Brisbane at a Glance
Working in BrisbaneiStockphoto
Brisbane’s central business district is the growth engine of the Queensland economy.
By working in Brisbane, you will be participating in a dynamic urban economy. The city, as well as its metropolitan area, is often called Queensland’s “economic engine room” for its contribution to the state’s economic activities. In 2009, for instance, the labor force in Brisbane created nearly 50% of Queensland’s entire economic output.
The Effect of the 2010-11 Floods
Australia in general has a good economic climate at the moment. The country is now looking back on 20 consecutive years of economic growth. It doesn’t come as a surprise that in 2010, the International Monetary Fund rated Australia as the developed country with the best economic prospects. However, it was Queensland that cost the national economy 0.5% of its annual growth in the following year – as a result of the flooding in December 2010 and January 2011.
The state had actually suffered from a period of draught until 2010 when the dry weather ended in heavy thunderstorms and lots of rain. People living and working in Brisbane were hit less hard than other regions in Queensland, but the floods were still a major natural disaster, the worst in almost 40 years.
The inundations disrupted railway lines, flooded mining sites, and had a negative effect on local agriculture as well. The employees of Queensland’s coal industry were particularly affected. However, natural disasters of such severity are fortunately isolated events, and the economic recovery is well under way.
Queensland – the Economy of a Resource State
Unlike most people working in Brisbane, a considerable part of the labor force in Queensland is employed in jobs associated with the primary sector. Except for tourism and finance, the Queensland economy is mainly based on mining and agriculture. In rural Queensland, plenty of residents raise cattle or sheep, grow cotton or sugar cane, and harvest wheat, vegetables, bananas, or citrus fruit.
In addition to the booming agribusiness, the mining industry is very active in Queensland, a typical resource state. Among the numerous resources, coal, natural gas, bauxite, ores and metals like copper, zinc or lead, stones that are often used as building materials, silver, and gems are of particular importance. Agricultural produce and natural resources are also key exports, mostly to Asian countries like Japan, India, Korea, China, and Taiwan.
Unlike Queensland, working in Brisbane is an excellent opportunity for people with specialized skills in manufacturing or services. The urban region is currently moving towards a knowledge economy with a special emphasis on future growth sectors, research and development. Mining still plays a huge role for many employees working in the Southeast Queensland area. However, the focus lies on providing highly specialized mining technologies and services for the rest of the state rather than the excavation process itself.
Working in Brisbane as an expat may also be of interest to you if you have the necessary qualifications or professional experience in one of the following fields: financial services, energy production (with a move away from fossil fuels towards clean tech), information and communication technology, food-processing, or life sciences like pharmaceutics, diagnostics and biotech. Furthermore, there are a considerable number of people in the tourist industry or Brisbane’s fairly diversified secondary sector.
Skilled laborers and experts working in Brisbane’s manufacturing industries are involved in various occupations related to machinery and equipment, plastics and metals, robotics and microelectronics, packaging and recycling, or marine industries such as yacht-building. Obviously, you shouldn’t forget that Brisbane is a booming port city, too. As such, it provides plenty of jobs in the logistics and distribution sector, which takes care of the 37 million tons of cargo handled in the harbor every year.
Your foreign assignment in Brisbane will probably lead you to a new position in one of the aforementioned industries. If you are interested in working in Brisbane outside a typical intra-company transfer, though, you can find a few useful job-hunting tips in the next part of our article series on working in Brisbane.