You wouldn’t normally expect to be earning $90,000 a year flipping burgers at a fast food joint out in the sticks. But that’s what one takeaway chicken chain manager is earning in natural resource-rich Karratha in north-west WA.

The boost in earnings is due to the ‘resources boom’, which has had major effects on the Australian job market, especially in WA and Queensland. 

Bree Mitchelson, of Perth-based careers management company Skills Solution, says the thriving mining, oil, gas and construction industries are beefing up career opportunities — and pay packets — particularly in WA.

“The message for people thinking about heading back to Australia is: come home, Australia needs you. “There are certainly some exciting career opportunities available,” Mitchelson says. But there are also lots of jobs for travellers.

Engineering, Mining and Construction

For big job offers, this is the big sector. The resource industry has huge demand as a result of numerous billion-dollar projects, particularly in WA. 

Sector experts say the demand for skilled workers in this industry doesn’t look like slowing down any time soon.

And employers are willing to offer big bucks to entice staff. Due to a country-wide skills shortage, engineers, surveyors and geologists can land themselves packages higher than $100,000 a year. 

“Electricians and mechanical fitters are also big in demand,” she says. Other tradies, including boilermakers, welders and mechanics (particularly with experience on heavy vehicles), won’t have trouble finding work, especially if they are prepared to do fly-in, fly-out jobs in remote areas.

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The current market for teachers in Australia is good. However, the job market situation is different from state to state because each education system is run by the state, not the federal government. Supply teaching is an option in most areas, but if you want something more permanent when you get home it’s all in the timing, according to Daniel Mundy from recruiter ANZUK Teachers. 

“Victoria has a particular need in Melbourne’s north-west, west and outer-west,” he says. 

WA also has a major shortage of teachers due to the resources boom. 

Medical and Nursing

Major capital cities and surrounding suburbs in all states need paediatric, orthopaedic and theatre staff. Experienced medical and surgical workers are also wanted. 

According to Hays Healthcare regional director Christine Wright, nurses can usually find work in all states, with UK experience looked upon favourably. Midwives, mental health nurses and registered nurses all appear on the Department of Immigration’s skill shortages list. 

Salaries range from $50,000 to $80,000 a year — depending on the level of experience and particular state or territory.

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Accounting, Finance and Banking

Despite the credit crunch, Australia’s still looking good for those who want to work with managing and moving all that moolah around. Simon Tobin, from recruiter Michael Page Australia, reckons that for people moving home, the skills shortage is good news. 

“That’s going to make it easier for people to get the job they want,” he says. Jobs firm Hays Global Link manager Rachel Baldy says assistant accountants at the $50,000-$70,000 level — both degree-qualified and undergraduates — are in high demand, while payroll candidates are in short supply.

Auditors are top of the list for the professional practice market as there’s a shortage of them across Australia. Skills dealing with insolvency are also sought after, and accounting skills are in demand across the board with more vacancies than suitable candidates. Assistant accountants, payroll candidates, and those with experience in accounts payable and receivable are all in short supply Down Under.

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