While Perth may have a reputation for being involved in the mining boom, it is now in the process of transformation. Perth is one of the world’s most isolated cities, and it is forging a contemporary personality, with cultural depth and an eclectic job market. Industries such as IT, business consultancy, digital marketing and technology have crept into Perth and began to revolutionise the economy, bringing with it a range of opportunities for graduates.
While the graduate job market might be smaller than that of many other Australian capital cities, it still hosts many graduate vacancies and internship positions. For example, IT specialists are currently in high demand as Perth continues to digitalise in order to keep pace with other cities around Australia.
Another major draw for graduates is the affordability of housing. While average housing prices across Australia’s capital cities are rising, Perth’s housing prices have dropped with the decline in the mining industry, making it one of the most affordable cities to live for young professionals. Perth is also Australia’s sunniest city, with an average of 8.8 hours of sunshine per day. A graduate looking for a good mix of lifestyle and job opportunity is likely to find it in Perth.
Figure 1: Number of employing businesses in Perth vs other Australian cities
Perth is home to 9.1% of all graduate opportunities in Australia, which represents 10.5% of the total income for the country. Perth is a great place for graduates to include in their search for employment, as 9.4% of Australian graduates find employment in Western Australia in one of the 75,000 businesses in Perth.
The greatest number of employment opportunities can be found in the healthcare, construction and retail trade industries. 127,800 people are employed in healthcare and social assistance related jobs alone. Utilities, information media and agriculture have the least number of employment opportunities in Perth, with agriculture, forestry and fishing employing 10,000 people or 1% of the total workforce.
Figure 2: Per cent of total employment per industry in Perth
Figure 3: Employment status of graduates with bachelor degrees in Western Australia
Out of all the graduates available for full-time employment, 66% are in a full-time job. A further 22% have found part-time or casual work, with 12% of graduates in Perth unable to find employment.
Figure 4: Perth annual growth rates vs other cities in Australia
Perth’s growth rate is slightly higher than the national average, sitting at an annual growth rate of 8.4%. Industries with impressive forecasted growth rates include health care, education, arts, recreation, construction, accommodation and food services. Industries forecasted to decline including mining, utilities, agriculture, forestry and fishing.
Figure 5: Annual growth rate across industries in Perth
Figure 6: Unemployment rates in Perth vs other cities in Australia
Unemployment rates for young people in Perth are slightly higher than the national average, with general youth unemployment sitting at 12.9% nationally but 13.7% in Perth. Unemployment for individuals aged 15 and over is the second highest in Australia, with 6.4% of adults unemployed in Perth – again, higher than the national average which is 5.6%. Graduate unemployment is also above average, with 12.4% of graduates in Western Australia looking for work but unable to find it. In the Perth metropolitan area, those numbers are more favourable for graduates looking for work. In areas with lower rates of unemployment, graduates should ensure their applications are competitive and try to lock down a position early. Attending a career fair or applying for entry-level positions can help.
Figure 7: Graduate unemployment rates in Western Australia vs other locations in Australia
Individuals employed as labourers, or in sales, community and personal services, make up the smallest proportion of the Perth workforce. The most common occupations are professionals, managers, technicians and trades workers. Perth has the fourth-highest proportion of full-time workers in professional occupations, with more than 25% of Perth’s workforce employed in a professional capacity.
Figure 8: Percentage of full-time employees working as professionals in Perth and other capital cities
GradAustralia surveyed graduates in Perth and found that the top 5 roles in Perth are:
Figure 9: Median and mean employee income in Perth and other capital cities
Across all workplaces in Perth, the median employee income is $52,963, significantly higher than the national average of $46,999. The mean income in Perth is notably higher than the median. With Perth individuals earning a mean income of $67,557, only Canberra offers more. The mean income in Perth is 27.6% above the median, which shows a disparity in pay rates for some positions, but also means there are likely to be well-paying job opportunities available in Perth.
Figure 10: Perth median graduate starting salary vs other states/territories
The opportunity for graduates to earn more than other areas is reflected in the relatively high median graduate starting salary on offer in Perth. At $57,000, Perth’s median graduate starting salary is the third highest in Australia, and $3,000 higher than the national average. There are many disciplines that offer their graduates a higher salary.
In Perth, employees in the fields of finance, law, and property earn slightly more than the average graduate. However, those going into jobs in the health and medical sciences and humanities can expect a significantly higher average wage – graduates from these disciplines can start on around $93,000.
Figure 11: Average graduate starting salary by discipline in Perth
Figure 12: Average work hours per week for graduates in Perth
The most common work week for graduates in Perth is 40-50 hours. 56% of respondents to a GradAustralia survey said their average work week fell somewhere in this range. More than a third said they worked fewer hours, with 37% indicating their work week was around 30-40 hours long. These two ranges represent the vast majority of the graduate workforce, with a total of 93% saying their work hours average 30-50 hours per week. The last 7% of graduates indicated that they worked between 50-70 hours per week. That puts the average Perth work week for graduates in the upper cohort when compared to other cities around Australia.
Figure 13: Average graduate working hours in Perth vs other cities
In a survey of Australian-based graduates, GradAustralia found that the average graduate job satisfaction is Perth falls just slightly below the national average. While graduates around Australia rate their job satisfaction at an average score of 8.5, graduates who live and work in Perth scored their satisfaction at 8.4.
Figure 13: Average job satisfaction for graduates in Perth vs other cities
Figure 14: Average diversity score in Perth vs other cities
Perth graduates perceive their workplaces to have high levels of diversity, with Perth being equal first with Darwin.
Figure 15: Gender comparison of workforce participation rates by industry in Perth
The average female participation rate in the Perth workforce is around 43%. Similarly to many parts of Australia, the industries with the highest percentage of female workers are health care and education. In comparison, the mining and construction industries have the lowest percentages of female workers, with 19.2% and 13.6% female participation respectively.
Figure 16: Median graduate starting salary for males and females in WA vs other states
The average starting salary for female bachelor-level graduates in Western Australia is $56,100. In comparison, their male counterparts start on an average salary of $58,000. Female graduates in Perth are likely to start on $3,000 more than the national average of $53,000. The average salary for male graduates in Western Australia is $3,000 less than the national average.
Graduate jobs applications in Perth tend to follow the usual cycle of opening for applications in March/ April, however, a small number of employers recruit throughout the year. Be prepared to get your application in early because the WA O-week and campus year usually kick off a week or two before eastern states. Some employers looking to hire in Perth can close their applications earlier than expected.
The most sought-after employers in Perth include:
When looking for graduate jobs, keep an eye on new listings on the GradAustralia website, and consider attending a graduate careers fair, which will allow you to connect with employers who offer graduate programs. These are usually held in the month of March and may be held in the city or at one of Perth’s universities.
The following events provide opportunities to students of all disciplines:
Universities also offer various career events to help you learn more about graduate jobs and employers:
Many employers also offer ‘entry-level’ jobs that are not specifically advertised as ‘graduate’ jobs. Keep an eye out for these on job boards such as SEEK.
If you're set on Perth 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:
If you’re not sure if Perth is the right place for your graduate job, check our moving guide to Perth.