Find Out How to Get a Job and Work in Perth

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  • Harald Waibl

    After I moved to Australia, InterNations helped me connect with some compatriots in Perth and thus start enjoying the expat way of life.

Employment in Perth

  • Despite the mining boom coming to an end, Western Australia’s economy has shown to be resilient by broadening the service sector.
  • The supply of available jobs in education, retail, healthcare, and social services is growing as Perth’s population increases.
  • Australia does not recognize diplomas from every institution; expats need to make sure they have the proper qualifications in order to look for a job in Perth.

A Transforming Economy

Working in Perth can be a prime career opportunity for the international professional. The economy of Western Australia is prospering. However, expats who consider working in Perth or Western Australia should be aware that the territory is going through an economic transformation, which will significantly impact the types of occupations available.

The exponential growth in the territory over the last few years is derived from the Asian investment in, and the construction of, the mining industry. However, the construction and mining boom is now over and the government faces the challenge of softening the transition from a construction economy to a less prosperous production economy.

Moreover, iron ore, one of Western Australia’s major exports, has plummeted on the international market, its price dropping by 50 percent in 2015 alone. This has had a severely negative impact on the local economy of Western Australia, and has resulted in a sharp decrease of the state’s economic growth. As a result, Western Australia lost the title of Australia’s strongest economy in 2015, as it was surpassed by New South Wales.

Nonetheless, expats considering applying for a visa and working in Perth should not fear. As experts say, if exports and imports were considered in the economic growth calculation, Western Australia would still have remained the most prosperous state. Hence, Western Australia will still stay relatively stable and could regain its place as the country’s leading economy within a few years.

Agriculture, Mining, Manufacturing

While much most of Perth’s and Western Australia’s economic success was once at one time based on agriculture, forestry, and fishing, agriculture is now rather detracting from the Gross State Product.

Although the agriculture industry is declining, Australian farmers still provide 93 percent of Australia’s food. Western Australia is the nation’s biggest grain producing state, as well as being a significant producer of meat and livestock, wine, honey, seafood, horticulture, dairy, and wool.  More than 80 percent of the state’s agricultural production is exported, mostly to Asia. While there may not be a lot of opportunities for skilled expats in the agriculture sector, it still supplies over 30,000 jobs to Western Australians.

In Western Australia, a large amount of people are employed in the mining industry. Of course, working in Perth’s mining industry is no longer the same as in the historical 1890s, when the city served as the gateway to the goldfields of the Australian west. Western Australia still possesses resources like gold, iron ore, diamonds, nickel, bauxite, crude oil, and natural gas.

Although the mining industry has many job opportunities, there are far fewer positions available in the mining and construction industries in 2016 than there were in 2011. Despite the fact that these two industries are not as profitable as they used to be, the Australian government still projects a substantial amount of growth to occur over the next five years.  Hence, there is still a need for qualified workers in the mining and construction industries in Western Australia.

While the manufacturing sector does not play a huge role for Western Australia in general, there is an industrial region around Kwinana, in the metropolitan area south of the capital, which could be of interest for expatriates. Taking up employment in Kwinana mostly translates to working in the heavy or petrochemical industries, metal processing or fabrication, support industries associated with the mining sector, or in the shipyards of the port. The growing service sector of the metro region, on the other hand, attracts far more people and presents a lot more opportunities for finding work in Perth.

The Service Sector and Future Job Prospects

At the moment, Western Australia’s service industry is exceptionally favorable for skilled expats. Whereas there are few job openings in IT, media, and arts, expats-to-be should keep an eye on education, retail, as well as healthcare and social services. These fields constantly require staff to address the increasing demands of Western Australia’s growing population, and those qualified in these areas could have a relatively easy time securing a work visa, due to the lack of qualified workers in the industry.

Another option to consider is Perth’s tourism industry. In 2016, over 874,000 international tourists visited Western Australia. This number is expected to grow substantially over the following years, because the city of Perth is planning on using more of its assets, beaches, and scenery to promote tourism.

Unsurprisingly, overseas migration is thus a major driver in regional demographic growth. In 2013, 63% of the annual population growth was attributed to foreign residents settling there. They, in turn, will require even more people working in the state to cater to their needs.

All in all, official reports are fairly positive as far as the state’s economic future is concerned. Although In May 2016, the unemployment rate of Western Australia rose to 5.7%, it was still a bit lower than the national average of 5.8%.

If you have the chance to start working in Perth, you should probably take it. One piece of information that may help you decide to work in Perth is that Western Australia is better prepared to weather a financial crisis that might come to haunt the EU or the USA. Thus, moving to Perth may keep you on the safe side of the global economy.

The Job Search in Perth, Australia

Demand for Qualified Workers

If you are interested in finding a job in Western Australia, especially in Perth, the constant demand for qualified employees in the region means that there is a wealth of job-related resources available online.

If you consider settling in Australia on a permanent basis, you need professional qualifications and experience relevant to either the entire country or a particular state or territory. Therefore make sure to check the so-called skilled occupation lists. They are updated annually by the national government as well as the individual state governments. Inside, they detail the jobs that may qualify you for a skilled migration visa to Australia.

Even if you don’t want to settle in Perth forever, these lists — especially the latter — give you a good idea which jobs are sought after on the national or regional labor market.

Qualifications and Skills Assessment for Working in Perth

Unfortunately, having acquired professional skills in your home country does not mean that your training and work experience will be immediately recognized worldwide. A certificate or diploma from some countries may be considered just a piece of paper in Perth. For this reason, you should explore the occupation profiles provided by the career center of Western Australia.

Choose the job title that best describes your current occupation and find out all about the respective occupation in Perth and Western Australia: job prospects, average salaries, working conditions, and most importantly, a succinct overview of the education required to work in such a job in Perth.

If you think that your previous training encompasses the necessary skills and professional knowledge, you should get in touch with the Overseas Qualification Unit of Western Australia. Talk to them about a formal qualification assessment. In this way, you can prove to potential employers in Perth that you have the right background for the position.

Overseas Qualifications Unit

DTWD Customer Service Centre

GPO Building

Level 7, 3 Forrest Place

Perth WA 6000

Phone: 9224 6530 (local) or + 61 8 9224 6500 (international)


Office hours Monday to Friday: 08:30-16:30

How to Find Job Vacancies in Perth

Once you know that your occupation is in demand in the Perth metro area and that you have the proper qualifications for working in Western Australia, you can begin searching for a job.

Even before you arrive in Australia, networking with other members of your trade or industry can help your chances a lot. Many vacancies are not advertised on the open market if the HR department can find a suitable candidate via personal business contacts. So think about joining the respective industry association for your field of work. The official occupation profiles for Western Australia feature important institutions and associations.

In addition to joining a business association, you can go looking for a job in the traditional way, i.e. by checking out the classifieds sections of major newspapers or clicking through online job portals. If you are searching for open positions in Perth, these are the papers and websites you should look into:

  • The Sydney Morning Herald   
  • The Australian
  • The West Australian
  • Mining News (features professional placements and upcoming industry events)

Working Conditions in Western Australia

Once you have found a suitable job in Perth, you may want to know more about working conditions. Full-time employees usually work 38 hours per week, with a legal right to overtime compensation. However, this does not apply to executive or management positions.

As far as vacations are concerned, you have a legal minimum of four weeks’ leave as well as ten more days of paid personal leave, for example in case of sickness. Moreover, you have Western Australia’s ten public holidays off as well.

Working parents may be happy to hear that the Australian government has introduced 18 weeks of parental leave, paid by the state, for every baby born after January 1, 2011. From January 1, 2013, the program includes another two weeks of Dad and Partner Pay for those parents who aren’t the baby’s primary caregiver.

If you’d like to read up on Australia’s business culture or topics like taxation and pension funds, please refer to our article on working in Australia for further details.

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  • Harald Waibl

    After I moved to Australia, InterNations helped me connect with some compatriots in Perth and thus start enjoying the expat way of life.

  • Barbara Richter

    Thanks to InterNations, I quickly found useful tips of where to search for a flat. And I met great global minds at the same time.

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