The Northern Territory offers unique career and lifestyle opportunities for university graduates searching for their first graduate job. The Northern Territory provides a large number of job opportunities in the construction, mining, public administration, healthcare and education sectors.
The Northern Territory's mining sector is driven by the production of minerals, energy and petroleum, and it contributes roughly $2.5 billion to the state's gross state product, employing more than 4,600 people. The highest average graduate starting salary of any state is found in the Northern Territory. That being said, the remote locations of major centres in the Northern Territory can mean that the cost of living is higher than in other states and territories.
The Northern Territory has gained an undeserved reputation for issues around job availability and unemployment, however, the Northern Territory actually offers the third highest rate of employment in the country. Part of the reason behind the availability of jobs is the thriving mining and tourism industries.
Graduates are in demand for management positions in businesses involved within the mining industry, with the likes of Glencore regularly offering graduate development programs. The Northern Territory may be remote, but it offers beautiful surroundings and some of the highest levels of graduate job satisfaction in Australia.
The Northern Territory is host to 1.1% of all employment opportunities, who earn 1.2% of all national income. This area has the fewest jobs in Australia, although that is balanced by the lower population numbers. 6,022 businesses are located in the Northern Territory, which is just over half the number of employment opportunities found in the next lowest state, ACT.
Figure 1: Number of employing businesses in the Northern Territory (NT) vs other states/territories
The top employing industries in the Northern Territory are public administration, health care and construction. The construction and public administration industries tend to be less prominent in other states and territories, so graduates pursuing a career in one of these industries would benefit from considering the Northern Territory. Telecommunications, financial services and agriculture contribute fewer employment opportunities in the Northern Territory.
Figure 2: Per cent of total employment per industry in the Northern Territory (NT)
The Northern Territory has a fairly impressive rate of employment for university graduates: 80% of bachelor-level graduates in the Northern Territory who are available for work, are in full-time employment, with a further 8% working in part-time or casual jobs. 12% of graduates seeking employment in the Territory are not working.
Figure 3: Employment status of graduates with a bachelor degree in the Northern Territory (NT)
Figure 4: Northern Territory annual growth rates vs other states/territories
The Northern Territory’s growth rate is slightly below the national average. The five-year outlook for the area is around 7.4%, which is just below the national average of 8.3%. Still, the Northern Territory has the fourth highest growth rate when compared to the other states and territories, with only New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland having a higher forecasted growth rate over the next five years.
Figure 5: Annual growth rate across industries in the Northern Territory (NT)
Growing industries with the highest growth rates in the Northern Territory include public administration and safety, construction, health care and social assistance. Accommodation and food services, administration, education and training also offer promising job opportunities in the Northern Territory. The mining and manufacturing industries are in decline, whilst the wholesale trade, information media and telecommunications industries are growing at a slower rate.
Figure 6: Unemployment rates in the Northern Territory (NT) vs other states in Australia
Going against public assumptions about unemployment in the Northern Territory, the area actually has the lowest rate of unemployment in the country, for both young people and for the general working population. The rate of unemployment of people over the age of 15 in the Northern Territory sits at only 3.2%, well below the national average of 5.6%. Youth unemployment is even further below the national average – at 7.9%, the Northern Territory has far better results than the national average of 12.9% for youth unemployment.
Figure 7: Graduate unemployment rates in the Northern Territory (NT) vs other states/territories in Australia
For graduate jobs, the numbers tell a slightly different story. Graduate unemployment in the Northern Territory is at 12.2%, which is higher than the national average of 11.3%. In fact, the Northern Territory has the third highest rate of graduate unemployment around Australia.