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Jobs and Working Conditions in Brisbane

Expats working in Brisbane contribute to the economic growth engine of Australia’s second-largest state. Will you soon join them? Our guide to working in Brisbane introduces the urban economy, the job market, local working conditions, as well as taxes and pensions for expatriates in Queensland.
Dynamic applicants will soon succeed in their search for a new job in the “Sunshine State”.
If you are looking for work in Brisbane outside a typical expatriate assignment, we have given an overview of the urban economy on the previous page.

Brisbane’s unemployment rate was 5.7 percent in February 2016, just as bit lower than the national average of 5.8 percent, so your prospects on the job market aren’t actually bad. In general, the workforce of Queensland can be categorized by sectors as follows: retail, energy, resources, logistics, manufacturing, construction, healthcare and social assistance, and education.

Whereas some of these sectors — like retail — recruit their labor force from local candidates, others have a near-constant demand of overseas labor, especially advanced manufacturing or healthcare and social assistance.

The Job Search in Brisbane: Eligible Skills

The demand for experienced employment candidates is also reflected in the so-called overseas eligible skills lists for migration to Queensland:

Even if you are not trying to apply for a sponsored visa or permanent residence, these lists give you a good impression of the relevant fields where you might find job vacancies in Brisbane and beyond. However, if you do consider migrating to Australia, don’t forget to have your professional skills assessed. The skills assessment process is an essential part of any application for skilled visa types. You need to contact the relevant assessing authority for your trade yourself.

Suspension of Offshore Skilled Visa Nominations:

According to Business and Skilled Migration Queensland, applications submitted between 25 July 2016 and 31 July 2016 will still be processed. However, as of 1 August 2016, Queensland is not accepting any new EOI’s (expressions of interest). This suspension is needed to address the current backlog of EOI’s received from the Australian Government and is in effect until further notice. Nonetheless, this suspension will most likely only be temporary.  This has no effect on people who currently hold this visa; it is only aimed at people who would like to apply.

The Job Search in Brisbane: Resources

No matter whether you’d like to work in Brisbane temporarily or have arrived with a permanent visa, you still need a job to earn a living. In addition to canvassing newspapers like the Australian, the Financial Review, the Brisbane Courier Mail, and the Brisbane Times, these online job portals come in handy:

You might also get in touch with Australian and international recruitment agencies such as Australia Wide Personnel, Hays, or Michael Page International. Moreover, your home country’s foreign chamber of commerce may have a job exchange, newsletter, etc., and it is always worth contacting your industry association in Australia for networking in the Brisbane area.

Working Conditions in Brisbane: Wages and Hours

Once you have landed an employment offer in Brisbane, you’ll be interested in the local working conditions. First of all, you should find out if your position is included in a so-called “award” (i.e. an industry agreement). Such an agreement describes most of your employment conditions in detail. If this is not the case, read up on general working conditions as regulated by the Australian government.

The nationwide minimum wage amounts to 15.96 AUD per hour, and full-time employees work 38 hours a week. However, this does not apply to management positions and executive jobs, where you are often expected to stay on longer to complete a project, prepare a meeting, etc.

All employees can be asked to work additional hours if this is both necessary for the company and reasonable for the staff. In most cases, this also means overtime pay or compensatory time off.

Working Conditions: Public Holidays and Annual Leave

While working in Brisbane, you are legally entitled to four weeks of annual leave as well as ten days of paid personal leave (e.g. due to illness). Many Australian companies grant their staff 25 days off, though, so you have some leverage in negotiating your contract. Furthermore, there are eight national public holidays and a couple of holidays in each state or territory, for example Labour Day in all of Queensland and an extra day off for all Brisbanites on occasion of the Royal Queensland Show.

Expat parents will be glad to hear that each member of an employed couple has a right to twelve months of (unpaid) parental leave, including de facto partners and adoptive parents. The only condition is that you have been with your employer for at least twelve months before the baby’s due date.

For every baby born after January 01, 2011, the Australian government also grants a full 18 weeks of parental allowance at the rate of the current minimum wage. As a former full-time employee turned stay-at-home parent, you’ll thus receive 2425.92 AUD per month.


We do our best to keep this article up to date. However, we cannot guarantee that the information provided is always current or complete. 

Benoit Julien

"Before moving to Brisbane I contacted 5 members of their InterNations community. Today 3 of them are my friends."

Gabriela Jaquez

"As a traveling spouse it was not always easy to meet interesting people abroad. On InterNations I have many of them here in Brisbane in no time."

Global Expat Guide