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Thread: Working as a planner in USA/AU..which country is better overall for planners?

  1. #1

    Working as a planner in USA/AU..which country is better overall for planners?

    I'm about to begin my master's program in urban/regional planning, and am beginning to think about where I want to work further down the line as a planner. I spent much of my life in Melbourne, Australia, and am now living in southern California. From what I've learned from researching opportunities/salaries/etc. for planners in AU, it sounds as though the job market is much better for planners in Australia than it is here. I'd love to move back to Australia anyway, but wanted others' opinions on my query. Overall, is the job market better for planners in AU or the US? Also, as much as I hate to bring up the question of salaries, it seems as though US planners' salaries are significantly lower than AU planners' salaries, overall, and I'd like the prospect of being able to "move up" (as anyone would)..are opportunities for planners in AU more or less "stagnant" than for planners in the US?

    Thank you!
    Chelsea

  2. #2
    Cyburbian cng's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by TheInternational View post
    I'm about to begin my master's program in urban/regional planning, and am beginning to think about where I want to work further down the line as a planner. I spent much of my life in Melbourne, Australia, and am now living in southern California. From what I've learned from researching opportunities/salaries/etc. for planners in AU, it sounds as though the job market is much better for planners in Australia than it is here. I'd love to move back to Australia anyway, but wanted others' opinions on my query. Overall, is the job market better for planners in AU or the US? Also, as much as I hate to bring up the question of salaries, it seems as though US planners' salaries are significantly lower than AU planners' salaries, overall, and I'd like the prospect of being able to "move up" (as anyone would)..are opportunities for planners in AU more or less "stagnant" than for planners in the US?

    Thank you!
    Chelsea
    This is a difficult question for most people to answer, since I suspect few of us have actually worked as a planner in both the US and AUS. Job prospects are dismal for planners in the US due to the recession, so you'll have to evaluate the state of the economy in AUS to determine whether it has had an impact on the job market for planners there. Your graduate planning program in California may use many local examples as case studies, so consider how you might use your US education elsewhere. (For example, the learning of CEQA in California could be completely irrelevant in the AUS.) Ultimately, it's a personal decision--perhaps one beyond the single factor of job outlook for planners. If you really want to move back to AUS after grad school--just do it, and be persistent in your job hunt. In the meantime, enjoy grad school for all it has to offer.

  3. #3
    OH....IO Hink's avatar
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    I considered getting my degree in Australia. I went for 7 weeks over one summer to better understand the country and the landscape. Ultimately I wanted to work here, so I went another direction.

    The pay is better in Australia, but jobs are just as tough to get as here (at least they were when I was looking). We have numerous Aussies on this board who can speak to job prospects there now.

    I think it depends on what you want to do. The work is very different between Australia and here. The system of governments is different, and the type of work you will be doing is different.

    Off-topic:
    Where in Melbourne are you from? I spent a lot of time in Whitehorse, Mont Albert mostly, St. Kilda (Go Saints), and in Blairgowrie.
    A common mistake people make when trying to design something completely foolproof is to underestimate the ingenuity of complete fools. -Douglas Adams

  4. #4
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    job market is going quite strong in Australia, and seems much better than what im reading in the US.

    The salaries in the US seem quite low, whereas in Australia you will start on $50 000 AUD (50 000 US in todays terms) as a fresh graduate doing stat planning. Can crack 70-80k after a 3-4 years experience.

    Takes a bit of work to find the jobs but there is work around and there is defienlty alot of work out in regional Australia if you cant find work in the city.

    If i was in the US I wouldn't think twice, I'd get here ASAP....the Australian market is one of the 'hot' ones at the moment.

  5. #5
    Quote Originally posted by Hink_Planner View post
    I considered getting my degree in Australia. I went for 7 weeks over one summer to better understand the country and the landscape. Ultimately I wanted to work here, so I went another direction.

    The pay is better in Australia, but jobs are just as tough to get as here (at least they were when I was looking). We have numerous Aussies on this board who can speak to job prospects there now.

    I think it depends on what you want to do. The work is very different between Australia and here. The system of governments is different, and the type of work you will be doing is different.

    Off-topic:
    Where in Melbourne are you from? I spent a lot of time in Whitehorse, Mont Albert mostly, St. Kilda (Go Saints), and in Blairgowrie.
    That's the thing, I'm not exactly sure yet what specific field I'd want to work in. I was beginning to lean towards working in government, but specifically interested in sustainability and land use.
    I lived in Sandringham, and went to high school in St. Kilda (Wesley College). What a small world!

  6. #6
    Quote Originally posted by frozenzeus View post
    job market is going quite strong in Australia, and seems much better than what im reading in the US.

    The salaries in the US seem quite low, whereas in Australia you will start on $50 000 AUD (50 000 US in todays terms) as a fresh graduate doing stat planning. Can crack 70-80k after a 3-4 years experience.

    Takes a bit of work to find the jobs but there is work around and there is defienlty alot of work out in regional Australia if you cant find work in the city.

    If i was in the US I wouldn't think twice, I'd get here ASAP....the Australian market is one of the 'hot' ones at the moment.
    That is incredibly uplifting to hear! Do you believe that a master's degree in planning from a uni in the US would be less "appreciated" in AU than if I were to get an advanced degree there? (although I would love to be able to get my master's in AU rather than here, but unfortunately I simply do not have the money to be able to do that!)

  7. #7
    Cyburbian natski's avatar
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    Well in Sydney the job market isnt "Hot". There isnt that much going around, plus there are a lot of planners in current positions wanting to move jobs, whom you will have to compete against. I think its probably easier getting a job in the private industry rather than government.
    "Have you ever wondered if there was more to life, other than being really, really, ridiculously good looking?" Zoolander

  8. #8
    Quote Originally posted by natski View post
    Well in Sydney the job market isnt "Hot". There isnt that much going around, plus there are a lot of planners in current positions wanting to move jobs, whom you will have to compete against. I think its probably easier getting a job in the private industry rather than government.
    Ah, I see..that does sound a bit daunting. But I am keen on moving to Melbourne, rather than Sydney..

  9. #9
    Cyburbian natski's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by TheInternational View post
    ..... But I am keen on moving to Melbourne, rather than Sydney..
    ah your loss
    "Have you ever wondered if there was more to life, other than being really, really, ridiculously good looking?" Zoolander

  10. #10
    Quote Originally posted by natski View post
    ah your loss
    So I've heard! But I have a lot of ties in Melbourne, so I guess that's worth something

  11. #11
    Cyburbian
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    Quote Originally posted by TheInternational View post
    I'm about to begin my master's program in urban/regional planning, and am beginning to think about where I want to work further down the line as a planner. I spent much of my life in Melbourne, Australia, and am now living in southern California. From what I've learned from researching opportunities/salaries/etc. for planners in AU, it sounds as though the job market is much better for planners in Australia than it is here. I'd love to move back to Australia anyway, but wanted others' opinions on my query. Overall, is the job market better for planners in AU or the US? Also, as much as I hate to bring up the question of salaries, it seems as though US planners' salaries are significantly lower than AU planners' salaries, overall, and I'd like the prospect of being able to "move up" (as anyone would)..are opportunities for planners in AU more or less "stagnant" than for planners in the US?

    Thank you!
    Chelsea
    I'm sorry I won't be able to advise whether Au or US is better but in terms of resources, one way you could find out more info is to check out the Planning Institute of Australia's website to find out the latest updates on the planning industry there (www.planning.org.au). Another site of interest is the Municipal Association of Victoria, which is essentially a website for Local Government resources. (See http://www.mav.asn.au and click on Council Information, then Local Government Employment. There is a factsheet on planning jobs.)

    Sign up with one of the HR firms that has a good list of jobs available in the planning field and see the skill sets the employers are asking for as well as asking salary. I would recommend going with Hays Australia. Else you can sign up with www.jobsinplanning.com, which has a mailing list type of system where they would email you the latest job openings available in Australia once a week.

    When I started work in Melbourne a few years back (prior to financial crisis) I started with low $40k, which seemed to be the going rate among my coursemates (I studied at the University of Melbourne).

    Hope this helps and all the best in your decision making.

  12. #12
    Quote Originally posted by joshww81 View post
    I'm sorry I won't be able to advise whether Au or US is better but in terms of resources, one way you could find out more info is to check out the Planning Institute of Australia's website to find out the latest updates on the planning industry there (www.planning.org.au). Another site of interest is the Municipal Association of Victoria, which is essentially a website for Local Government resources. (See http://www.mav.asn.au and click on Council Information, then Local Government Employment. There is a factsheet on planning jobs.)

    Sign up with one of the HR firms that has a good list of jobs available in the planning field and see the skill sets the employers are asking for as well as asking salary. I would recommend going with Hays Australia. Else you can sign up with www.jobsinplanning.com, which has a mailing list type of system where they would email you the latest job openings available in Australia once a week.

    When I started work in Melbourne a few years back (prior to financial crisis) I started with low $40k, which seemed to be the going rate among my coursemates (I studied at the University of Melbourne).

    Hope this helps and all the best in your decision making.
    That's great information! Thank you so much, I'll have to check those websites out.

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