What is it like to live and work in Australia?
The Australian cities are usually voted among the best places to live in the world. Melbourne has been declared the most liveable city in the world for the seventh year running by the Economist Intelligence Unit’s annual global liveability survey. Australia is known for its high standard of living, the unique nature, and as one of the safest countries.
We interviewed Michelle Arios to find out more about what it is like to live and work in Australia.
- Please introduce yourself briefly.
My name is Michelle Arios, a 30-year-old Project Manager and Careers Consultant from Australia.
- Can you describe the labour market in Australia right now ?
The latest figures show that the unemployment rate in Australia is 5.5%, which is a pretty good rate in my opinion. More people have jobs now than a year ago, so it’s definitely getting easier. The salaries are great and usually provide enough for a comfortable living; I know some expats from the UK who came here because they could earn more than back at home.
- What are the most demanded specialists right now in Australia?
Accountancy is really in demand right now, in a lot of different niches. Skilled professionals like architects, carpenters, and engineers are always needed. Because of the tech boom, if you’ve got web development skills or can perform data analysis, you’ll have your pick of jobs.
- What are the most common job search channels in Australia?
LinkedIn is huge, especially for headhunters recruiting you instead of you going to them. Newspapers aren’t used as much anymore, so people tend to look online at places like Seek, Indeed, Gumtree, and CareerOne.
- How would you rate the balance between pay and cost of living? Is it common people in Australia to be able to save some money from their monthly salary?
Yes – I think it’s pretty well-balanced. There is some disparity between the big cities and more suburban areas. People may struggle to save if they live in Sydney or Melbourne, particularly the closer to the CBD they live.
- How would you rate the work-life balance in Australia?
I think we do pretty well! Australians are known for being laidback and we bring that to our approach to work. We can be hard workers though. I think Millennials are finding it a bit trickier to get that balance because they’re coming into the workplace with this hard-working attitude.
- In your opinion, is it easy for an expat to find a job in Australia? Is it possible to find a job remotely or the person has to be in Australia?
It’s easy so long as you have the right skills. First, you have to be able to get a work visa, and those aren’t handed out easily. But if you do have the skills that the government is looking for, you can pretty easily find a job remotely and get it all set up before you move.
- Is it easy for an expat to land any job he or she applies for, including management positions, or there are positions that are “reserved” only for Australian people?
Again, it depends on the skillset and industry. If you’re a specialist engineer, for example, you can come into any position you have the skills for. But it would be harder if you weren’t skilled. For example, the spouse of an engineer might struggle a bit to get the average office job if they don’t have specialized skills.
- Do you know any case when people are being treated in a different way at work, either positive or negative, just because they are foreigners?
I think some of it is positive. Because we’ve had that shortage in certain industries, we know people are coming over to work in ways that we really need. But of course there are always people who will have a negative attitude towards outsiders, no matter where you go.
- What is considered to be a good salary according to the Australian standards that would allow a single person to have a comfortable living? What about a family with 2 kids?
I think you need about $80k plus to be comfortable. That depends heavily on where you live, some places will have a higher cost of living. For a family with two kids, probably upwards of $200,000 to have a standard life. Also you can be smart – you can be thrifty and buy second-hand stuff, and not eat out every night, and that helps a lot.
- In case of an unemployment, do people receive any help from the Government?
Yes, there’s a few schemes for jobseekers as well as benefits for those who are unable to work.
- In your opinion, where in Australia are the best places to live and work and why?
I may be biased but I would say Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide – I love big cities. There’s so much more opportunity here, and while the cost of living may be higher, I would argue you also get better quality for that price. There’s always something happening in your neighborhood.
- Would you move to work and live in another country and why?
Actually, I have already done it twice! For over 6 months I lived in Japan where I worked as a freelancer. At some point in my life I also found a job in New Zealand, where I spent almost 2 years and I still have many friends and colleagues there. In the end, however, I decided to get back. I just love my home. But I would consider moving to the UK or US so I didn’t have to learn a new language.
- Do you know any expats in Australia? Have they had any issues finding a job? What do they work now?
Yes I do, and not at all. I know a few guys who work in IT and web development in my company and they settled in right away.
- What do you like most about Australia?
The culture. We’re such a laidback nation and we really celebrate the good times. I feel like that’s the right attitude to have.
- What you don’t like about Australia?
The politics. I don’t think we’ve had real confidence in our government for a while. I also curse the heat a bit sometimes in the summer!
Michelle Arios is a constantly busy Project Manager, currently supporting Aubiz and BizDb – Online knowledge libraries with information about businesses in Australia and New Zealand. Privately, Michelle is a great fan and supporter of lifelong-learning and self-improvement. She might often be found with a self-help book in her hands. Feel free to reach out to her on @MichelleArios.