Focus On Australia


Population: 22,403,000
Monetary unit: Australian dollar ($A)
Capital city: Canberra
Major languages: English
Major religions: Christian 63.9%, of which Roman Catholic 25.6%, Anglican Church of Australia 18.7%, other Christian 19.6% (Uniting Church 5.7%, Presbyterian 2.9%, Orthodox 2.6%, Baptist 1.6%, Lutheran 1.3%); Buddhist 2.1%; Muslim 1.7%; Hindu 0.7%; Jewish 0.4%; no religion 18.7%; other 12.5%
Ethnic composition: white and others not elsewhere classified 90.2%; Asian (excl. Middle East) 7.3%; aboriginal 2.5%.
Age breakdown: under 15, 18.7%; 15–29, 20.8%; 30–44, 22.0%; 45–59, 20.0%; 60–74, 12.2%; 75–84, 4.5%; 85 and over, 1.8%
Life expectancy: 79.2 years; female 84.0 years
Education: Percentage of population age 15–64 having: no formal schooling and incomplete secondary education 48.5%; completed secondary and postsecondary, technical, or other certificate/diploma 28.9%; bachelor’s degree 14.2%; incomplete graduate and graduate degree or diploma 5.4%; unknown 3.0%
Urban/Rural split: urban 88.2%; rural 11.8%.
Income per household (USD): -
Broadband internet users (%): -

Source: Encyclopedia Britannica


Between 1992 and 2009 the Australian economy grew every year, and by an average of 3.3% a year – way above the 2.2% average of advanced OECD nations. It is now one of the largest economies in Asia and the world. Furthermore, having in 2006 eliminated net government debt, it was relatively insulated from the turmoil and hardship that other countries have experienced in recent years. [AB1]

It is little surprise therefore that its PR market is strong. There are many agencies of all types, from the large global giants through to the smaller boutique agencies, and while some agency bosses make the traditional complaints about low budgets and poor client understanding of PR, most agree that the greatest problem is in fact recruiting sufficient talent to service the demand.

Much of the problem is that Australian twentysomethings often spend several years  in Europe or North America, and while many eventually return, this leaves a significant gap in the labour market. This means that PR
agencies and in-house departments have to work hard to attract and retain the best talent.

Australian recruiter, Jeremy Wrench, MD, Capstone Careers has seen a massive upward swing in job opportunities but a shortage of talent. He says: “There is a noticeable shortage of talent in the Australian market currently and with a buoyant economy and rapidly expanding comms industry, PR practitioners are in high demand.”

The Government works on a triple layered system, with local, state and federal bodies all making important decisions, so a key part of this demand is for public affairs.

Working There

In Association With:

Fabric Recruitment

There are lots of opportunities in Australia for
expatriates looking for professional development, particularly those with specialised IT skills.
And moving to Australia isn’t just good for your
professional life, there’s no shortage of lifestyle incentives, too. Besides having some of the best beaches in the world and no shortage of swimming pools or BBQs, Australia boasts low crime rates, excellent education, world renowned sporting events and great health care.

Red Tape

The Australia immigration authorities have put strict controls on how many people can enter the country each year. Work visas are harder to obtain than they once were. A strict screening process picks out professionals with the skills and qualifications that are seen as vital for
keeping the Australian economy in good health.


There are four main categories for immigration and visa applications in Australia. These include: Skilled Independent Migration, Employer Nomination Scheme, Business Migration, and Holiday Working Visa. 

Each applicant has to apply under a specific
category and is then assessed and awarded a ‘score' based on a points system. Points
are awarded on basis of professional skills, age, language and qualifications, and it's also a requirement to have some form of private health insurance cover. Your final score will dictate whether your application is successful or not.
The Employer Nomination Scheme (ENS) allows an Australian Employer to fill a certain
amount of ‘highly skilled positions’ in their company with non-Australian citizens.

The Business Migration point system places greater emphasis on the skills of the potential
business migrants, while the Holiday Working Visa has an age limit of between 18 and 30 and only applies to casual employment.

There’s also the 457 Long-stay Business Visa, which allows you to:

· Work in Australia for up to 4 years (this can usually be extended)

· Work as an employee or a contractor

· Work in multiple locations

· Bring dependants (who will also be eligible to work)
General Skilled Migration visas

General Skilled Migration visas are available to
professionals, those with a specific trade and qualified graduates who want to live and work in Australia either temporarily or permanently.

To qualify you must be under 45 years old, your
occupation has to be listed on the Skilled Occupations List, you must be able to speak English, and you should have a professional or trade qualification that’s recognised in Australia.

Obtaining an Australian visa can be confusing and complicated; it is advisable to enlist some professional help in the form of a relocation company or other similar organisation.


As with most countries, your cost of living in Australia will largely depend on how and where you choose to live. Sydney and Melbourne are among the top 50 most expensive cities in the world - according to the 2010 Mercer Cost of Living survey - but many expats say that the average salary is more than able to cope with all the monthly outgoings.

Graduates should expect to start on annual packages of around $36,000 (Australian dollars) but managing directors can earn anything from $350,000 to $600,000. Salaries
can vary slightly from city to city. For example, managing directors in Melbourne will earn between $200,000 and $400,000 and it may be even less than this in Perth. 

Generally speaking, the cost of food is reasonable, and is very similar to food prices in the US. Petrol is fairly inexpensive; especially when compared to places like the UK. Eating out at a restaurant will set you back about $55 for a three-course meal, a cup of coffee in a café is about $4 and an average monthly utility bill is unlikely to exceed $60.

(1.5 Australian dollars is roughly equivalent to 1 British pound and 1.5 US dollars)


Some expats complain about the Australian income tax rates, which range from 17% to 47%. However, as an expat, there are various ‘tax breaks' that may be available to you that are designed to ease the extra costs you incur as an employee in a foreign country. However, many of these are dependent on whether you're going to be working in Australia as a temporary or permanent resident. Understanding what tax rules apply to you can make a big difference to your disposable income.

The cost of renting a home in Australia is pretty
reasonable in relation to average monthly earnings. Shared housing is also a popular option, especially for single expats and those who want to save more money. Average monthly prices (in Australian dollars) are as follows:

Furnished 2 bedroom house                  1,100

Unfurnished 2 bedroom house               1,080

Furnished 2 bedroom apartment            1,250

Unfurnished 2 bedroom apartment            950

Room in shared house                               490

When you come to sign your rental contract and pay your first month’s rent, you'll probably also have to pay a security deposit or bond,
which usually amounts to about six weeks rent.

Bear in mind that you’re going to be relying heavily on some sort of air conditioning in the hotter summer months, which may push up
the price of your utility bills. However, the fact that you’re highly unlikely to ever need the central heating goes some way to compensate!

If you’re looking to buy a property then you’re in luck! House prices in Australia – especially for those who've negotiated themselves a generous salary package – are affordable.  But, the property market can move fast and it’s also a somewhat complicated process for foreign


The Australian government subsidises medical expenses through a system called Medicare, which offers free emergency hospital care and also helps with the costs of seeing a doctor and paying for treatments. In most cases, you’ll have to pay for the treatment at the time but then receive a refund for some of the cost. Don’t get too excited though! Many expats aren’t eligible for this scheme and will, subsequently, have to pay for any medical help they need.

Some countries have what’s known as a Reciprocal Health Care Agreement with Australia and expats from these places will have limited Medicare cover. This currently includes New Zealand, the United Kingdom,
Ireland, Italy, Malta, Finland, Sweden, the Netherlands and Belgium.

If you’re unlucky enough not to be covered by Medicare, emergency medical treatment can be very costly. For instance, an emergency appendix removal can cost up to $30,000 (£19,473 or €22,302).

Many Australians choose to get private health insurance to cover the costs that Medicare doesn’t stretch to and, even if you’re privately insured, you can still choose to be treated as a public patient whenever you wish.

Culture Snapshot

Australia is one of the most popular expat destinations in the world. It offers an eclectic mix of breath-taking countryside, cosmopolitan cities and deserted outback; not to mention a varied cultural mix.

If you're fond of the beach and the culture that surrounds it then this really is the destination for you! Australia is surrounded by three oceans - the Pacific, Indian and Southern - and there are 7,000 officially identified beaches around the coastline. With their white sand, blue seas and wealth of marine life, Australian beaches are amongst the most beautiful in the world. And, of course, no visit to Australia would be complete
without at least one attempt at surfing!

Australians take their sports, especially rugby and cricket, very seriously and sport-loving expats will be able to enjoy famous events
such as the Australian Open, The Bathurst 1000 and the Melbourne F1 Grand Prix.


One great thing about relocating to Australia is the climate. The country boasts more than 3,000 hours of sunshine a year and an annual average summer temperature of 84°F (29°C). As a result, outdoor activities and social events
are popular pastimes.
Winter in Australia begins in June and finishes at the end of August and has average temperatures of around 13°C. For many expats,
going for a swim in the sea in the depths of winter will be an odd experience!


Skiing and other snow-based activities are popular during the winter months. You’ll be able to ski in the mountains in New South Wales, in
the Alpine regions of Victoria, and in some of the high-altitude national parks in Tasmania. 

The Australian outback is world-renowned and rightly so. It’s home to some remarkable natural sights, such as Uluru (more commonly called Ayers Rock), one of the most popular tourist
attractions in Australia. Listed as a World Heritage Site, Uluru is a 348m high sandstone formation. It’s considered to be sacred by two of the indigenous Aboriginal tribes and the base is decorated with ancient cave paintings.
Working life

Australia's unemployment rate is holding steady at 4.9% (As of June 2011) and in the year to August 2010, full-time adult earnings rose by 4.2% for males and 4.7% for females. (Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics)

On the whole, business in Australia is conducted in a friendly but professional manner and the country is rapidly evolving into one of the easiest and most interesting places in which to do business.

There’s an emphasis on getting along with colleagues and being a part of a team. Honesty, speaking directly and getting things done is often considered more important than diplomacy so don’t be put off by colleagues that appear to be rather blunt.

All local costs/regulations correct as of October 2011. While Fabric and PRWeek endeavour to provide the correct information they accept no liability.




The Australian is the main national print newspaper, but there are many based in specific cities or states such as: the Sydney Morning Herald, and The Daily Telegraph also in Sydney; Melbourne's Herald Sun and The Age; Brisbane's Courier Mail; The West Australian in Perth; and The Advertiser in Adelaide.

The Australian Financial Review is a major

source of business news and Madison, Vogue, Gourmet, Traveller and Marie Claire are all key influencers in the consumer market.

Broadcast is dominated by free-to-air channels the Seven, Nine and Ten networks, and more recently by sports-focused channel Channel One. SBS and ABC networks all offer a more international schedule.

According to Nielsen, by July 2009 80% of Australians, around 17 million of them were online. By June 2011 more than 10 million Australians were Facebook members.[AB2]  As in so many markets around the world, digital media is growing at a startling pace, and PR professionals are working hard to keep up.

Major Brands

Brands leading the way with editorial coverage in the Australian media are the multinationals such as McDonald's, Microsoft, Coca-Cola, Singtel, and Toyota and local retail brands Woolworths,

Coles Supermarkets, David Jones and Myer. Other important brands in Australia include conglomerate Wesfarmers, National Australia Bank, and telecommunications company Telstra.


Broadly speaking, there are three types of PR agency in Australia. All the global groups are represented, and at the 2010 Asia-Pacific Awards, there were awards and mentions for Porter Novelli, Ogilvy PR Australia and Text 100 Sydney.

The second group is the UK satellite office. With

a common language, and what many see as a more compatible culture than the US, Australia is an increasingly popular destination for successful UK agencies looking to position themselves as an international network. In reality many of these Australian satellite offices are the

result of an Australian member of staff leaving the UK for home.

Finally, there is a host of local boutique agencies, many of which specialise in the technology, consumer, travel and healthcare sectors.

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