Finding a Job in Sydney
Updated 2023-07-09 13:34

The City of Sails is Australia's economic and business hub. A bustling, modern city, Sydney is full of opportunities for foreign professionals. However, finding a job city can be competitive – especially if you are fighting for positions with locals who may have years of experience in Australian industries. Moving to a new country is always daunting, and entering the job market or adapting to a new workplace might be the most intimidating part of the process. But don't worry, we've put together some tips and tricks to help you land your dream gig.  

The labor market in Sydney

The labor market in Sydney can be competitive but also offers heaps of opportunities for those with drive. Many industries in Sydney, such as finance, technology, healthcare, engineering and the creative sectors, are very cosmopolitan, with workers from all over the world represented.

Of course, the demand for foreign professionals depends on your skills, qualifications, work experience, and the specific industry you are targeting. In some industries, such as IT and healthcare, there may be a higher demand for skilled professionals due to skill shortages in the local labor market.

It's important for expats to ensure their qualifications and work experience align with Australian standards and requirements. Some professions may require recognition or certification from relevant professional bodies or licensing authorities. Additionally, proficiency in English is crucial for communication and professional success in Sydney's work environment. Improving English language skills can enhance job prospects and integration into the local labor market.

Top industries in Sydney needing foreign workers

Sydney offers opportunities for expats across all sectors, although there are definitely some sectors that have consistently been in demand and offer good prospects for expat professionals compared to others. These sectors align with the occupations listed on the Skilled Occupation List (SOL) in Australia, which should be perused by anyone considering moving to Australia. Here are a few examples of sectors hungry for overseas talent:

  • Information Technology (IT): Sydney has a booming IT industry, with a high demand for skilled professionals in areas such as software development, cybersecurity, data analysis, AI and network engineering.
  • Engineering: The engineering sector in Sydney includes civil, mechanical, electrical, and structural engineering. Skilled engineers with experience in infrastructure projects, construction, and renewable energy can find opportunities.
  • Healthcare: Australia has a strong healthcare system, and Sydney has numerous medical facilities and research institutions. Skilled healthcare professionals, including doctors, nurses, pharmacists, and allied health professionals, are nearly always in demand.
  • Finance and Accounting: Sydney is a major financial center, hosting a range of banking, investment, and accounting firms. Expats with expertise in finance, accounting, banking, and financial analysis shouldn't have too much trouble finding work in these fields.
  • Construction and Architecture: Sydney experiences ongoing urban development and infrastructure projects. Professionals in construction management, architecture, project management, and building services engineering are in a good position to find work.

Work culture in Sydney

Though work culture differs hugely between employers, it's generally understood that Sydney has a dynamic work culture that can be both challenging and rewarding for expats who may come from more formal cultures. The work environment is generally professional, with an emphasis on productivity and efficiency. However, Australians are informal people and often, there will be less formality and hierarchy in the workplace, as well as more humor than some people are used to. On the whole, Sydney embraces a collaborative and team-oriented approach, valuing effective communication and teamwork. Work-life balance is highly regarded, and there is definitely a huge appreciation for leisure time and personal well-being – expect lots of talk about what people got up to on the weekend and what adventures they are planning.

However, don't be fooled by your workmates' seemingly laid-back or casual demeanors. Punctuality and respect for deadlines are essential, as Sydney's work culture places importance on timeliness and meeting commitments. The workplace is generally open to diversity, welcoming individuals from different cultural backgrounds. Networking and building professional relationships are encouraged, as they really play a significant role in career advancement and job opportunities in Sydney.

It's important for expats to familiarise themselves with workplace norms, etiquette, and communication styles. Being proactive, adaptable, open-minded, and with a good sense of humor can contribute to a successful integration into Sydney's work culture.

Where to look for a job in Sydney

Job websites

Finding a job in Sydney is not as difficult as it may seem. However, Australian employers generally prefer prior work experience within Australia. As an expat, you may lack this experience. If you cast your net wide, you're likely to get some hits. Make use of online portals like LinkedIn, Indeed, MyCareer, Seek and Adzuna.

Recruitment agencies

Centrelink is a government agency that can assist expats in finding a job in Sydney. Or you can use a recruitment agency that can be extremely helpful in connecting you with suitable employers. Check out Michael Page, Robert Half, and Hays to get started, or see if your industry is served by a specific agency – for instance, some agencies cater to just the healthcare sector. Using these recruitment agencies can be advantageous for expats as they offer access to a broad range of job openings, industry-specific expertise, and valuable connections. They streamline the job search process, provide guidance on market trends and salary expectations, and increase the likelihood of finding suitable employment opportunities in Sydney.


If you have time and aren't in a huge rush to find a job, then volunteering is an excellent way to gain local experience and make new connections. It allows you to familiarise yourself with employers, co-workers, and the work culture before fully committing. Keep in mind that volunteering is usually unpaid, but it can certainly add value to your resume.

Word of mouth

Consulting with friends or family members who are already in Sydney can be helpful in staying updated on the latest job openings in your field of expertise. Job hunting in Sydney often relies on internal references and connections, so it's advisable to do your homework before you arrive. Additionally, don't limit yourself to your area of specialization to have a broader range of choices. Meeting employers in person can also be beneficial, as building contacts may lead to better opportunities.

What visa do you need to work in Sydney?

All of this advice is pointless if you don't have the right to work in Australia. Essentially, to be able to work in Sydney, you need to be on a visa that allows you to work.

If your occupation is on the list of skilled occupations that are eligible for sponsorship, then you may be able to find work in Sydney and receive sponsorship through your employer. Consult with the Department of Immigration for more information.

The short-term option is the Australia Working Holiday Visa (WHV), a visa valid for one year that allows you to work throughout Australia. There is also a range of more permanent work visas for expats in Australia, which usually require sponsorship.

If you have a student visa, you are entitled to work part-time for up to 20 hours per week. You can work full-time during the holidays.

Resume, cover letter, and interview in Sydney

CV and cover letter

Ensuring that your CV and cover letter are current and tailored to the specific job you're applying for is crucial. Australian CVs are typically shorter compared to those in other countries, so aim to keep them concise, ideally within two or three pages. Avoid sending out generic cover letters to all employers, as they often lack a personal touch. Instead, strive to creatively and personally connect your skills with the advertised job to make a stronger impression. Always make sure your CV contains explanations of roles and companies that might not be familiar to Australian employers.


Interviews in Sydney, and Australia in general, usually follow a standard format. During the interview, senior staff members from the organization will inquire about your work experience and overall suitability for the role. You can find helpful tips on interviewing effectively on websites such as the Australian Workforce and various other job-related platforms.

Recognition of overseas qualifications in Australia

Qualifications play a vital role in job applications in Australia, requiring you to demonstrate that you possess the appropriate credentials for the positions you seek. Some types of employment have specific skill level requirements and certifications. It may be necessary to present your original qualification documents or certified copies. It's important to note that although your qualifications may be equivalent to Australian standards, there is a possibility that they may not be universally accepted. In Sydney, Australian Education International can help with assessing the transferability of your qualifications.

Language skills required in Sydney

When looking for jobs in Sydney as an expat, the first thing to know is that English is the primary language used in the workplace and daily life in Sydney. Fluency in English is highly valued by employers, as effective communication is crucial in most job roles. It is important to have strong English language skills, including listening, speaking, reading, and writing.

Most job advertisements in Sydney will specify the required level of English proficiency. Some positions may require specific language skills if they involve interaction with non-English-speaking communities or clients. However, in general, having a high level of English proficiency will enhance your job prospects and ability to integrate into the work environment. Moreover, being fluent in multiple languages can be an asset, especially if you have international experience or if the role involves working with multicultural teams or clients. Demonstrating your language skills and cross-cultural understanding can make you stand out in certain industries or roles, so always make sure to include this on your CV.

If you feel your English skills need improvement, consider enrolling in language courses or participating in language exchange programs to enhance your fluency. This can boost your confidence and help you communicate effectively during job interviews and in the workplace.

Sydney's largest employers

Struggling to start the job hunt? Here are a few companies in Sydney that are known to be large employers and often offer opportunities for expats:

Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA): As one of Australia's leading financial institutions, CBA provides banking and financial services. It offers career opportunities in areas such as banking, finance, technology, customer service, and more.

Westpac Banking Corporation: Another major player in the Australian banking sector, Westpac is known for having a large range of financial products and services. It employs a significant number of professionals in various fields, including banking, finance, investment, and technology.

Telstra Corporation Limited: Telstra is Australia's largest telecommunications company, offering telecommunications and information services to individuals, businesses, and government organizations. It provides job opportunities in areas such as telecommunications infrastructure, technology, customer service, and project management.

Macquarie Group: Macquarie is a global financial services provider with a strong presence in Sydney. It operates in areas such as banking, financial advisory, asset management, and investment banking. Macquarie often recruits professionals with expertise in finance, accounting, investment, and related fields.

We do our best to provide accurate and up to date information. However, if you have noticed any inaccuracies in this article, please let us know in the comments section below.