5 common misconceptions about working in the Australian digital media market.

Thinking about taking a job in Australia – the place of sun, sea, surf, sand and opera? Great idea, there’s no place like it for the lifestyle. The digital market isn’t as different as you might think though. Here are our top five common misconceptions about working in the digital sector in the land down under.

I spoke to Dorota from nuclei, our partner agency based in Sydney, who explained some of the myths and difficulties of finding work and starting life in Australia.


1. Working there is like being on holiday. All the time.

This is why a lot of people move, for the lifestyle. It is true that the weather is great (though seasonal of course), you can go surfing and diving at the weekends or before work and you have all the culture Sydney or Melbourne have to offer.

However, in the digital market, the working life in Australia is very similar to that of the UK. You will work long hours when required just as you would here. One of the team at nuclei guessed that some digital marketing companies are 80% English and if this is anywhere near correct, it is doubtful that the culture will differ greatly.

The digital jobs in Australia are found in Melbourne and Sydney so it is almost definite you will find yourself in one of these cities. They are not cheap. House prices are very similar to that of London and to live in a desirable place with a great view such as Bondi is like trying to rent a penthouse in Mayfair.

2. The Australian digital media market is less advanced than the UK’s.

This is not actually true, but there are differences which can give this impression – the main difference is scale. The Australian market is much smaller than the UK’s and as a result it’s less of a focal point for technology companies – broadband access isn’t as widely available country-wide, so digital penetration is less on the whole and this will effect digital’s position in the media mix. Saying that, search is still big business, they have established RTB trading desks and platforms like mobile are potentially more advanced that ours.

On the SEO front, grey hat methods are still tolerated – mainly because it’s still pretty commonplace and it would be impractical for Google to penalise every business. This is changing fast though, and there’s increasing demand for content marketers and outreach specialists.

The good bit about the market being smaller though is that if you are talented and work hard it is easier to shine and progress quickly.

3. There is a huge demand for overseas candidates.

Although elements of this are true, the reality is quite different and the stories of the companies paying for flights and relocation are very rarely true. As with the UK market, the Australian digital market has a wealth of jobs that need filling and a dearth of appropriate candidates but the preference is for local people to support the community and keep visa costs (for example) down.

There are a lot of stories of bumper pay-rises and promotions, but these need to be put in context – this is less a reflection on demand for UK candidates specifically and more a reflection on the size of the market (promotion) and the high cost of living in Australia (pay-rises).

 4. The Recruitment process is simple and easy.

Finding a job in Australia is not necessarily complicated but the process of taking it and relocating to another country often is. Typically you will have one to three interviews over the phone one of which will be a presentation but getting the job is only half the battle.

The visa situation is tricky. Australian employers do not hand out full sponsored visas, known as a 457, easily. They are expensive and binding in that the company takes responsibility for you being in the country. It is possible to procure a Working Holiday visa for a short term trip but this will not suit for the long run.

The other complication is the logistical and emotional upheaval. It is often the case that having found a job in Australia, UK candidates will get cold feet and pull out because they have over-looked certain aspects of their lives, be it family, partners, friends or lifestyle. The best candidate is the one that is planning a change of lifestyle, shows a love for the country and have bought their tickets in advance.

5. It’ll be easy for me to move client-side in Australia.

Not the case I’m afraid – again, it’s a lot like being over here. The market is still agency-led and the majority of the jobs are agency-side. As in the UK, there’s a lot of demand for brand-side jobs and these are roles that can be filled from the existing digital talent pool without having to invest in sponsorship.


Australia is a fantastic place to work with a great culture and finding a job there is realistic proposition but the fantasy element does not exist. Salaries are certainly competitive but not ridiculous, working hours and living costs are similar and whilst there are opportunities, there isn’t a definite preference for British candidates.

I wrapped up my chat with Dorota by asking about her weekend plans: “Diving with whales,” was the response. Jealous.

There’s no doubt about it – with beach time, BBQs and sunshine for a good 6 months of the year, Australia is a great place to move for the lifestyle, just not for an instant payrise or an easy life.

Still interested?  You can view our current job listings in Australia here.