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Expats working in Australia may not have sky-high salaries to boast about but, for the most part, they seem to be happy with their job, their work environment and their work-life balance. This is a statement that arguably stands as the most underestimated advantage of moving to and living in Australia.
Furthermore, those who do decide to relocate to Australia will find themselves within a national economy that is known for being strong and stable.
Job market in Australia
Expats who have qualifications and experience in growing sectors with skill shortages stand a good chance of finding work in Australia. Industries such as healthcare, IT and marketing are well worth looking into.
Another industry in Australia worth considering is mining – although the mining boom has begun to decline, the country is still one of the world's top exporters of minerals such as iron, aluminium, gold and copper. Construction is also a strong and continually growing industry, with construction managers being particularly sought after.
Finding a job in Australia
Most expats will need to find and secure a job prior to entering and working in Australia. The government’s immigration department is as strict as it is efficient, and those employed without a work permit will be promptly deported.
Most expats come to work in Australia on an employer-sponsored visa. The hiring company must prove that a position exists for the expat and that no local candidate is qualified to assume the responsibilities required by the position. This can actually prove quite difficult given that a large chunk of Australia’s workforce has a tertiary qualification, and that many senior managers and technical staff have international experience.
As a result, though skills shortages have produced a crucial need for certain kinds of workers, the stringent permit eligibility rules often hamper attempts to import foreigners from abroad.
Expats on the job hunt should start by joining industry associations and by perusing the career centres maintained by regional governments. National newspapers also regularly publish job listings and advertisements in employment sections. Online job portals are also a convenient and easily accessible way of searching for jobs.
Work culture in Australia
Generally speaking, those working in Australia are likely to notice that there's a distinctly relaxed atmosphere in the workplace. However, this doesn't mean that less work gets done – Australians are hard workers, but the country is better at maintaining a good work-life balance than many other nations around the world.
As swearing is a famously prolific part of Australian dialect, expats can expect this to extend to the workplace too, although it's probably best not to follow suit. Socialising with co-workers outside of work is common and expected, so if invited to after-work drinks, expats should be sure to accept the invitation and take the opportunity to get to know their colleagues.
"The work culture I’d say is a little more laid back and informal than the US, in keeping with the Australian way. Drinking is also a big part of Australian culture, so work dinners and drinks are very common – but if you don’t imbibe, that will be respected too." Read more about Katie's experience of expat life in Australia.
"Start applying for work as soon as you get here. Make friends with other expats and anyone else – networking is also important for finding work." Read about Lara's expat experience in Australia.
Are you an expat living in Australia?
Expat Arrivals is looking for locals to contribute to this guide, and answer forum questions from others planning their move to Australia. Please contact us if you'd like to contribute.
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