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The basics
Australia: Career Prospects

Finding a graduate career in Australia

Our guide to life after graduation for international students in Australia including how to find a job and whether you can remain in the country...

Sydney Harbour

Whilst it’s true that the Aussie dollar has been more attractive, the Australian economy is facing a period of growth and development across a number of sectors. With a number of key, developed international networks and links to multinational offices, staying on in Australia to start up your graduate career after your studies is a prospect too good to pass up. Let our guide to life post-study help illuminate your options and get your planning process going.


What’s the graduate market like?

Despite some recent economic setbacks, the Australian job market in 2014 has been on the up. Since January, the amount of available full-time jobs grew from 80,000 to 8.05 million. The demand for graduate labour however has seen better days: in 2013, 19.3% of employers did not recruit any graduates, but the proportion of employers who did take on over 20 graduates increased from 22.2%-23%. In 2014, the Reserve Bank of Australia has predicted that the economy will grow from 2.25% to 3.25%.

The way you’ll be most likely to secure employment is if your area of expertise relates to an occupation that is in demand. The Australian government releases a yearly Skilled Occupations List (SOL) which outlines these professions.  In 2014, students of Engineering, Technology, Teaching, Veterinary Medicine, Optometry, Dentistry and other Medicine-related professions can all be optimistic in their prospects.

It’s not all bad news for the rest of us: professional service firms are tipped to add AU$400 (US$371) billion to the nation’s GBP over the next 20 years, with booms in agriculture, tourism, international education and wealth management set to create a number of new opportunities. Australia also has a particularly developed mining industry, with spades of opportunities for Geology and Mining Engineering graduates willing to relocate to rural areas.


Can I stay in Australia?

Whilst Australia is known for its tight immigration laws, there are plenty of options for graduates looking to stay in the country and work. You will be able to stay in the country for a maximum of three months after you graduate, so you’ll need to get a work visa before then if you’d like to stay.

There are a few different visas you’ll be able to apply for as an international graduate, but in most cases your best bet will be to apply for a Temporary Graduate Visa (subclass 485) which will allow you to work in Australia for a defined period of time depending on which stream you come under. There are two types of streams beneath this visa subclass: the graduate work stream, and the post-study work stream. The application process for both is the same, but each stream has slightly different eligibility criteria. You may stay up to 18 months on the graduate work stream, and from two-four years if you’re on the post-study work stream, depending on the level of your qualification.

If you have a skill or qualification that relates to a profession that is in demand, you can also register an Expression of Interest (EOI) with national body SkillSelect to be considered for a Skilled Nominated Visa. After you register, Australian Immigration will determine whether your skills are considered to be of use to the Australian workforce, and may invite you to apply for a visa. Once you receive this invitation, you can apply formally for the visa online.

You can read about the specifics of visa application processes and eligibility criteria in our visa guide for post-study options in Australia.

Permanently immigrating to Australia is an incredibly complex and time-consuming process, and students are advised to discuss their options with their local Australian embassy or consulate as early as possible if this is a path they’d like to follow.

Find my nearest Australian embassy or consulate


How can I find a job?

When searching for a job you’ll be able to look in any way that a local Australian student might. The most common way to search for a job is via an online search engine such as Seek, Australian JobSearch and CareerOne. Most students will also take a look at jobs posted in their university’s career centre, or keep an ear out amongst friends in similar fields or positions for any openings.

Finding employment through work experience completed during your studies is also common fare for Australian graduates. Many larger companies offer graduate positions as the endpoint in a graduate scheme programme, which is a sort of paid training programme meant to ease you into a permanent job. These types of schemes are most common in fields of Finance, Banking, Business Management and Journalism. Law students may similarly seek out clerkship positions whilst completing their studies that often lead to employment upon graduation, whilst students of Medicine are often required to complete placements as part of their studies that provide them with connections enough to sniff out a position once they graduate.

Whilst many positions are advertised publicly online and through newspaper adverts, there are also plenty of positions that will be advertised privately by a company either on their website of via word of mouth. The best way to find out about these positions is to research the sector you’re looking to enter and follow the profiles of companies within it you’d be interested in working for. It’s also a good idea to get active on LinkedIn to connect with potential employers and keep your ear to the ground for any opportunities you might come across. 


Can my university help?

Don’t forget: searching for a graduate job is scary for local graduates, too, and so Australian universities are well versed in providing you with the support you need. Whilst specific services on offer will vary between institutions, almost all Australian universities will offer career advice services and have some kind of contact information for employers or jobs directly advertised.

For example, the University of Melbourne dedicates an entire section of its website to career resources, including a job board, event and career fair information and a drop-in advice service. The University of Adelaide similarly offers CV writing tips, advice and career planning resources and tips on how best to start your search.



Now that you’ve got your head around the graduate market, why not browse courses in Australia now and start planning your study abroad adventure?



Read more:

'Post-study visa options in Australia'

'3 Fields to study in Australia'

'3 Scholarships in Australia to start you off...'

Study in Australia


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