Consider accessing the inviting blend of career opportunities and enviable lifestyle options that make Brisbane a great choice for graduates. Brisbane is Australia’s fastest-growing capital city for employment, ahead of Sydney, Melbourne and Perth. Brisbane’s 2 million inhabitants enjoy access to many different parks, dining precincts, cultural and sporting events and a great pace of life. The weather in Brisbane is subtropical, with mild winters and humid summers. The weather allows locals to take full advantage of their surroundings and proximity to major tourist areas like the Sunshine Coast and Gold Coast.
The city also boasts a range of lifestyle benefits that might appeal to someone looking for graduate jobs in Brisbane – comparatively low house prices, annual salaries sitting above the national average, and opportunities available with some of the largest companies in Australia. Housing prices in Brisbane sit at $480,000, well below Sydney($750,000) and Melbourne ($590,000), which can be an enticing draw card for a graduate who is a potential first home buyer.
Brisbane is known for its mining, agriculture, and financial services. It produces and exports many resources such as coal, iron ore, and natural gas. The Queensland State government has also been pushing the ‘Smart State’ initiative, investing heavily in the technology and science sectors and moving towards a greater reliance on sustainable energy. It is because of this push towards greener living that public transport is among the best in the country, equipped with a modernised train system and free buses which circulate throughout the inner city. Competitive graduate salaries, low housing prices and a booming job market make Brisbane a great city for a working graduate to kick start their career.
Considering its size, Brisbane is an extremely competitive place for graduates to look for work. Brisbane offers just under 10% of all graduate jobs in Australia which net their employees just over 10% of all the employment income in Australia. Queensland has a disproportionate number of graduate employment opportunities, with over 21% of Australian graduates finding employment in the state. 8.8% of Australians businesses are located in Brisbane, which is made up of more than 75,000 businesses employing one or more people. That puts Brisbane third in the country for the number of employing businesses, but with the high percentage of graduates finding employment it makes the region worth considering for people about to begin their career.
Figure 1: Number of employing businesses in Brisbane vs other Australian cities
While Brisbane does have a wide range of industries that offer opportunities for recent university graduates, the top industries within the city are healthcare, retail and construction. Queensland has a number of opportunities in mining, utilities and agriculture, but these areas have the least number of opportunities within the city itself.
Figure 2: Per cent of total employment per industry in Brisbane
The vast majority of graduates in Queensland who are available for paid employment have found work. 89% of bachelor-level graduates who said they were available for full-time employment had found work, with 72% in full-time work, with 11% of graduates unable to find work at the time of the study.
Figure 3: Bachelor graduate status in Queensland
Brisbane has an impressive growth rate for a compact city, third only to the larger cities of Melbourne and Sydney. As the third-fastest growing city in Australia, new opportunities are being created and industries are expanding, which means more work for graduates. Health care, professional services, and education are the fastest growing industries within the city, which creates a positive outlook for graduates specialising in these areas. The manufacturing, mining and agriculture industries are growing at a much slower pace with fewer opportunities available within the greater city area of Brisbane.
Figure 4: Annual growth rate across industries in Brisbane
Figure 5: Unemployment rates in Brisbane vs other cities in Australia
The general unemployment rate of 15+ youth and adults is slightly higher than the national average, but the rate of youth unemployment (ages 15-24) is slightly lower. Brisbane has a relatively good track record for providing employment for younger jobseekers, particularly recent graduates. Of Queensland’s graduates, 11.4% who are actively looking for work have been unable to secure employment, which places the state right around the national average.
Figure 6: Graduate unemployment rates in Queensland vs other locations in Australia
Figure 7: Per cent of total employment by occupation in Brisbane
There is a spread of occupations across a wide range of industries within Brisbane. Sales workers, community service workers, and machinery operators were among the least common occupations. On the other hand, the most common occupations are managers, professionals, and technicians and trades workers. In fact, Brisbane has the third highest number of professionals as full-time workers out of all the major Australian cities, once again only coming in behind Sydney and Melbourne.
According to graduate survey results, the top 5 roles in Brisbane are:
Figure 8: Median and mean employee income in Brisbane and other capital cities
Brisbane ranks fifth for median income out of the major Australian cities, although both the median and mean income figures are slightly higher than the national averages. The median income for Brisbane employees is $48,600, with the mean income at $58,584. That makes the mean income in Brisbane 20.5% above the median, which points towards a number of high-paying jobs on offer in the city.
The median graduate starting salary in Queensland is $54,000, which is on par with the national average. However, with Brisbane’s favourable rate of growth and lower cost of living, the average salary could potentially stretch further than in many other regions throughout Australia.
Figure 9: Brisbane median graduate starting salary vs other states/territories
The disciplines in Brisbane which attract the highest starting salary are engineering, business, and property, with graduates of law, science and humanities also above Queensland’s average starting wage.
Figure 10: Average graduate starting salary by discipline in Brisbane
Figure 11: Graduate job hours distribution in Brisbane
Graduate jobs in Brisbane offer a wide range of working hours, with variations between industries and employers. The average weekly working hours for a graduate in Brisbane is 42 hours per week. That being said, more than 50% of graduates work between 40-50 hours a week, with 65% working between 40-70 hours a week. That puts Brisbane on the high end of Australian capital cities in terms of working hours, falling behind only Sydney when it comes to the most hours worked on average.
Figure 12: Brisbane average graduate working hours vs other cities
In Australia, graduates rate their job satisfaction at 8.5/10. Graduates who are employed in Brisbane are slightly more satisfied, with an average rating of 8.7/10. Only graduates working in Darwin are more satisfied. The high rate of job satisfaction, combined with the relatively high level of pay and lower living costs than many other areas all speak in Brisbane’s favour.
Figure 13: Average job satisfaction score in Brisbane vs other cities
While Brisbane claims to have a diverse population, the city has a way to go when it comes to increasing diversity in the workplace. According to GradAustralia survey results, Brisbane has some of the least diverse workplaces in Australia, and by a reasonably significant margin. At 8.1/10, Brisbane’s diversity score falls below the national average score of 8.5/10.
Figure 14: Average diversity score in Brisbane vs other cities
There is also a fairly significant gender divide in Brisbane-based workplaces. The industries with the highest rates of female participation are healthcare and education, with the construction and mining industries being mostly comprised of male workers. Industries such as accommodation and food services, or administrative and support services have the most even split between males and females.
Figure 15: Male and female participation rates by industry in Brisbane
The average graduate starting salary for a male graduate with a bachelor degree in Queensland is $55,000 per year. For females, that number drops to $53,000. These wage averages are similar to the national average in Australia.
Figure 16: Median graduate starting salary for males and females in Brisbane vs other cities
The most sought-after employers in Brisbane include: