Bushy's BLOG

Now living and experiencing Brisbane, Australia

Working in Australia

The unemployment rate as of 6 September 2007, is at 4.3%. It has remained at this level for the last couple years. The good thing with a low unemployment rate, it that it has driven a lot of people off the DOL and back into the job market.

But still, there is a skills shortage in Australia, so if you’ve got the right skill – finding employment is really easy. Do a search for “Selected Areas Skills Shortage List SSASSL” and you’re bound to get dozens of hits. See also the Australia VISA job listing.

Most people attribute the skills shortage to the resources boom, but I think it just one of the contributing factors.

Brisbane City

Since arriving in Brisbane in earlier 2005, the city has slowly grown taller. Everywhere you look, they’re building yet another skyscraper. Building restrictions have also been relaxed to support this build effort.

Looking back at the City from the CityCat

To support the building industry you need a skilled workforce – and there is just not enough engineers, architects, surveyors, plumbers, electricians etc.

Sure many people have left their usual employment and moved out to the middle of nowhere (Outback Australia) to help the mines deal with the resource boom – but surely the mines couldn’t have absorbed the entire workforce?

The mines might have caused a couple divorces though! There are large number of previously stay at home mothers who now work driving huge coal trucks for a $90-110k wage! The mines gladly accept the women drivers and adjust their schedules to fit in with day care!
If you’re from another country things might be a little different. When you’re employed here in Australia, you’re most likely to be paid a weekly wage irrespective of your position i.e garbo driver or CEO. This wage is usually paid fortnightly or sometimes twice monthly.

If you just happen to be a South African – forget it – there is no 13th pay check!

With the skills shortage, working in Australia is great because this has had the effect of pushing wages up.

Years ago, if you wanted a really good wage you had to live in Sydney or Melbourne. Whilst you’d get a higher wage, the cost of living was also considerably more – especially property and rentals.

Now, the wage market is starting equalize especially here in Queensland. So now you can earn almost the same wage (within 5%) and get to enjoy the sunshine.

For some people this is probably not a negative, but one thing I have noticed is that Australians love meetings and paperwork – maybe I should’ve picked up on this phenomenon when I applied for a visa!

But a positive side-effect of this is that most things are well planned and thought out which really makes for a good work environment.

The only downside at the moment is that Queenslanders have yet to convince Premier Anna Bligh ;-( that we need daylight savings time (to enjoy all sunny days!)

So if you’re looking for a job, permanent or part time employment, try CareerOne or Seek.

There is a new job site called JobsJobsJobs – I haven’t used it but maybe you’re lucky and find your dream job there ;-)

As a migrant worker, immigrant, foreigner – getting your first job in a new country is the most difficult thing you’ll ever do!

But luckily, Australian employers are mostly reasonable and comfortable hiring foreign workers – if the applicant has the right skill sets and a work visa. No matter who you are or the position, expect some kind of test during the interview process.

BTW: Here in Queensland, employers want their pound of flesh and then some ;-(