Cairns has a population of around 170,000 (a debatable figure), yet it is still relatively small in comparison to larger cities such as Brisbane or Sydney. This size can limit the type of work available in Cairns, however there is work if you are contemplating on living in Cairns. Before we start though, we want to inform you (if you don’t know already) that Cairns is susceptible to high unemployment rates much higher than QLD or Australian averages, simply because it is so heavily reliant on the tourism sector. Don’t let this deter you though, as there are many jobs available in Cairns and opportunities to make a living. Now… Without further ado, let’s talk about the industries that employ the most people.
Tourism. Tourism is the heart of Cairns and without it the town would be just a dot on a map. Cairns is perfectly positioned for tourism. It sits on the Great Barrier Reef, to the West we have the mountain ranges and plains and to the North, we have Port Douglas and the Daintree Rainforest. Because of this prime positioning to these beautiful destinations, Cairns gets millions of visitors a year. Many more especially now that we get direct flights from China. If you find yourself working in Cairns, there will be a high possibility that it will be in Tourism. There are many resorts, cruises, tourist attractions and destinations, all of which have a vast multitude of companies providing the services so tourists can explore this beautiful region, all year round. Tourism however is not the only industry in Cairns.
Trades jobs, mining, medical, accountants and customer service jobs are also common, however building jobs have really dropped off since the property boom died. On the other hand, white collar work is far and few between (for professionals). Industries like finance and IT are near non-existent, unless you already have it lined up. Also, many white collar jobs in Cairns tend to be short contracts, so be mindful of this as the costs associated with relocation can really add up, especially if you are only moving up for a short period.
Bottom line, there are opportunities to find work in Cairns, it is just that high profile jobs are generally hard to come by. People that have snatched them up tend to stay. This doesn’t mean there isn’t opportunities up here to find that perfect job but of you see it, move quickly to make your dream of living in Cairns a reality.