Australia versus the UK – Is Australia really the answer?

Australia Australia The Land Down Under

Australia Versus The UkAs the British economy hits rock bottom, thousands of skilled workers are looking abroad to start up a brighter, more stable life in a different economy.

Traditionally, Australia and New Zealand have been a favourite destination for British skilled migrants, but it seems now their economies are also feeling the rippling effects of the American and British recessions.

There has been much debate as to whether Senator Chris Evans (Minister for Immigration and Citizenship) would lower the record rates of immigration to Australia in the 2009-10 Budget in response to his country’s prospective financial troubles.  

Evans has decided to keep this year’s record 133,000 skilled visas as a ceiling until the Government assesses the country’s economic situation in time for the mid-year Budget.

This means that Australia still has plenty of places for skilled workers to move to Australia, and you could be joining the thirty-odd thousand other Britons moving to Australia permanently every year through the Australian migration program.

Now we all know Australia has a better climate, nicer beaches, and the promise of a more comfortable, outdoor lifestyle than the UK, but, in this economic climate would skilled workers actually be better off by moving from the UK to Australia?

How much money can you earn in Australia compared to the UK

The following is a comparative table showing the median salaries for selected jobs in Australia and the UK, sourced from (updated February 2009).   The results are based on the person having 10-19 years experience in that job, and the Australian salaries have been converted using the tool.

The Following Is A Comparative Table Showing The Median Salaries For Selected=

A quick look at the table suggests the trend for higher salaries in Australia for skilled positions is evident, excluding the rather major difference for solicitors.

Cost of living in Australia versus the cost of living in the uk

A higher salary doesn’t mean much if you are paying higher prices for the everyday basics.   The following table shows the cost of basics as supplied by the Office of National Statistics (ONS) and the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) for December 2008.

Cost Of Living In Australia Versus The Cost Of Living In The Uk. A Higher Salary Doesn't Mean Much If You Are Paying Higher Prices For The Everyday Basics.  The Following Table Shows The Cost Of Basics As Supplied By The Office Of National Statistics (Ons) And The Australian Bureau Of Statistics (Abs) For December 2008

The table shows Australia is not the winner in every case, and in fact, the UK is the cheapest place in the world to buy bread.   Yet, although the overall picture gives the impression that the cost of living in Australia and the UK is vacillating, a closer look shows that the expensive staple items are considerably cheaper in Australia than in the UK, which would keep your wallet plumper for longer.

For example, a family of four that consumes 2kgs of beef a week could save up to £303 after migrating to Australia from the UK, and a person filling up a car with 30L of petrol every week could save up to £280 per year.   These are substantial savings.

Whereas milk, bread and flour may be cheaper to buy in the UK, the items that you need to outlay more cash on a weekly basis (such as meat and petrol) are cheaper in Australia.

The Economist’s Big Mac index makes things loud and clear to understand.   The famous index compares the cost of a Big Mac in hundreds of countries as a way of comparing the cost of living around the world.   During February 2009, the index showed that a Big Mac was cheaper to buy in Australia than in the UK.

A cheaper cost of living coupled with a higher chance of getting a better salary in Australia means that you would have more spending power and an increased cash flow.

Australia property prices compared to the UK

In most countries, an increased cash flow means a higher standard of living and the opportunity of living in a nicer home.

Property prices across Australia have a huge variance, particularly because there is a massive difference between rural, coastal and city houses.   The same can be said for the UK, where just in the city of London, house prices can be almost triple the cost of similar types of houses elsewhere in the UK.

As a result, it becomes difficult to compare accurately house prices from specific regions in Australia with regions in the UK.   Yet the Reserve Bank of Australia has released a report that shows the trend in housing prices and affordability, called “Some Observations on the Cost of Housing in Australia”, written by the Head of Economic Analysis Department Anthony Richards.

The following table is extracted from this report, which shows that Australia has been better off internationally than its major competitors in terms of income and relative house prices, despite there being a low level of housing accessibility and persistently high level of average housing prices.

Australia Property Prices Compared To The Uk, Canada And The United States (Us). The Real Estate Institute Of Australia (Reia) Confirmed In December 2008 That The Australian Average Median House Price Reached $447,659 (£203,660) In The September Quarter - A Decrease Of $459,795 From The June Quarter - With Only Sydney Having A Median House Price Above $450,000

The Real Estate Institute of Australia (REIA) confirmed in December 2008 that the Australian average median house price reached $447,659 (£203,660) in the September quarter – a decrease of $459,795 from the June quarter – with only Sydney having a median house price above $450,000.   In the Department for Communities and Local Government live tables, the average median house price in the September quarter for 2008 was sitting at £233,459.

This difference in average house prices and the trend to have better income ratios in Australia and the UK means you would have a great chance of a better lifestyle in Australia, living in a nicer home with an increased cash flow.

The Australian weather compared to the UK

It will come as no surprise that Australia gets far more sun than the UK.   In fact, Australia gets around 300 days of sunshine annually, which is 70% of the year.   Moreover, when the rains come rolling in from the ocean or across the desert plains, it is not something the locals complain about; the tropical storms can give hours of entertainment and can be a quick relief for stifling heat.

See below for a breakdown of how averages of temperature (degrees) compare in UK and Australian cities:

The Australian Weather Compared To The Uk - Breakdown Of How Averages Of Temperature (Degrees) Compare In Uk And Australian Cities

How many public holidays do you get in Australia compared to the UK?

In Australia, be prepared to put your feet up for longer.   In the UK, along with the standard annual leave provided by employers, the Government provides workers eight annual public holidays.   In Australia, most workplaces give the same leave entitlements as UK companies, but the Australian Government has been slightly more generous.   Each state or territory has a different amount of public holidays, but all have at least 10 days off or more.   For example, in Tasmania you’ll be given 21 days off every year, plus your 4 weeks annual leave.

The following shows the amount of public annual holidays in the UK and each Australian state or territory:

How Many Public Holidays Do You Get In Australia Compared To The Uk?

Sound appetising?   It’s advised that you beat the Budget and submit your application before the Australian Government considers restricting its migration program, and before you know it you’ll be enjoying a beer on the beach and soaking up the Australian sun!

About this Article Produced exclusively for Getting Down Under by the  guys over at Australian Visa Bureau.     Australian Visa Bureau is an independent immigration advisory service providing advice, information and case management to individuals, families and businesses.

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  1. I dont think that you are accurate with your australian facts, being a now australian resident former british resident.

    1. Hi Jazzi, this is quite an old post mate. Happy to correct it with slightly more upto date info if you have it :)


  2. The tables are pretty good. The only thing that you haven’t thought about is the fact that once you live out there you are not exchanging your currency on a regular basses. What I’m saying is that £1.00 is the equivalent of 1 Aus Dollar. So if your getting paid $46,974 per year for being an office manager that is the equivalent of being paid £46,974 you can not convert because you are not exchanging. Please tell me if you think I’ve missed something but when I lived out there that was how I was told to think.

    1. Your spot on Chris but the article was written as a guide to help folks get their heads around the cost of living in Australia prior to making the move down under.


      Mark :)