Job Hunting in Australia and the UK Compared: 2014

For most people choosing whether to move to Australia largely depends on the likelihood of them getting a job when they arrive. Probably the biggest question anyone moving here needs to ask themselves is this…

Should I move to Australia first and then look for a job, or should I secure a job before I move so that I have a job to go to when I get there?

Job HuntingIt’s a tough question, for sure, and it’s certainly not one I can answer. I’m not sure it’s the sort of question anyone can answer; it’s more a case of ‘pros’ and ‘cons’.

On the upside, getting a job before you get here is safest, at least you’ll be earning money as soon as you arrive. On the downside, if it’s a job sponsorship you will usually have had to commit to working for that employer for a minimum of two years, and maybe living in a state that wouldn’t have been your first choice.

Looking for work after you have arrived here allows you to (usually) live wherever you want in Australia and choose who you want to work for with the freedom to switch jobs whenever you want. On the downside, if you can’t manage to get a job when you get here then that could put a huge financial strain on the move.

Sometimes the decision isn’t yours, sometimes you may only qualify for a visa that requires a sponsorship first, but when you do have a choice, it really is a tough one.

Finding work in Australia

I’ve written about this subject many times, I even have a dedicated page over at Getting a Job Sponsorships in Australia and Finding Work.

I’ve also written about finding work here compared with the UK on a couple of occasions…

And just a month ago I wrote an article called Jobs in Australia: A 2014 Update in which I spoke about a very different Australian job market these days, one in which jobs certainly seem harder to come by here.

Today I am going to be checking that with some actual figures.

Job vacancies in the UK and Australia compared:

Jobs 2014Let’s compare that with the figures from that 2012 post, I’m just going to look at Reed and Seek as they both appear to be the biggest recruitment agencies in our respective countries and therefore have the most significant figures.

Two years ago, Reed had 44,383 vacancies in the same five job categories as in the table above, this year they have 65,123. That’s a massive 46.7% increase in job vacancies.

Last year Seek had 47,557 vacancies in those same categories, this year they have 42,166. That’s an 11.3% decrease in job vacancies here in Australia.

That’s a massive swing of additional jobs in the UK compared to Australia to add to the quite significant swing that I spoke about in my 2012 post when Reed had 21% more vacancies and Seek 19% fewer than back in 2010.

In the last four years then, the UK appears to have over 60% more vacancies and Australia more than 30% less. These figures certainly backup what I said a month ago in my 2014 job update when I suggested doing a little homework before simply arriving here in Australia to look for work.

Australia really did have a buzzing job scene four years ago, today it is very much different.

Is it really so bad here in Australia?

In terms of the numbers of vacancies comparative to the population, things really aren’t so bad yet here in Australia though. In the five categories of jobs we chose above, the UK may have about 50% more vacancies, but they do also have almost 3 times the population.

In terms of all jobs, the situation isn’t that much different either. Here are the totals of all vacancies from each website:

  • Reed – 188,193 jobs live – 96 added today.
  • Seek – 135,542 jobs matching your search criteria (All jobs).

On that basis, it still might just be easier to find a job here in Australia than in the UK, but the trend over the last four years is clear to see.


Yes, I’m afraid the trend has continued and it is getting continually harder to find a job in Australia. Please check out the following post for more information about this, and do be sure to read the comments:

Visa Assessment Service
Visa Assessment Service
{ 6 comments… add one }
  • Ernie In AZ March 30, 2014, 2:30 pm |

    Hi Bob,

    Put us in the category of those heading to OZ without a job. Even though we have permanent resident visas, I’m getting no interest being overseas.

    So, we’re heading over on a wing and a prayer. We bought our plane tickets and I’ve given notice to quit my job. Our things were shipped 2 weeks ago. We’re leaving in 2 months!

    It is exciting, but a little scary since we have two boys under two years old. I have skilled experience in a good industry. I just hope I won’t have to get a job at Macca’s before I can get a real job. I know it’ll all work out, we’ll just have to be prepared to rough it for a while.

    • BobinOz March 31, 2014, 2:38 pm |

      Scary, exciting, and you can probably add to that slightly risky and lots of fun. What better way to enjoy the thrills of life than to take a big gamble every now and then. Having skilled experience in a good industry will hopefully stand you in very good stead, I hope it all works out for you.

      In your case, sounds like you are doing the right thing, it’s hard to secure a job from overseas.

      Maybe you can come back and let us know how it goes?

      Cheers, Bob

      • Ernie From AZ July 17, 2014, 9:42 am |

        Hi Bob,

        * Update — “Ernie In AZ” is now “Ernie FROM AZ”!

        Yes, we have made our move. I quit my job back in America and we’ve been in Adelaide for about a month now. What an adventure it’s been so far! The first week especially was just a blur. Getting settled in a new country is not easy, but everyone is taking it all in stride and we couldn’t bee happier to be here.

        Most importantly, I was able to find work this week. I applied for multiple jobs while I was still overseas and heard nothing. Now, I hear back from lots of employers . . . so it just goes to show that you have to take risks sometimes and it pays off.

        • BobinOz July 18, 2014, 1:43 pm |

          Welcome to Australia Ernie FROM AZ, sounds like you are already having a good time. Great to hear it.

          Congratulations on snagging that job as well, yes, it is very difficult to secure a job whilst you are not in this country, it certainly gets easier once you arrive. It is a risk and one that does worry many people, understandably too, glad to hear it has paid off for you.

          Cheers, Bob

  • Elizabeth Wilson March 24, 2014, 9:19 pm |

    Interesting comparison….we’re getting the PR visa first and then looking for work when we get there. Simply because we found many employers (agencies in particular) won’t talk to you seriously until you have the right to work in Australia, and as for sponsorship you may get it but even then it’s often temporary 457 visa and there’s no guarantee of PR. We weighed it up and with 3 children to also consider, we wanted the security of moving knowing we had the security of permanent residency. Plus temporary visas meant school fees x3 for at least 2 years in NSW – More than the cost of the PR visas, IELTS test, skills assessment etc! We are getting PR first as we are lucky to be enough on the SOL and today had a visa invite 🙂

    • BobinOz March 25, 2014, 4:33 pm |

      Well, as you have explained further Elizabeth, there are many pros and cons to consider. School fees in NSW for 457 visa holders is a big one, you have clearly done your research.

      And for sure, trying to secure work before you get here is a lot harder, it’s much easier once you are here, ready to start work and able to attend an interview face-to-face. It is more risky, but I think it can be a calculated risk for those who do their research.

      Incidentally, we came here on a PR without jobs to go to as well, it was risky, but we are pleased to say it has worked out for us and we’ve never had any regrets.

      Good luck with your move, hope it goes well and you find work quickly.

      Cheers, Bob

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