Australia’s labour force is one of the most educated, multicultural and multilingual in the world.

Australian workers are highly skilled, thanks to an excellent education system, quality scientific research institutions, and availability of specialised training services.


  • ranks well for its educational system, scientific research institutions and ready availability of skilled labour
  • has a culturally diverse workforce where almost 30 per cent of workers were born overseas
  • has experienced a sustained period of labour productivity growth exceeding growth in real wages
  • is a multicultural population, where 2.1 million Australians speak an Asian language and 1.3 million speak a European language.
Over 40% of Australia's workforce holds a tertiary qualification

Charts from the Benchmark Report

The Australia Benchmark Report provides rich data demonstrating why there is no better place than Australia to do business. The report examines five key reasons for investing in Australia – Robust Economy, Dynamic Industries, Innovation and Skills, Global Ties and Strong Foundations – and compares Australia’s credentials with other countries.

Charts can be downloaded and saved as images for use in reports and presentations (when using please reference www.austrade.gov.au)

1.  Skilled, Highly Educated Workforce
Australia offers a highly educated workforce with the skills to service a diverse range of industries. The country is ranked particularly well for its overall education system, secondary and tertiary education enrolment rates, student mobility and ready availability of skilled labour and finance skills.
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2.  Ready Supply of Tertiary-educated Workers
More than 40 per cent of Australian workers on average hold a tertiary qualification. Over half the workforce in education and training, professional, scientific and technical services, and financial and insurance services has a tertiary education, underpinning Australia’s global competitiveness in these sectors.
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3.  Diversified, Services-based Workforce
Around 80 per cent of Australians are employed in the services sector. Forty per cent of people work in sectors where tertiary education is standard for many employees, including education and training; professional, scientific and technical services; financial and insurance services; healthcare; information media and telecommunications; and public administration.
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4.  Productivity Growth Outpacing Labour Costs
Australia has enjoyed a sustained period of labour productivity growth exceeding growth in real wages. The country has experienced an 8.4 per cent increase in average labour productivity between 2010 and 2016, while real unit labour costs have risen by only 1.5 per cent, indicating the effective cost of labour has remained in line with productivity improvements.
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5.  Multicultural Population
Australia is one of the most multicultural countries in the OECD. The country’s overseas-born population (as a percentage of total population) has grown from 23.2 per cent in 2004 to 28.5 per cent in 2014, providing access to workers who are well equipped with the cultural understanding and language capabilities to service international businesses in their own languages.
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6.  Culturally Diverse Labour Force
Almost 30 per cent of Australia’s 12.6 million-strong labour force was born overseas. Many foreign-born workers are from Asia or Europe, enriching Australia’s reputation for multilingual, culturally diverse workplaces and boosting the nation’s competitive edge in international business.
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