Throwing another five cents into the never-settled Sydney vs Melbourne debate is a fool’s errand, but I’m not here to figure out which city is better. Rather, I’m interested in helping you figure out which city has better job prospects.
Competition for jobs in both cities can be fierce.
That said, each city has its pros and cons – and if you’re looking to make a career move in 2023, it’s important to know which city is likely to offer better prospects.
(Related: 11 Weirdest Jobs In Australia).
Sydney vs Melbourne Job Market Growth.
According to the Sydney Morning Herald, Sydney is expected to lead the way in job growth over the next few years.
- The city is forecast to add an additional 1.1 million jobs between 2020 and 2024 – an increase of 5.7%
- In contrast, Melbourne is expected to see more modest growth of 3.6% over the same period, adding around 700,000 jobs
When looking at the average growth rates, Sydney is likely to be the better bet.
That said, the devil is always in the details. True insight comes from segmenting large-scale data and interpreting it in a way that applies to you.
Shown in photo: Microsoft’s new Melbourne office is jaw-dropping, but the Sydney office is much larger. Source: OfficeSnapshots.
Job Opportunities Compared By Industry.
Let’s take a look at how the two cities compare when it comes to job opportunities by industry.
1. Jobs In Finance.
With CBA, American Express, Macquarie Bank, UBS and UBank headquartered in Sydney, and ANZ, NAB and Westpac based in Melbourne, there are ample job opportunities for finance professionals in both cities.
That said, Sydney has the clear edge.
While Australian banks have a presence in both cities, they prefer to keep their asset and wealth management operations in Sydney. Investment banks are also overwhelmingly based in Sydney, and their Sydney teams work on much larger deal sizes.
Finally, RBA, the Australian Stock Exchange and all of their peripheral bodies are also in Sydney.
2. Jobs In Technology.
With Microsoft, Google, Canva and Atlassian located in Sydney, there are more big-name tech firms headquartered in Harbour City.
Sydney’s Tech Central precinct is on track to “rival Silicon Valley“, but isn’t due for completion until 2025.
That said, Melbourne is no slouch when it comes to technology – IBM, Cisco and Oracle all have offices here.
3. Jobs In Media.
Since the 1990’s Sydney established itself as the headquarters city for Australian media companies.
ACP, Fairfax, and News Limited have deep Sydney roots. The story with TV and its peripheral PR and advertising industries is largely similar, with Sydney’s CBD, Pyrmont and Walsh Bay playing host to dozens of stations and agencies.
4. Jobs In Big Pharma.
There are more big pharma companies headquartered in Sydney than in Melbourne.
Johnson & Johnson, AstraZeneca, Novartis, Sanofi and Sandoz are in Macquarie Park, while GSK, Bristol Myers & Squibb, and CSL have their headquarters in Melbourne.
Struggling To Get Job Interviews In Sydney Or Melbourne?
Einstein once said, “the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”
If you’re sending out job applications to employers and are hearing nothing back, stop. You’re wasting time and burning bridges.
There’s either something wrong with your resume or your job search strategy:
- Your resume is weak and untargeted. Use my Australian resume examples to improve it yourself, or hire one of my resume writers.
- You’re not applying for the right roles. Can you see any experience gaps between role requirements and your skillset? Make sure that you tick off all (or most of) the requirements that you see in the position description.
Where Can You Earn A Higher Salary: Sydney or Melbourne?
Melbourne has lower average salaries and less sizeable salaries at the top end of the spectrum.
No surprises there.
That said, average salary statistics are fairly meaningless. They don’t take into account the cost of living, which can be significantly higher in Sydney.
For example, public transport is more expensive in Sydney, as are things like basic consumer goods and rent.
Even though average wages are lower in Melbourne, your ability to save money is also higher.
(Related: How Difficult Is It To Get A Job In Sydney?)
Travelling To Work In Sydney vs Melbourne.
Melbourne’s workers are more likely to drive to work, as employers are more evenly scattered around the city.
By contrast, Sydney has a more centralised CBD, North Sydney and Macquarie Park business districts. This means that public transport is a more viable option for many workers.
Final Word On Job Prospects Sydney vs Melbourne.
If you want to climb the corporate ladder, and/or pursue a career in big technology firms, you’re much better off in Sydney.
- People in Melbourne are more friendly.
- Melbourne is more cultural.
- You’ll find plenty of success stories of people growing successful careers in Melbourne.
Yet, we’re not talking about any of those factors, nor are we interested in anecdotal evidence.
We’re here to talk about career prospects, based on established and emerging large-scale patterns.
And for that, Sydney is currently the better city.
P.S. Are you struggling to decide between Sydney and Melbourne? Have you had first-hand experience applying for jobs in either city? Share your challenges below and I’ll provide you with tailored career advice to help you overcome them.