Should you move your medical career from New Zealand to Australia?

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Australia is known for its wildly beautiful landscapes and is home to a variety of natural wonders, including the Great Barrier Reef, the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park, and the Kakadu National Park.

The country has a rich Indigenous history and culture, as well as a diverse immigrant population. Australia is known for its high standard of living and strong economy, with industries including mining, agriculture, and tourism playing important roles in the country's success.

If you have been thinking about moving to Australia to live and work as a doctor we have weighed up some of the pros and cons below.

The five pros of moving your medical career from New Zealand to Australia:

1. The climate

Australia is generally known for having a warm and dry climate, with temperatures ranging from hot (to very hot!) in most regions. However, there are also some areas that experience cooler temperatures, particularly in the mountainous regions.

All the major Australian cities have stunning beaches and the Aussies don't hesitate to spend a lot of time on them! On the other hand, adventure seekers can take advantage of the diverse landscapes. From lush rainforests to arid desserts there is something for everyone in Australia

2. The economy

One of the main reasons Australia has such a stable economy is the abundance of natural resources found across the nation, including uranium, nickel, and zinc. Australia is also a leading extractor of gold, diamonds, and other precious metals.

This abundance of resources has contributed to the stability and growth of the Australian economy, even during global economic downturns such as the Global Financial Crisis. This translates to a range of practical benefits for residents, including higher wages, a wider variety of career opportunities, and more tax revenue to fund infrastructure and social services.

In comparison to New Zealand, Australia outperforms in a variety of social and economic measures. The average income in Australia is 25% higher than in New Zealand, and Australians have a longer life expectancy. Australia's education system is also ranked higher globally, coming in at eighth place compared to New Zealand's eleventh place.

While the cost of living in Australia may seem higher at first glance, higher wages and lower taxes often offset the higher prices of many items. Additionally, some "big ticket" items, such as petrol, are actually less expensive in Australia. When making like-for-like comparisons, it's important to consider that the cost of housing in cities like Brisbane may be more affordable when compared to cities like Auckland.

3. The wildlife

Australia is home to a diverse range of wildlife, including many species that are found nowhere else in the world. Wildlife is an important and valuable part of the country's natural heritage and offers a range of benefits to the environment, economy, and society.

4. The pay rates for doctors

There is a demand for doctors in Australia, and this means you have the ability to earn great money! In Australia the overall average doctor's salary is around $180,000, however, a doctor can make depending on many factors, including their grade, and their specialty. If you are a doctor-in-training or junior doctor in Australia you will earn around $70,000 – $85,000, whereas a top-level consultant can be earning an average of $394,866. Consultant locums are earning up to $3,500 a day!

Locum doctors are earning up to $4000/day. How does your salary compare? Find out in our free 2024 Australian Doctor Job Market.
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5. It's easy!

Our service is free for doctors and our team is experienced in helping you apply for AHPRA registration. The process usually takes between six and eight weeks. If you are looking to move to Australia from another country, APHRA just announced a reduction in processing time making things a whole lot easier.

But every country is not without its cons! So if you're on the fence about a move to Australia it is important that you consider both sides of the coin.

The cons of moving your medical career from New Zealand to Australia include:

1. The climate

If you are used to New Zealand summers offering a stable 20 degrees - 30 degrees then you could be shocked to discover that some areas of Australia regularly go up to 40 degrees ( and no, this is not just in the desert!). Major metropolitans like Brisbane, Sydney, and Melbourne all spend time pushing 40 degrees in summer.

2. The wildlife

Australia is home to a diverse range of wildlife, some of which can be dangerous to humans if they feel threatened or if they are handled improperly. Some of the most well-known examples include saltwater crocodiles, box jellyfish, the funnel-web spider, and the redback spider. After living in Australia for a while, you may realise you've taken New Zealand's safe wildlife for granted!

3. The slang culture

"All right cobber, well, why the bloody hell wouldn't ya?" That is what an Aussie might say when you suggest coming down under to locum.

But what does that even mean...?

Australia is known for its interesting slang, and you may find yourself having to incorporate (or understand) strange words like "strewth" (AKA true), or "crikey" (AKA surprise or wonder) into your dialect. In some hospitals, they may even refer to ambulances as "Ambos."

If you're moving over from New Zealand you may also find it hard to accept that the Aussies have claimed iconic New Zealand icons like Phar Lap and pavlova as their own.

4. You will become a small fish

At over 25 million the population of Australia is five times larger than that of New Zealand (at 5.1 million). Depending on what your aspirations are you may feel like a smaller fish in Australia which offers much more competition. Then again, this goes both ways, because Australia also has more opportunities.

In conclusion, Australia has a lot to offer New Zealand doctors (and doctors from all over the world for that matter!) including great pay, great weather, and a diverse natural and cultural landscape.

However, it comes at a cost...

The cost of trading ski fields for beaches, jandals for "thongs", Lord of the Rings for Kath & Kim, and suffering words like "bonza," "fair dinkum," and "bloody oath." Plus, you will also never be able to wade into knee-deep grass in bare feet again!

If after you have weighed up these pros & cons Australia sounds like your cup of tea, we can help. Register, and let's chat about helping you make the move down under.

Medrecruit Editorial Team
31 December 2022Article by Medrecruit Editorial TeamMedrecruit Editor