Queensland boasts a healthy economy and luxurious destinations, with job opportunities in a wide range of industries. The tourism sector offers enticing graduate positions and is a major part of the state’s economy, with an estimated value of $27 million per year. It’s unsurprising that Queensland is such a popular place to visit, with world-renowned destinations such as the Great Barrier Reef, Gold Coast, Cairns and the Whitsundays all located in the state.
The cost of living is lower in Queensland than many other states in Australia, particularly when comparing its capital city Brisbane with other capitals including Melbourne and Sydney. While the mining industry is no longer the major economic force it once was, many are hoping that it will boom again. Queensland has a solid mix of regional and metropolitan options for employment, and living costs are reasonable in most locations. As a great lifestyle option that offers competitive job opportunities and plenty of impressive places to visit in your spare time, Queensland is worth your consideration for your graduate job.
Figure 1: Number of employing businesses in Queensland (QLD) vs other states/territories
Queensland offers a fifth of all job opportunities in Australia, with 164,309 businesses located in the state. A slightly higher proportion of graduate students in Australia find employment in Queensland, with 21.5% securing jobs in the state.
Figure 2: Per cent of total employment per industry in Queensland (QLD)
Healthcare, retail and construction are the top employing industries in Queensland. Healthcare and social assistance alone employ 453,700 people. Professional, scientific and technical services also employ a high percentage of Queensland’s workforce. Electricity, gas, water and waste services employ the least number of Queensland’s workforce.
Figure 3: Employment status of graduates in Queensland (QLD) with a bachelor degree
Most graduates in Queensland available for full-time work are employed in full-time positions, whilst 17% are employed on a part-time or casual basis, with 11% of graduates unable to secure employment.
Figure 4: Queensland (QLD) annual growth rates vs other states/territories
Queensland comes in third place again when compared to other states and territories, with an annual growth rate of 7.9%, below the Australian average of 8.3%. Industries with the strongest positive growth include education and training, professional, scientific and technical services, as well as health care and social assistance. Mining, agriculture, forestry, fishing and manufacturing are all projected to decline whilst the utility industry will experience minimal growth.
Figure 5: Annual growth rate across industries in Queensland (QLD)
Figure 6: Unemployment rates in Queensland (QLD) vs other states/territories in Australia
At 13.5%, youth unemployment is the third highest in the country and just above the national average. Unemployment for adults aged 15 and over is 6.2%, the second-highest in Australia, above the national average of 5.6%. The picture for graduate unemployment is slightly more positive, only 11.4% of graduates in Queensland are unemployed, a rate lower than four other states in Australia.
Figure 7: Graduate unemployment rates in Queensland (QLD) vs other states/territories in Australia
Figure 8: Per cent of total employment by occupation in Queensland (QLD)
A large percentage of Queensland’s workforce are employed as professionals, technicians and trades workers, managers and administrative workers. Sales workers have the lowest percentage of total employment, with only 5.9% of jobs found in that sector. Community and personal service workers also make up a relatively small percentage of the working population in Queensland. Of Queensland’s workforce employed full time, 14.9% are based in Queensland.
Figure 9: Percentage of full-time employees working as professionals in Queensland (QLD)
GradAustralia asked graduates throughout Australia about their graduate positions, and found that the top 5 roles in Brisbane are:
The Queensland Government offers a range of graduate jobs in Queensland. There is the ‘Greater Graduate Program’ which opens for registration in September for the following year. There are also other programs which begin recruitment in January. Graduate job opportunities in tourism are often offered by businesses such as Flight Centre. Most of the major banks and major supermarkets offer graduate programs with the application season often closing in March/April each year. These are a great opportunity if you are seeking to enter a range of business and finance related positions.
Figure 10: Median and mean employee income in Queensland (QLD) vs other states/territories
Queensland ranks fifth out of all the states and territories around Australia for both median and mean incomes. The median employee income across Queensland is $45,956 per annum, with the mean income higher at $55,972. The mean income is 21.8% higher than the median income, which indicates the presence of a number of higher-paying positions.
Figure 11: Queensland (QLD) median graduate starting salary vs other states/territories
At $54,000, Queensland’s median starting salary for graduates is the same as the national average and matches two other states, however, with a lower cost of living than many other regions, the starting salary could be worth more in Queensland than in another location such as Sydney in New South Wales. Graduates with degrees in a number of disciplines can expect higher than average starting salaries, with graduates in engineering, maths, IT and computer sciences being offered approximately $71,000 in their graduate role and law students earning, on average, $69,000 in their first graduate job.
Figure 12: Average graduate starting salary by discipline in Queensland (QLD)
Figure 13: Average work hours per week for graduates working in Queensland (QLD)
Graduates in Queensland report working a variety of average hours, with 2% working less than 30 hours per week and another 2% working an average of 60-70 hours per week. The vast majority, however, have a work week of between 30-50 hours, with 35% working 30-40 hours and 51% in the 40-50 hour range. The reported hours suggest that Queensland graduates work the third most hours per week in Australia.
Figure 14: Average graduate work hours per week in Queensland (QLD) vs other states/territories
Figure 15: Average graduate job satisfaction score in Queensland (QLD) vs other states/territories
While the figures around graduate jobs in Queensland have some positive and negative aspects, Queensland rates second highest in Australia for job satisfaction. In a survey conducted by GradAustralia, Queensland graduate workers scored their job satisfaction at 8.7, slightly higher than the national average 8.5.
Figure 16: Average diversity score in Queensland (QLD) vs other cities
Although Queensland’s population is diverse, Queensland-based graduates in GradAustralia’s survey reported lower levels of diversity compared with other states and territories in Australia.
Figure 17: Workforce participation rates by industry in Queensland (QLD)
Queensland has an average female workforce participation rate of 43.1%. Industries with higher female participation include healthcare and education, making up 76.8% and 71.5% of those employed in these industries. The industries with the lowest rates of female participation are common to many regions, including construction (13.4%) and mining (15.7%).
The average starting salary for a male graduate with a bachelor degree in Queensland is $55,000 per year. For females, that figure falls to $53,000, equal to the national average.
Figure 18: Median graduate starting salary for males and females in Queensland (QLD) vs other states/territories
Following GradAustralia’s survey of Australian-based graduates, the most sought-after employers in Queensland 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. Career fairs are usually held in the month of March and may be held in the city or at one of Brisbane’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’ jobs. Keep an eye out for these on job boards such as SEEK.
If you're set on Queensland 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 that Queensland is the right place to find your graduate job, consider reading our graduate’s guide to moving to Brisbane.