Employment in Australia

Wednesday, 24th March, 2010 by Chris Please

The Big Picture:

Employment in Australia

Economic, technological and demographic changes are the most significant causes of skills shortages in Australia. At the same time these forces also can threaten the demand for certain skills. The Australian government believes that the long-term trends in place in Australia for the last 20 years are likely to continue. This implies that employment will continue to grow slowly or even decline in manufacturing industries. Employment growth will be highest in the service industries, which is especially the finance, healthcare, retail, accommodation and restaurant industries.

People with information technology (IT) skills are in very high demand in Australia. The total number of job vacancies in the IT sector in Australia is generally believed to be around the 30,000 mark (which is similar to the UK). Other skills are in high demand as well, such as chefs for instance. Construction trades, accountancy and auditing are perennial areas of strong growth.

Australian Workers:

Australians are very hard workers in the main and tend to be specialized in one core skill. Specialization is a common career approach in Australia. Australians are very competitive by nature when working, perhaps because they know how hard it can be to get another job opportunity this fits their skill set well. The typical Australian worker is usually motivated to keep up with the latest in technology for their industry. Extra vocational courses (night classes or weekend courses) are always full of people updating their skills.

Employment Types:

Casual work is the most common kind of work in Australia and constitutes almost half of the workforce’s manner of employment. This is so because when a person moves from casual to full time their salary usually drops. Only full time employment guarantees full payment of benefits (paid holidays, sick leave, etc.). You can work as a casual in Australia for as long as you want without restriction. The main employers of casual workers are: restaurants, cafes, construction sites and retail shops – generally lower wage jobs.

Full time (permanent) work makes up the almost other half of the Australian labour market. It usually has such conditions as 40 hour weeks, paid overtime, holidays, sick leave pay and superannuation. Many companies employ people first as a casual and then after 3 months they may offer a full time position.

Work on a part-time basis is much less common. Employers tend to prefer using casuals to take the place of what could become a part-time position. The appeal of part-time work (if it’s to be found) is that of having a regular form of income, but with times fixed to your liking plus the sense of security of ‘permanent’ work. Such positions are very few and far between.

Barriers for Immigrants:

The single greatest problem for people with professional qualifications from other countries is the amount of protectionism from unions and other bodies that exist to protect local workers in Australia. For certain trades and professions a local state license is needed which may have certain costs and requirements attached. Moving to another state may require the whole process of acquiring a new license to be repeated. Professionals such as doctors, dentists, electricians, nurses, lawyers, accountants, plumbers, builders and several others are required to have some kind of license or recognition of their qualification in order to work in Australia.

Qualifications obtained in Australia are preferred in general to those obtained in other countries. It’s a little easier for people coming from certain countries (such as the UK) that have a similar qualifications standards system as Australia. Nevertheless there may still be many requirements such as having to be registered and recognized by the relevant trade union for example. Any course completed in Australia has much more value because employers have more knowledge of it.

It doesn’t hurt to have an Australian qualification related to your field before emigrating. The other advantage of having this is that you can gain points when in the process of applying for a skilled migration visa. After arrival you could of course take a university or vocational course in Australia to improve your prospects once you’re much more fully aware of your industry’s needs.

For many so-called white-collar jobs your professional skills and qualifications may need to be formally recognized by the appropriate Australian authority before you are allowed to work. It is obviously preferable to have this done by the time you arrive in Australia. In some cases, a bridging course may be required to meet some professional requirements for registration or membership of a professional body. This is additional training to ensure that your skills meet the standards required and/or you are fully aware of the Australian way of doing things in your industry. Be sure to include the potential cost of this (financially, time- and stress-wise) in your planning. If you are required to take a bridging course, the Australian Government may provide a loan to help pay for tuition fees for certain professional courses.



This article was provided by Raine and Horne, a dynamic network that has over 450 Real Estate offices in Australia, you can benefit from their extensive network in many ways including, residential, commercial and rural sales, purchasing and leasing. Plus, project marketing, corporate, auction and financial services.

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