working in australia can be confusing

New to Australia? Advice to help you settle into work.

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Every year, over 200,000 people migrate to Australia. In fact, 30% of Australians were born overseas. The top five countries of origin are England, China, India, New Zealand, Philippines and Vietnam. Settling in can take some time, so here’s some advice for what you can expect at work.

Australians speak differently to the English you learned in school.

Even native English speakers struggle with the Australian accent. Abbreviations are part of every day speech. Here’s a quick guide to Australian slang. Follow cues at work to see how much slang they use.

At work, sometimes it’s hard to tell who’s the boss

Olivia Doyle, Senior International Student Advisor at Swinburne University said for people new to Australia says it’s not always easy to understand a workplace hierarchy.

“It’s less obvious who is the manager and who is the staff member. Australians have a flatter management style,” she said. “I often see Australian employees taking the time to talk to the security guard, the cleaner, the tea lady. ”

Swinburne Commons (YouTube), Australian workplace culture (Professional Insights) , August 2014

She describes the experiences of Natesh. He was raised in India where it was unacceptable to question the directions of someone more senior. It’s normal to follow directions without question. In Australia, it’s different. People speak directly and expect their team to speak up and voice their opinion.

Men in a timber workshop having a chat

Don’t be late; work as a team

Olivia Doyle says, “When it comes to deadlines, Australians are very focused. Meeting time frames is very important.” It’s critical to get to work on time. Come to meetings before the start time.

“People tend to work in teams. In some countries, you do individual projects and you’ve got all your own tasks to do. In Australia, I think you’ll find it’s increasingly team focused”

Swinburne Commons (YouTube), Australian workplace culture (Professional Insights) , August 2014

“A lot companies have quite a strong focus on sport, barbecues, holidays and social events. I think that’s important to know when you’re communicating with people and to understand the importance of actually joining in some of those activities,” added Olivia Doyle.

Get more insight into Australian workplace culture

Get more tips on settling into a new job in Australia at the jobactive website. You can also find out what employers are looking for. Let us know your experiences in the comments below.

Images: iStock


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