Top of main content

Working in Australia

Your guide to expat life in the land down under

Want to work in Australia?

With very low unemployment and a rising GDP, Australia's economy is fairly stable. While workplaces tends to be relaxed and sometimes informal, respect and professionalism are still key to success. A strong, competitive economy, low import tariffs and a transparent legal system make Australia a great place to do business.

Australia's economy has benefited from its ties with China and Japan. Rich in natural resources, the country has been a major supplier to the emerging Asian superpowers. It's also regarded as a good base for the regional headquarters of multinationals that want to penetrate the Asia-Pacific market.

Business in Australia

Even in a business setting, Australians are down to earth and dislike pretension. Although they're friendly and open, they like to get to the point quickly and small talk is often unnecessary. If you want to fit in, try to be brief and don't overpromise. The Australian approach to management is consultative, pragmatic and non-hierarchical. It's important that managers don't appear aloof or out of touch with members of their team. And colleagues often form close personal bonds.

You may be taken aback by your Australian colleagues' direct communication style. They'll often tell you openly if they disagree or take issue with a suggestion. But this is to ensure clarity rather than to offend. Australians are modest to the point of being self-deprecating and will often downplay their success. There's very little gender bias in Australia and many senior positions are held by women.

Practical details

Business is conducted in English. Business hours are usually from 09:00 to 17:00, Monday to Friday. Australians may be casual outside the workplace, but business dress is much more conservative and formal. Men wear dark suits and women choose smart dresses or business suits. Lightweight fabrics are more comfortable in the summer – and men often leave their jackets off when the temperature climbs.

A handshake and a smile are the norm, and gifts aren't exchanged during business meetings. But you can take wine, chocolate or flowers if you're invited to a colleague's home.

Expat salaries in Australia

Australia has the world's highest minimum wage, and set salary requirements for expats. Simply being from another country puts you above a certain income bracket and you can expect to be paid well.

Top tips for working in Australia

See what people responding to our Expat Explorer Survey think about living in Australia.

Find a place to live which is easily accessible to work and socialise.

All Expat Explorer survey data and all tips (in quotation marks) are provided by HSBC.

All other content is provided by, Globe Media Ltd and was last updated in September 2021. HSBC accepts no responsibility for the accuracy of this information.

This information is purely for orientation and to inspire further research, it does not constitute advice and no liability is accepted to recipients acting independently on its contents. The views expressed are subject to change.

Always remember to ensure you're aware of and comply with any laws in your host country or country of origin that apply to gift giving and bribery.

You might also be interested in


Opening an offshore account, can be an effective way to save, invest and manage money while abroad.


Steps to build a better financial future abroad.


Read our 10-step guide to moving abroad to make sure you've got everything covered.

Listening to what you have to say about services matters to us. It's easy to share your ideas, stay informed and join the conversation.