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Work in Australia

Country flag: Australia

Australia's diverse and welcoming attitude is matched by its economic growth, which is good news for graduates hoping to work in the country

As the sixth biggest island in the world, with a population of 23 million, Australia is keen to attract skilled workers in a variety of sectors. The country weathered the 2008 global recession better than most and unemployment is relatively low.

Australia is regularly voted within the world's top ten most liveable countries and if you're seeking an adventure there are bound to be opportunities Down Under.

Use your free time wisely and visit some of the must-see Australian attractions such as the Sydney Opera House, the Great Barrier Reef and Fraser Island.

Job market

If you're backpacking your way around Australia on a Working Holiday visa then seasonal work, such as hotel or bar jobs, should be easy enough to find. However, if you're looking to make Australia your home you'll need to apply through SkillSelect for permanent positions, you can also be sponsored by an employer through the Employer Nomination Scheme.

Graduates at all levels generally enjoy a low unemployment rate and have better labour market outcomes and salaries than non-graduates.

Industries which offer more opportunities for young workers (aged 15 to 24) include:

  • accommodation and food services;
  • construction;
  • health and social care;
  • manufacturing;
  • retail.

The highest graduate starting salaries can be found in:

  • dentistry;
  • earth sciences;
  • engineering;
  • mathematics;
  • medicine;
  • optometry.

The largest Australian industries and those which have seen the most recent growth include:

  • construction;
  • education and training;
  • healthcare and social assistance;
  • professional, scientific and technical services;
  • retail.

While still important industries, agriculture, forestry and fishing, manufacturing and mining have all been on the decline in recent years.

For a list of shortage occupations, where skilled and professional workers are highly sought after see the Skilled Occupation List .

Job vacancies

You can search for jobs in Australia by:

  • looking in newspapers;
  • searching online;
  • signing up to recruitment agencies.

Popular job sites include:

Teaching in Australia

You may be eligible to teach in disadvantaged schools on the Teach for Australia programme. You'll need a relevant visa and a Bachelors degree to be accepted onto the scheme, which is similar to Teach First in the UK.

It is also possible to take part in international teacher exchange programmes for one academic year run by a number of Australian states, see the:

Internships and work experience in Australia

Doing a work placement or internship can help build up your skills as well as giving you the chance to make contacts who could help you to get a permanent job.

There are lots of dedicated Australian agencies that can help you to arrange your experience, but most charge a fee so make sure you find out all associated costs before signing up.

Search for placements and internships at:

Volunteering in Australia

You'll have plenty of opportunity to volunteer while in Australia as there are a variety of organisations dedicated to helping you with your experience.

The national body working to advance volunteering in the country is Volunteering Australia . You can search for opportunities, find the nearest volunteer resource centre and find out more about how you should be treated while volunteering.

Australian visas and immigration

If you've completed a Bachelors, Masters or Doctoral degree, you may be eligible for a Temporary Graduate visa (subclass 485). This allows international students who have recently graduated from an Australian institution to work in Australia temporarily after they've finished their studies. Alternatively, you could ask your employer to sponsor your new visa.

If you want to stay in Australia independently of employer sponsorship, you can submit an Expression of Interest (EOI) through SkillSelect. The skilled migration program was introduced to help address regional skill shortages.

The type of visa you apply for will depend on your circumstances and the work you will be doing. You can find out more at Department of immigration and Boarder Protection - Working in Australia .

How to explain your UK qualifications to employers

Your UK qualifications will usually be recognised by the majority of employers as the Australian higher education system closely resembles that in the UK, however check with potential employers before application.

To find out more about the recognition of qualifications see ENIC-NARIC .

Working conditions

The average working hours in Australia are 38 per week, Monday to Friday and a full-time employee is entitled to four weeks annual leave as well as public holidays. Bear in mind that the number of public holidays you are entitled to will vary depending on where you are based in the country.

As a non-resident you'll pay considerably more tax than Australian residents. For more information on tax rates and working conditions see:


Further information

Written by Editor, Prospects
August 2015

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