practices. The average working week in Australia is 37 hours, as in the UK, with the vast majority of people working from Monday to Friday with overtime payments for work out of these hours. Employees are entitled to four weeks paid annually each year with the option of 10 days paid personal leave which includes sick leave and career breaks. There have been great improvements in working conditions and working practices in Australia which continue to attract more and more people from overseas.

The Australian labour force

There are just over 11 million people in the Australian labour force with the services industry (75%), industry (21.1%) and agriculture (3.6%) by far and away the more prominent. This perfectly illustrates the growth of the services industry in Australia which is now head and shoulders above the rest of the various employment sectors.

Even though unemployment in Australia has increased from around 4.2% in 2008 to 5.7% in 2009, there is still much scope to reduce this in the short to medium term. There is no doubt that the Australian employment market was impacted, at least in the short term, by the worldwide economic downturn but there’s also no doubt that the Australian economy has bounced back stronger than many others around the world. As a consequence, the ongoing influx of skilled overseas workers into Australia is set to continue for some time to come up and will indeed see the Australian population (which has quadrupled in less than 100 years) continue to grow.

At some point the Australia authorities may well need to turn off the tap which is immigration but at this moment in time there is still great demand for overseas skilled workers across a number of different employment sectors and across a number of different areas of Australia. In time, it is hoped that the growing number of overseas workers will transfer their skills and experience to the domestic Australian workforce.

Jobs in Australia

There are many different areas of Australia which are attracting the attention of both domestic Australian workers and overseas skilled workers. We will attempt to cover some of the more prominent cities in Australia and identify potential employment markets for those looking to move to Australia:-


In line with many of Australia’s leading cities Sydney has seen a massive change in its employment market over the last 20 years with a shift from manufacturing to the services industry. The employment markets in Sydney include property, business services, retail, manufacturing and health and community services. There has also been massive investment into the technology market with more and more overseas companies looking to gain exposure to Australia and its surrounding area through thriving cities such as Sydney.


Melbourne is commonly known as the cultural capital of Australia and has something of a buoyant economy which continues to grow and grow. On the surface the economy is dominated by the automotive industry with heavyweight names such as Ford and Toyota very visible in the area although there’s also a massive trading port which handles around 40% of Australia’s total container trade each and every year. Due to the city’s location it has also become a very interesting and a very buoyant financial centre with many companies using Melbourne as a stepping stone into the lucrative Asia-Pacific market.

It is also worth noting that National Australia Bank and ANZ, two of Australia’s most recognised companies, are based in Melbourne which has also become known as the capital of superannuation pension funds in the country. It is estimated that around 40% of Australia’s overall pension fund investments and 65% of pension super funds, i.e. government pension schemes, are administered from offices in Melbourne.


The Brisbane employment market is perhaps one of the widest in scope compared to the other prominent cities of Australia. Surprisingly, there is a large mix of blue-collar and white-collar workers in and around Brisbane servicing employment markets such as information technology, financial services, higher education, public sector administration as well as petroleum refining, paper milling, metalworking and railway workshops. It is also worth noting that the Brisbane authorities have invested significant amounts of money into areas such as biotechnology, technology and education which is attracting a very different and a very varied mix of people to the area.

It is also worth noting that Brisbane has one of the fourth highest median household incomes in Australia, something which many expats are well aware of and looking to take advantage of. If you are looking for an area of Australia which offers a large range all potential employment opportunities there are few which can match the attractions of Brisbane.


This is a very popular and a very interesting city of Australia which is geographically isolated but has managed to reinvent itself over the last 50 years, changing from a manufacturing economy to a services industry. It is now by far and away the focal point for businesses and government services in the state of Western Australia with employment opportunities now prevalent in areas such as wholesale trade, retail, business services, community and personal services, public administration, health and education.

While Perth is perhaps not the best known of Australian cities, with the likes of Sydney and Melbourne overshadowing many, it is interesting to see that Perth has one of the highest economic growth rates in Australia. As such, despite its apparent geographical isolation, the Perth economy is continuing to grow and is a focal and central point of the state.


Adelaide is the fifth largest city in Australia and again has an economy which has moved away from a dependence upon manufacturing in years gone by to a more balanced and forward-looking economy. Aside from manufacturing, there are many employment opportunities in areas such as defence technology, research, commodity exports and service industries. There is also a significant exposure to the healthcare sector, automotive, food and wine and half of all cars manufactured in Australia emanating from Adelaide.

When you consider that the Adelaide local government collapsed in 1992 with debts of over AUS$4 billion it is no mean feat to appreciate how well the economy has performed since. The battle back from the edge of oblivion has seen the state regain its AAA+ rating and there are high hopes for the Adelaide economy in the short, medium and longer term.

Median salaries in Australia

While the salaries paid in Australia should be compared to the cost of living in the area it is worth obtaining an angle on exactly what you can expect from employment markets across the country. The median salaries in some of Australia’s most prominent cities include:-

Sydney A$63,413

Melbourne A$57,496

Brisbane A$56,661

Perth A$59,951

Adelaide A$ 52,039

Canberra A$59,747

Gold Coast A$47,362

If you’re looking towards particular remuneration packages in states across Australia you may find the following helpful :-

New South Wales A$60,722

Victoria A$55,510

Queensland A$53,900

Western Australia A$59,664

South Australia A$51,994

Australian Capital Territory A$58,771

Tasmania A$47,751

The above remuneration packages are averages for various cities and various states across Australia and will obviously vary from state to state, city to city and employment market to employment market. You need to do your homework, not solely on the remuneration you may expect in your new homeland, but also the cost of living.

Australian visas

There are many different types of visas available for people looking to move to Australia, whether medium-term, short-term or to start a new life. There are various visas which will allow you to work part-time and also various visas which allow you to work full-time so you need to do your homework and decide which visa is best for you and which employment market you should be targeting.

Taxes in Australia

The tax system for residents of Australia and non-residents is very different and you should be aware of what you would be expected to pay in taxes as soon as you earn any money in Australia. The current tax rates, for the 2009/10 tax year, are as follows :-

A$0- A$35,000 will attract tax of 29%

A$35,001- A$80,000 will attract tax of 30%

A$80,001- A$180,000 will attract tax or 38%

A$180,001 and above will attract tax or 45%

As you can see the tax system in Australia is not exactly user-friendly for non-residents and is very different for those who have residential rights in the country.

Organising employment before landing

In a perfect world the easiest and quickest way to gain access to Australia on a long-term basis is to have an employment position available before you land. Whether this is through your existing company, through the skilled overseas workers program or perhaps you have your own business – there are ways and means of gaining access to one of the more prosperous economies of recent times. As we have mentioned above, there are a number of different employment opportunities across a wide range of Australia’s more prominent cities and we should hopefully have given you food for thought about where your future may lie.


The very fact that Australia has one of the strongest economies in the world at the moment is a reflection of the time and money invested into the economy over the last 20 years. The political situation is calmer than it has ever been and the number of overseas companies looking to gain exposure to Australia continues to grow. Not only is there worldwide demand for the services and the goods which Australia can produce but it is also proving to be something of a useful stepping stone into the lucrative Asia-Pacific market.

The immigration policy of the government has been fairly friendly towards expats for some time now and with more and more skilled workers still needed to service the Australian economy it is likely we will see the population increase year on year for some time to come. There are opportunities in Australia, the economy is well-positioned for the future and ultimately those who have something to offer Australia stand a good chance of being welcomed with open arms. Find employment in Australia is possible!

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