Negotiating salary and benefits in Australia

Hello everyone,

Better job prospects in Australia can most certainly be an incentive to leave your country of origin. Securing a contract with the right salary and benefits for you can be crucial to make your move successful.

Is salary and benefits negotiation regarded as common practice in Australia? If yes, how should you go about negotiating your package (during the hiring process, on a monthly/yearly basis...)?

What do you expect to be included in terms of benefits in your package? Which benefits do you deem necessary in Australia?

Is tax on the salary of an expat applicable in Australia or do you have to turn to tax bodies in your country of origin to pay your taxes?

Do the exchange rates of currencies impact your salary as an expat?

Looking back, are there some changes you would have made during the negotiation of your salary and benefits package?

Thank you for sharing your experience,


I am a chartered accountant and tax agent. In my experience, only more highly-paid staff receive additional benefits by way of packaging. Packaging is used for a number of reasons a) to provide tax-free fringe benefits (more difficult these days), b) provide benefits when a salary-cap is in existence, c) give a boost to the employee's morale by suggesting they were willing to pay extra for such a good candidate, e)  create an efficient remuneration package including 1) car (also tax advantaged), 2) payment of professional dues e.g. professional licences, 3) child-care facilities etc

Most people coming to work in Australia do not normally negotiate a salary package.

Having said that, senior staff who are being sent to Australia by their company as an expatriate to run their Australian operations normally would do so, back in their home country with management.

For skilled international talent, applying for jobs in Australia, and who are not being sent by their company, the situation is, of course, different.

Most employers will provide the relevant information on the Australian job advertisement about the salary or salary range (ie between $55,000-65,000) and any other benefits.  This is necessary if the job is likely to be filled by an expatriate and accordingly they will require a visa to work in Australia. 

Once someone applies for the position, they effectively are aware of the proposed salary and there is limited scope for negotiation: unless the person has some unique skills, experience, training and qualifications which place them at the top of the range, most companies will place new and untried staff that have not worked for them before, at the bottom of the range. 

Of course, the market salary evidence requirements for the visa normally requires the employer to pay the person at a rate that is equivalent to that earned by an Australian doing the same work in the same company, provided it is above the minimum level for skills visas (ie $53,900).  This is designed to ensure that overseas skilled workers are not being used as 'cheap labour'.

Having said this, the national minimum employment standards means that most expatriates working on 482 visas will be eligible for salary (minimum of $53,900), superannuation (9.5 per cent of salary), overtime, annual leave (normally 20 days, though in some remote locations there may be some additional days), sick leave (usually around 10 days).  Many companies do provide productivity bonuses for staff that are highly productive as an incentive.  It is up to the company to provide any additional benefits if they wish to do so (normally these benefits may be items that are cost effective for the company to provide).

It is also important to note that a condition of obtaining the visa, is the person must have a complying health insurance policy (this is a private responsibility, but essential otherwise the person will be deported if they do not comply).

Of course as the person continues working for the company, most will receive service increments to reflect their contribution to the company. 

I placed a BMW technician with a dealership in Australia, three years ago and he commenced on $54,000: he is now on $68,500, plus around $6,000 in productivity bonuses, around $5,000 in overtime plus he receives company funded superannuation contribitions of around $6,500 per year.  He and his wife obtained permanent residency earlier this year and they have just had a baby boy born a month ago (who is an Australian citizen).  They are very happy with their circumstances.

As you will note, therefore there is very limited scope to negotiate a salary package, but that does not tell the whole picture.

I trust that this assists.

The grass is always greener ......

In oZ the company salaries seem higher than in Europe although it is harder to get into a nice decent company job ! Need a lot of connections more than in your home country. The high pay jobs are really hard to get... if your not borne in Oz...

Australians are suffering form crisis, they keep looking everywhere to find money since the house living is crazy expensive. Dont be surprised if they pretend to be nice to get your wallet.... all immigrants are easy target full of cash for a year of subsistance... more than they can make in a year for certain Australians .

The distance, ... god so f... far ... in non friendly environment .... money oriented...

Oz became the first destination to learn english for students coming out of uni and willing to have a bit of adventure in working as fruit picker .... hahahahah what a great futur expérience so useless to have!!! a real advantage on you cv... hahahah what a joke.

Dont waste your precious time and money... not worth it.

Just my 2 cents


Moderated by Bhavna 4 years ago
Reason : Off-Topic. Please drop an advert in the jobs section. Thank you
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Hello everyone,

I am an accounting graduate and looking for any placement  to kick start my career in Australia. Any one to assist on how to get the information of where l can find the placements even the  graduate training/development  programs

Dhavita, I,m a chartered accountant, practising in Australia since 1976.
You cannot do much until you arrive in Australia with the appropriate work visa. Then it is a matter of trawling the internet seeing what vacancies there are. You would also be well advised to contact firms directly, especially the Big  4.