Melbourne is consistently ranked as one of the world’s most livable cities for a reason. Known for its vibrancy, culture and diversity, Melbourne is full of amazing cafes, art laden streetscapes and an eclectic blend of social hubs to enjoy.
Graduates and young professionals working in Melbourne can take advantage of a metropolitan transportation system that is second to none, with an extensive train, tram, bus and taxi network. Melbourne tram network is the largest in Australia and has of 250 km of track covering much of the city.
Another factor for young graduates considering a job in Melbourne might be real estate prices. Whilst expensive, Melbourne is still considered great value for money relative to Sydney. Unit affordability is expected to further improve with the average price dropping by 2% in the coming year.
Luckily for soon-to-be graduates, Melbourne also has a great mix of graduate jobs on offer. Being the second largest city in Australia, Melbourne has a diversified economy and a competitive job market, with opportunities spanning from research and education to finance and manufacturing.
The city of Melbourne has the second highest concentration of employers in Australia, second only to Sydney. According to the ABS, there are around 165,000 businesses with one or more employees operating in Melbourne; about 20% of all Australian businesses.
Melbourne is home to one in five of all employment opportunities and accounting for 19% of Australia's employment income. Out of all graduating students in Australia, 23% end up employed in Victoria. Being an important financial centre, some of the nation's largest and most influential companies are situated in Melbourne, with the likes of ANZ, NAB, Telstra and Glencore all calling Melbourne home. NAB & ANZ both take on a hefty number of graduates for a variety of roles each year. CSL, one of the world's top five biotech companies, and Sigma Pharmaceuticals (the largest pharmaceutical company in Australia) are based in Melbourne and compete for the brightest pharmacy graduates in the nation.
Figure 1: Number of employing businesses in Melbourne vs other Australian cities
The industry in Melbourne with the most number of employees is health care, with around 304,000 employees or over 12% of the cities total employment market. Retail, professional services, manufacturing, and education and training round out the top five sectors with each accounting for over 8.5% of overall employment opportunities. Not surprisingly, ABS data show there are relatively fewer employment opportunities in mining, agriculture, and utilities in Melbourne, each accounting for less than 1% of overall employment respectively. The industry with the least number of employees is mining, with 6,100 employees. To put that into context, the mining sector is estimated to account for just over 6,000 employees in Melbourne, so if you’re set an finding a graduate job in the mining sector, it’s best to look to other cities closer the resources hubs.
Figure 2: Percent of total employment per industry in Melbourne
In Victoria, 66% of all bachelor graduates were already working full-time within 4 months of graduation; 22% were working part-time or casual, and 12% were not employed. According to the Graduate Outcomes Survey, 72% of bachelor graduates, 86% of masters by coursework graduates, and 80% of masters by research graduates were in full-time employment within four months after graduating.
Figure 3: Bachelor graduate status in Victoria
The average growth in Melbourne over the next five years across all industries is forecast to be just below 10%, compared to the growth rate in Australia overall which is 8.3%. This puts Melbourne second in terms of growth rate, just behind Sydney. Overall, Melbourne is a solid destination for graduates who are worried about long-term career prospects.
Figure 4: Melbourne annual growth rates vs other cities in Australia
Graduates looking for careers in Melbourne in health care, professional and technical services, rental, hiring, and real estate, hospitality, and education and training can expect many opportunities to open up over the next five years, with each having a growth rate above 13.5%. Health care leads the pack with a growth rate above 17%. Mining, manufacturing, and wholesale trade are at the bottom, forecast to have negative growth.
Figure 5: Annual growth rate across industries in Melbourne
The unemployment rate in Melbourne is about 6% compared to the Australian rate of 5.6%. Youth unemployment (those aged 15-24) in Melbourne is at 14%, compared to the Australian rate of about 13%.
Figure 6: Unemployment rates in Melbourne vs other cities in Australia
Graduate unemployment rates in Victoria sit around 12%, which is just above unemployment rates Australia-wide. In short, Melbourne is not the best destination in terms of overall graduate unemployment, but it still sits ahead of Tasmania, Western Australia, and the Northern Territory.
Figure 7: Graduate unemployment rates in Melbourne vs cities in Australia
According to ABS Labour Force surveys, the most common occupation roles (includes full-time and part-time roles) in Melbourne are professionals, followed by clerical and administrative workers, managers, and technicians and trades workers, with each respectively accounting for 13% or more of employment. Machinery operators and drivers account for the least amount of employment (at just below 6% with around 134,000 people working in that occupation), but this is of little concern given it’s not a common career path for most university graduates.
Figure 8: Percent of total employment by occupation in Melbourne
More relevant to recent university graduates are career paths that broadly fall into the ‘professionals’ category. Luckily for those graduates considering Melbourne for their first job, Melbourne has the second highest proportion of full-time workers employed in occupations classified as professionals, trailing only behind Sydney
Figure 9: Percentage of full-time employees working as professionals in Melbourne
After university, there are a wide range of different roles open to graduates across Melbourne. Some of the top role titles most commonly reported in GradAustralia's surveys of Melbourne graduates include:
According to the ABS, median employee income in Melbourne stands at $47,335 per annum, which is 0.7% above the national median of $46,999. This makes Melbourne the 6th ranked capital city for median employee income. The mean employee income in Melbourne, however, is $57,571 per annum (i.e. 21.6% above the median), indicating a high skew towards high income earners and high-income inequality.
Figure 10: Median and mean employee income in Melbourne and capital cities
The median graduate starting salary in Victoria was $52,000 per annum compared to an Australian average of $54,000 per annum. It is the only state/territory below the national average. If a high salary is your main motivator as a graduate, it could be worth looking further afield to less central locations like the Northern Territory, Australia Capital Territory, and Western Australia (where median graduate starting salaries are $59,500, $58,000, and $57,000 respectively).
Figure 11: Melbourne median graduate starting salary vs other states/territories
Based on GradAustralia’s graduate survey responses, students based in the engineering and mathematics discipline in Melbourne enjoy the highest average graduate salary at above $67,000 per annum. This is followed by humanities and arts, law, and science. The discipline with the lowest average salary in Melbourne was property and built environment, at just above $55,000 per annum.
Figure 12: Average graduate starting salary by discipline in Melbourne
Based on graduate survey responses, 87% of recent graduates in Melbourne work between 30 and 50 hours per week, with about an equal split between those working 30-40 hours per week (45%) and those working between 40-50 hours per week (42%).
Figure 13: Graduate job hours distribution in Melbourne
According to GradAustralia’s graduate job satisfaction survey, graduates in Melbourne report working on average around 42.5 hours per week which is in line with the national average. For comparison, the capital with the highest working hours is Sydney, around 45 hours per week, and the capital with the lowest average working hours is Hobart, around 37 hours per week.
Figure 14: Melbourne average graduate working hours vs other cities
Based on survey responses provided by recent graduates in Melbourne, the average job satisfaction is 8.4/10. This is the lowest of all capital cities. Perth and Canberra also ranked in the bottom half of capital cities with job satisfaction scores at or below the national average of 8.5/10. Darwin and Brisbane had the highest job satisfaction, with scores of 8.9 and 8.7 respectively.
Figure 15: Average job satisfaction score in Melbourne vs other cities
In a GradAustralia survey of recent graduates, respondents were asked to rate the diversity in their workplaces. The survey results report that the average rating of diversity in Melbourne is 8.3/10, just above Brisbane with the lowest score of capital cities at 8.1/10. Canberra, Sydney, Perth and Darwin had diversity ratings above the national average of 8.5/10, with Darwin having the top score of 8.8/10.
Figure 16: Average diversity score across cities
Women make up 40% of the overall workforce in Melbourne. The industries with the highest female participation rates are health care, education, retail, and rental/hiring, each with a participation rate of over 50%. The industry with the lowest female participation rate in Melbourne is construction, at about 10%.
Figure 17: Male and female participation rates by industry in Melbourne
The average graduate starting salary for male and female bachelor’s degree graduates in Victoria is equal, at $52,000 per annum. For comparison, the state with the highest gap in graduate starting salary was New South Wales with male graduates having on average 6% more than the starting salary of female graduates. At the other end, in the Australian Capital Territory, the male graduate starting salary was on average 5% less than that of female graduates. Data is not available for individual cities.
Figure 18: Median graduate starting salary for males and females in Melbourne vs other cities
The most sought-after graduate employers based in Melbourne include:
When looking for graduate jobs, keep an eye on new listings on the GradAustralia website, and consider attending a graduate careers fair, which are typically held in the month of March.
There are various career fairs that will allow you to connect directly with employers. The following events provide opportunities to students of all disciplines:
Universities also offer various career events to help you learn more about your future jobs and employers:
Many employers will also offer entry-level jobs that are not labelled as specifically as ‘graduate’ jobs, so it can pay to also keep an eye on general jobs boards like that of Melbourne-based SEEK.
If you're set on Melbourne but still not sure what you want to do, or haven't had any luck locking down a graduate job, you might want to consider: