Jobs in the ACT

You’ll be spoilt for choice when it comes to jobs in Canberra.

There's a mix of jobs available in a range of industries, in both the public and private sectors. In fact, more than 50 per cent of Canberra’s workforce is employed by over 25,000 private companies (big and small).

Canberra has a unique employment market – here you’ll find the best educated workforce and the highest per capita income in Australia. Our economy is sophisticated and knowledge based, orientated towards service delivery and public administration. The Commonwealth Government is our largest employer and also our biggest customer.

Like any growing city we have ongoing needs in other key sectors including health and building and construction.

Our thriving private sector comprises large multinational companies dealing with government down to small businesses servicing the needs of locals. We are also the home to many of the nation’s industry associations and professional societies.

The strength of our economy and recent growth has lead to many industries experiencing labour shortages. Here’s a snapshot of our key industries.

Building, Construction & Trades

Over 12,000 people are employed within our diverse building and construction industry. In recent years Canberra’s residential and commercial sectors have thrived despite the impact of global economic challenges. The ACT Government as committed to significant spending on new infrastructure projects and construction works along with increasing land release for residential and industrial use.

Opportunities for skilled trade’s people are not limited to building and construction - many employment sectors have a high demand for qualified people including the tourism, hospitality and service industries.

Further info

Public Service & Defence

As Australia’s capital Canberra is home to the Australian Public Service – the administrative arm of the Australian Government. The Australian Public Service, or APS, is renowned as one of the most innovative government administrations in the world and is Canberra’s biggest employer.

The Australian Capital Territory (ACT) Government has its own Public Service that employs over 20,000 people across a wide range of jobs. The ACT Government welcomes diversity in the workplace and employs non-citizens (permanent residents of Australia), except in some circumstances where security clearance is required.

Defence and security are among Canberra’s largest industry sectors and over 13,000 military and defence-civilian personnel are located in the capital region. The Department of Defence is based here along with the Royal Military College and Australian Defence Force Academy.

Around 50 per cent of employment in the ACT is within the public service (federal and territory) and defence sectors.

It's important to note that employment with the APS will usually require Australian citizenship however exceptions are sometimes made.

Further info

Information & Communications Technology (ICT)

Canberra’s ICT sector is one of our key competitive strengths, providing essential ICT services and expertise as well as enabling technology for the rest of Canberra’s knowledge based economy.

Employing around 8,000 people, our ICT sector is made up of over 1,000 businesses ranging from multinationals down to micro businesses.

The Australian Government and its tendency to outsource elements of its ICT solutions is a key driver of our ICT industry and provides strong impetus for business development in Canberra’s private sector. Because of this many ICT jobs will require citizenship if employment is related to the Australian Public Service - if you are migrating from overseas you should research the availability of ICT jobs for non-citizens.

Further Info

Sports, Recreation & the Arts

Employment opportunities exist within the arts, entertainment, sports and recreation industries, and their associated services.

Canberra is the custodian of some of the nation’s great cultural institutions which are the visible face of our artistic and cultural scene, but under the surface we have over 2,500 cultural and creative businesses based here.

The establishment of the Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) 30 years ago has been the catalyst for the development of significant local sports science and administration expertise and has lead to a number of spin off companies being established locally.

Many opportunities also exist in the business and clerical fields across the government and private sectors.

Further info

Professional

As well as opportunities in the Australian and ACT Governments, Canberra has a thriving private sector with over 25,000 businesses servicing the region. What’s more, if you’re keen to work for yourself, the ACT Government has an extensive range of support programs to help you get your new business started.

Professional opportunities span most industries in Canberra with occupations ranging from engineers to general practitioners, lawyers to economists, and accountants to physiotherapists to name a few.

Further info

Health

Canberra boasts some of the nation’s highest-quality health care services and facilities, including two large public hospitals, three private hospitals and a wide range of community based health services. Exciting contemporary models of care and new roles are being developed, including Australia’s first nurse-led ‘Walk-in Centre’ for the treatment of minor illness and injury.

There is demand for a range of health and allied health professionals in Canberra right now including qualified people in the caring professions.

Further info

Education

Over 120 public and independent primary and secondary schools offer high quality learning environments and first class facilities, and more schools are on the way. Early childhood education and care in Canberra is also a growing industry with a range of employment opportunities available for suitably qualified people.

Known as the ‘clever capital’, Canberra is considered an increasingly attractive destination for domestic and international students and is the home to a range of highly regarded tertiary institutions and education providers. Opportunities for teaching, corporate and administrative staff are ongoing.

Further info

Tourism & Hospitality

Canberra is a thriving modern city with world class galleries and museums, stylish restaurants and bars, craft and food markets and plenty of fun opportunities for travelers to enjoy a unique experience.

Home to almost 7,000 tourism related businesses, tourism is the largest private sector segment of the ACT economy and offers great employment opportunities on casual, part-time and full-time basis.

With a higher than average disposable income Canberrans are known for their love of eating out any night of the week. Our diverse hospitality industry has an ongoing need for skilled people with administration, management, and trade qualifications.

Further info

Getting a job

Before you depart for Canberra we recommend you spend time researching our unique job market. It’s important you arrive with prepared resources and contacts to enable you to find work quickly.

Initiating contact with relevant recruitment agencies and employers directly is a good start. You may consider joining a professional association or industry group to assist with networking and to find out the expected salary for your occupation based on your skills, qualifications and experience. Some vacancies may not be advertised and will be filled through word of mouth and networking – the more people you speak to the better.

Many employers and recruitment agencies will advertise vacancies online either on their own website or a job search website. If you are moving from overseas your occupation may have a different name in Australia so it’s important you search for the correct search terms. Canberra’s local newspaper, the Canberra Times is also a good resource.

An up-to-date resume, employment history and references from previous employers are essential. You should also be prepared to produce qualifications and trade certificates if asked. When applying for work most employers will expect a one-page letter outlining your relevant qualifications and experience accompanied by a short resume.

If arriving from overseas you should become familiar with the common elements of Australian job advertisements. They will generally include the business type and/or name, a job description, how to apply, closing date for applications and a contact person for further information. Some advertisements may outline requirements for experience and qualifications, or require you to answer ‘selection criteria’.

Some advertisements will include information about salary. There is a difference between ‘salary’ and a ‘salary package’ - the latter may include compulsory superannuation (pension) payments or other forms of remuneration such as transport or phone expenses. Ask the employer to clarify what is included in the ‘package’.

Further info

More about Working

Trades workers

Facts to tell your friends

Living

  • Canberra averages more sunshine than Sydney, Melbourne or Adelaide.Hours of Sunshine
  • Average weekly full-time income: $1639.Average Full-time Weekly Income
  • The ACT has a higher average life expectancy than the rest of Australia.Life Expectancy
  • Canberra has the most extensive cycling network in Australia.Cycling Around
  • The ACT has the best performing school system in Australia.Education
  • Canberra has the shortest average weekly commuting time.Commuting Times (average weekly)

Learning

  • Canberra has 23000 full-time higher-education students, and 30% of these are international students.Higher Education
  • Average weekly full-time income: $1639.Average Full-time Weekly Income
  • Canberra averages more sunshine than Sydney, Melbourne or Adelaide.Hours of Sunshine
  • Median age: 34 years old.Median Age
  • Driving time to Sydney: 3 hours, to the Snow: 2.5 hours, NSW beaches: 2 hoursDrive to Sydney, Snow & Beaches
  • Canberra has Australia's most educated workforce.Australia's Most Educated Workforce
  • Population of Canberra: 379,000.Population
  • Unemployment rate: 4.6% (5.5% in Australia)Unemployment rate
  • One quarter of Canberra's population was born overseas.Multiculturalism

Migrating

  • Canberra averages more sunshine than Sydney, Melbourne or Adelaide.Hours of Sunshine
  • Average weekly full-time income: $1639.Average Full-time Weekly Income
  • One quarter of Canberra's population are born overseas.Multiculturalism
  • Median age: 34 years old.Median Age
  • Driving time to Sydney: 3 hours, to the Snow: 2.5 hours, NSW beaches: 2 hoursDrive to Sydney, Snow & Beaches
  • 21.2% of Canberrans volunteer, ahead of the national average 17.8%Volunteering
  • Population of Canberra: 379,000.Population
  • Unemployment rate: 4.6% (5.5% in Australia)Unemployment Rate
  • Canberra has the shortest average weekly commuting time.Commuting Times (average weekly)

Google Map

Explore the map of Canberra and the ACT

Explore the map of Canberra's precincts

Real stories

James Hamilton

Want to know what it’s like living and working in Canberra? Hear from those who made the move.

Australian Capital Territory Government