Known for its capital city, New South Wales offers a significant number of graduate jobs to university graduates in Australia, with the second lowest graduate unemployment rate in the country.
New South Wales offers graduates an enviable lifestyle, with its temperate climate, pristine beaches, vineyards and mountains. New South Wales offers a thriving metropolitan center, bustling suburban communities and rural neighbourhoods. New South Wales is Australia’s most multicultural state, and boasts a leading art, culture and tourism scene.
While Sydney is notorious for extremely high house prices, regional New South Wales offers affordable housing and a reasonable cost of living, with a high quality of life. Graduates considering New South Wales have the benefit of a wide range of graduate opportunities and living options to consider.
Out of over 12 million employment opportunities in Australia, 31% of these jobs can be found in New South Wales. These jobs account for around one third of the entire employment income in Australia. 32% of graduate students in Australia find employment in New South Wales, which is not surprising, considering that New South Wales has the most employing businesses in Australia – over 300,000 businesses with one or more employees are located in the state, which is equal to 35% of all Australian businesses. New South Wales far eclipses every other state, offering more opportunities to graduates than any other state or territory.
Figure 1: Number of employing businesses in New South Wales (NSW) vs other states/territories
As a destination for many regional offices for global organisations, New South Wales offers a notable variety of employment opportunities for graduates. Industries which employ the most workers in the state are health care and social services, professional, scientific and technical services as well as retail, construction and education and training. The industries employing the least number of people are agriculture, forestry, fishing, utilities and mining.
Figure 2: Per cent of total employment per industry in New South Wales (NSW)
Figure 3: Employment status of graduates in New South Wales
New South Wales graduates reflect Australia-wide statistics, with 70% of graduates who are available for full-work able to secure full-time graduate jobs. A further 19% have found part-time or casual employment and 11% of graduates in New South Wales who are looking for work have been unable to secure a position.
Figure 4: New South Wales (NSW) annual growth rates vs other states/territories of Australia
New South Wales reflects Australia’s economic resilience, with a project annual growth rate of almost 10%, higher than any other state or territory in the country, with Victoria trailing behind at 8.8%. New South Wales benefits from strong international links and significant private business investment, making New South Wales a choice destination for university graduates looking for their first full time job.
Most states show growth in areas including health care and education, and New South Wales is no exception. The growth in industries including real estate, professional services and the arts gives New South Wales a point of difference that could be attractive to recent graduates. Mining, agriculture, manufacturing and utilities have shown negative growth, so graduates looking for work in these areas could struggle to find a position and would most likely need to seek work elsewhere.
Figure 5: Annual growth rate across industries in New South Wales (NSW)
Figure 6: Unemployment rates in New South Wales (NSW) vs other states/territories in Australia
Unemployment in New South Wales falls just slightly below the national average. At 12%, youth unemployment in New South Wales is slightly lower than the national average of 12.9%, with unemployment for all adults aged 15 and over falling at 5%, slightly under the Australia-wide unemployment rate of 5.6%.
Similarly, graduates in New South Wales are highly likely to find employment, with the second lowest percentage of unemployed graduates in the country. 10% of graduates in New South Wales are looking for full-time work but remain unemployed, with the Australian Capital Territory reflecting a lower graduate unemployment rate of 9.1%.
Figure 7: Graduate unemployment rates in New South Wales (NSW) vs other states/territories
Figure 8: Per cent of total employment by occupation in New South Wales (NSW)
New South Wales offers a high number of corporate and office based job opportunities, with 28% of New South Wales workers employed as professionals and 15% employed as clerical and administrative workers.
The least common occupations are sales workers, labourers, machinery operators and drivers. New South Wales has the second highest proportion of full-time workers in professional occupations of any state in Australia, with 16.5% of its full-time workers in a professional role.
Figure 9: Percentage of full-time employees working as professionals in New South Wales
GradAustralia surveyed university graduates throughout Australia and found that the top 5 roles in New South Wales are:
Wages in New South Wales are unlikely to be the only reason to move, but they’re not a deterrent either. New South Wales sits squarely in the middle when it comes to mean and median salaries in comparison to other Australian states. New South Wales has a median employee income of $47,500, with a mean income of $59,500. This places the mean income 25% above the median, which means there are plenty of jobs with wages above average that a graduate could grow into.
Figure 10: Median and mean employee income in New South Wales (NSW) and other locations
Figure 11: New South Wales (NSW) median graduate starting salary vs other states/territories
Graduates working in New South Wales can expect to start on a median salary of $54,000 per annum, which is equivalent to the national average starting salary for graduates. There are many other states which offer a higher starting salary, but the prevalence of jobs and other lifestyle factors make graduate jobs in New South Wales worth pursuing.
A number of disciplines in New South Wales offer a higher starting salary than the median amount. Law graduates start on an average of $77,000, property and built environment starting on $73,000 and engineering, maths, IT and computer sciences graduates starting on an average salary of $68,000. On average, health and medical science graduates are offered the lowest salaries, starting their graduate jobs on an average of $53,000.
Figure 12: Average graduate starting salary by discipline in New South Wales
Figure 13: Average work hours per week for graduates in New South Wales (NSW)
Compared to other states, graduates in New South Wales need to be prepared for the possibility that their graduate job might involve a longer working week. The majority of graduates report an average work week of 40-50 hours, with some even averaging 80-90 hours a week. 24% of graduates in New South Wales average 50 hours or more. That gives New South Wales the second longest work week in Australia, with only Northern Territory graduates stating that they average more hours.
Figure 14: New South Wales (NSW) average graduate working hours vs other states/territories
Figure 15: Average job satisfaction for graduates in New South Wales (NSW) vs other states/territories
Graduates in New South Wales rate their job satisfaction just slightly above the national average, with a rating of 8.6 as compared to Australia’s 8.5. For graduates seeking work opportunities, it’s worth noting that most other graduates who have found employment in the state are happy with their job.
New South Wales reflects a vibrant array of cultures, with a quarter of it’s 1.8million residents born overseas, representing one third of all overseas-born residents in Australia. Of overseas-born residents of New South Wales, 15% originated from the United Kingdom, 9% from China, 6% from New Zealand and 5% from India.
In GradAustralia’s survey of graduate students, New South Wales scored just slightly higher than the national average for diversity within the workplace, putting the state at the higher end compared with other states and territories in Australia.
Figure 16: Average diversity score in New South Wales (NSW) vs other states/territories
Average female participation in all occupations in New South Wales is around 41%. Like many other states and territories in Australia, health care and education have the highest rates of female participation. As is also the case in many Australian states, construction and mining have the fewest females in the workplace, as a percentage of all workers.
Figure 17: Male and female participation rates by industry in New South Wales (NSW)
New South Wales has the largest gap between male and female graduate starting salaries out of all the states in Australia. On average, male bachelor degree graduates in New South Wales start on $55,000, with females starting on $52,000 – male graduates start with a salary that is 6% higher than their female counterparts.
Figure 18: Median graduate starting salary for males and females in New South Wales (NSW) vs other states/territories
GradAustralia surveyed graduates throughout Australia and found that the most sought-after employers in New South Wales include:
When looking for graduate jobs in New South Wales, keep an eye on new listings on the GradAustralia website, where you’ll find the latest graduate programs, internships as well as career advice for university graduates. You can sign up for updates from GradAustralia on our website..
In addition to checking the GradAustralia website, consider attending a graduate careers fair, which will allow you to connect with employers who offer in-demand graduate programs. These career fairs are usually held in the month of March and may be held in the city or at one of New South Wales’s universities.
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 also offer ‘entry-level’ jobs that are not specifically advertised as ‘graduate’ programs. Keep an eye out for these on job boards such as SEEK.
Many of the larger employers will start accepting applications as early as January or February, so get in early. Register for job alerts on GradAustralia to ensure you’re on top of all the new opportunities and closing dates.
If you're set on a starting your graduate career in New South Wales but still not sure what you want to do, or if you haven't had any luck locking down a graduate job, you might want to consider: