Is It Better To Live in the UK or Australia?

Where should you relocate: to the UK or Australia? Hard choice. Many British people struggle in Australia, while others are thriving. These two places are so diverse that the final decision will depend on your personal preferences. The weather is indeed better in Australia. Yet, Australia is best to live a quiet life; the UK is best to seek opportunities. Which one do you want more?

Living in the UK vs Australia is a tough comparison. Both countries have something unique and advantageous to them. Yet many people will choose Australia over the UK if they had a choice, of course. Why? Learn in this article.

The UK vs Australia

Pros of living in the UK

1. Proximity to the rest of Europe

In the UK, you are in the heart of Europe. A train will get from London to Paris and back in a day. In fact, some people commute from London to Paris every day for work.

In Australia, you have to fly every time going to another city, whereas you can drive for 3 hours and end up somewhere middle of the UK or take a short and cheap flights to mainland Europe.

2. Proximity within the UK

You can reach anything within half an hour within most British cities, even in London. You won’t be spending much time commuting or traveling between the cities in the UK.

3. Cultural richness

Cultural heritage is very different in the UK and Australia. Indeed, the UK is some of the longstanding countries on this planet. You shouldn’t expect much of the history and sense of the culture in new places like Australia. And it can be a considerable drawback for someone in love with old architecture, traditions, etc.

In comparison to the UK, Australia is a cultural wasteland. Consequently, if you love literature, art, history, and intellectual life, the UK is definitely the right choice.

In Australia, on the other hand, you can enjoy skyscrapers, air-conditioned shopping malls, and golden beaches. Yet, it might become boring after some time.

4. People

Australian people might appear immature and light-winded when it comes to living. The British are more ironic and self-aware. But they are also those who are open-minded and friendly, while Brits might seem more unfriendly, especially to foreigners. British also don’t show off as Australians like to do.

5. Public transport

Public transport like trains, trams, buses is very efferent and widely available not only in major British cities but in all locations. While you will get a hard time taking a bus or train in Australia. Your best option is to take a flight from city to city.

Cons of living in the UK

1. Weather

Well, the weather is probably the biggest reason why you might vote for Australia instead of the UK. And yes, British weather is nothing to brag about. The typical UK is gloomy and dark.

Pros of living in Australia

1. Sunshine and weather

The main reason why so many Europeans relocate to Australia is being fed up with winters.

2. Beaches

Australian beaches are some of the most beautiful and clean in the world. Besides, they are also empty!

3. Space

Australia is massive and generally underpopulated expect some areas. You can have a big house with a piece of land in almost any part of the country. In contrast, the UK is a small country and massively overcrowded. One will have a hard time finding a large home; people used to live in small apartments or tiny houses.

4. Larger houses for less money

As a consequence of the previous point, you can buy a larger home for cheaper in Australia. The houses in the UK are small and expensive.

5. A robust and mature democracy

Here the UK and Australia have similar points.

6. Wealthy and influential

Australia is a wealthy country, and so is the UK, you would say. Yet, Australian residents enjoy higher wages than British workers.

7. Multicultural

Australia is more multicultural than the UK is, except for London. You will see people with all different backgrounds. Those people also influenced Australia in many ways.

8. Tolerance

Both countries have a tolerant society, but open-minded Australia is winning in that sense.

9. Work-life balance

Work-life balance is far better in Australia than anywhere in the world. People value their lifestyles more. And rightly so, it’s hard to resist an afternoon chill with a beer when the sun is shining so bright.

10. People

Folks are more chilled in Australia. And again, the weather has contributed to this factor as well. Generally, Australians are friendly, funny people with a relaxed attitude.

11. Class and income matter less

In Australia, people pay less attention to how much you earn and which car you drive. They aren’t going after money, and class isn’t as important as it’s in more conservative British society.

12. Sports

Australians play various sports instead of watching them in a bar, as Brits do. Besides, that surfing is loved and practiced every day by many.

13. Less pollution

Due to the isolated location, you will see less pollution in Australia than in the UK.

14. Laidback attitude

Want to enjoy life more? Learn it from Australians! They indeed have a very relaxed and laid-back attitude. You surely won’t see anything similar in the UK.

Cons of living in Australia

1. Location and remoteness

The biggest drawback of living in Australia is being located in the middle of nowhere. When you decide to travel, the 4-hour flight will bring to..another city within Australia. Be prepared to spend over 10 hours on the plane when taking an international flight.

Driving isn’t a solution in Australia. From Perth to Sydney, it will take you about 40 hours. In the UK, you are within most major locations in several hours.

The proximity in the UK makes it connected to the world in a far closer way than it’s in Australia. Moreover, these connections are apparent in your interactions with people through day-to-day work and life.

In contrast, you might feel isolated in Australia. Especially when moving there after living in countries like the UK.

The isolation will affect your job prospects, travel opportunities, and your general global outlook. In the end, you will feel more a part of the world in the UK than in Australia.

The UK vs Australia: Quality of life

In general, the living standards in Australia are noticeably higher than in the UK. The highest quality of life is also accompanied by higher average wages.

The UK

Work-life balance

While work-life balance is still decent in the UK, nothing can beat Australia.

Housing

Unfortunately, UK housing is pretty limited. In addition houses and apartments are small in size and overpriced. London’s prices on rent and real estate are prohibitively high, pushing a lot of people out of the city.

Education

British education is renowned, and you probably know it. Besides its reputation, studying at university won’t cost you a fortune, as it might be in Australia. Average tuition fees for a year of undergraduate in the UK are up to £9,250 for UK/EU citizens and between £10,000 to £38,000 for international students.

Healthcare

The UK has publicly founded healthcare which is available for all residents. Despite accessibility, you often will face long waiting periods when planning your next visit to the doctor.

Social security

All UK residents can fall back on social security when needed. Social security benefits provided by the British state include:

  • income support
  • job seeker’s allowance
  • child benefit
  • housing benefit
  • council tax benefit
  • disability living allowance
  • invalid care allowance
  • pension

Salaries 

UK salaries can’t beat Australian, even in the highest-paid British city – London. The average UK salary was just £38,600 in 2020.

Cost of living

At the same time, the cost of living is higher in the UK than in Australia. In fact, living in a city like London is difficult to manage for someone with an average income.

Read more about cost of living in Australia.

Infrastructure

UK infrastructure is superior to Australia, and you can’t argue with that. All types of public transport are well developed in the UK, including trains, trams, buses, etc. Moreover, the UK got some of the best flight connections in the world, with tens of airports and numerous airlines, including many lowcosters.

Weather

Compared to Australia, the UK is terrible, but generally speaking, the UK’s weather isn’t as bad as people think. In fact, thanks to global warming, the summers are now longer and hotter.

Yet, it gets dark and cold for 4 to 5 months of the year. During the UK winter, you go to work in the dark and come home in the dark. If you have lived in Western Europe, you will be well prepared for life in the UK.

Lifestyle

UK lifestyle is pretty much average European. People work, enjoy free time activities, travel, go to pubs, etc. Brits tend to go out more than Australians, while the latter prefer to stay at home. In the end, there is no other place in the world with such a strong pub culture as the UK!

Plus, you can do weekend breaks and travel to any place in Europe whether you want.

Culture and people

The UK comprises four countries (England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland) which makes it even locally very culture varied. It has over 50 accents.

Brits are known to be super polite but reserved. Their humor is also not easy to understand, at least not for everyone.

Australia

Work-life balance

Work-life balance is better in Australia. People value their lifestyles more. And rightly so, it’s hard to resist an afternoon chill with a beer when the sun is shining so bright.

Housing

Housing is plentiful in Australia. Furthermore, you can afford a more spacious and higher-quality home. And rents on average are cheaper than in the UK.

Education

Australian education is also known across the globe, where thousands of students come to study every year.

In Australia, the average tuition fee for international undergraduate students was $30,840 per year in 2018 and $31,596 for postgraduates. 

Healthcare

Healthcare in Australia is also funded through the public Medicare program, the same way as it’s in the UK. Australian healthcare services and facilities are held to good quality. Besides that, everyone has access to private medicine when willing to pay out of pocket.

Moreover, public healthcare is inexpensive in Australia – you pay just 2% of your taxable income every month. Many people buy additional health insurance to cover services offered in private medical healthcare.

To cover your medical bills in Australia, you need health insurance. For all expats out there, we recommend insurance from Cigna Global. They provide the best price & value packages.

Social security

Same way as in the UK, Australian residents can count on a stable welfare system. You will be supported when sick, old, disabled homeless, have kids, or unemployed.

Salaries 

Australian salaries are pretty high, especially in cities like Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane. With the right skills and experience, you can significantly boost your income by getting a job in one of those places.

Cost of living

Australia isn’t known for its low cost of living, but it isn’t very high either. With an average salary of AUD$90,329 (51,561) in 2021, you can have a comfortable life pretty much anywhere in the country.

Read our detailed guide on cost of living in Sydney, Australia.

Infrastructure

Australia is a massive country, and unfortunately, public transportation isn’t well developed unless you decide to fly. Consequently, domestic transport infrastructure relies predominantly on aviation.

Weather

No doubt, the weather, and climate are much better in Australia. This factor largely impacts your quality of life. The UK has about 1 month of nice weather per year, the rest of the time it’s grey and miserable. You will enjoy 9 months of great weather. But the Australian sun is shining even in winter.

Lifestyle

Australians prefer an outdoorsy vs an indoor lifestyle. Traveling isn’t easy in Australia, so most people tend to stay within the country most of the time. Some go on vacation, usually to Asian countries due to the proximity.

Culture and people

You may experience the biggest shock in Australia during the Christmas season when many Australians celebrate it with outdoor barbecues rather than a Christmas dinner.

Overall, Australians are typically laid-back and very easy-going. They are also seen as friendly, and many don’t use formalities. Similar to Brits, Aussie humor centers around self-deprecating humor. They also tease their friends in a loving way.

The UK vs Australia: Salaries

Facts first: Salaries are on average 28% higher in Australia than in the UK.

The average salary among graduates is painfully low in the UK – about £26,345 compared to £33,200 in Australia. Yet, the unemployment rate for college graduates in the UK is lower than in Australia: 4.6% vs 7.1%. Hence, you will have great chances of employment.

The UK

It might be surprising, but average salaries in the UK are quite low. An average employee earns between £30,000 – £35,000 per year. So your hard work might have better rewards in Australia.

According to the ONS, the average salary in the UK was £38,600 in 2020. And the median monthly pay in October 2021 was £2,004 gross per month or £24,048 annually.

Other sources state that the average earnings for full-time employees were around £31,461 in April 2020. Another data confirms that the average salary in the country in 2021 is £29,600.

At the same time, a net income between £2,500 and £3,000 is good in the UK.

Moreover, in the UK, someone with an annual salary of more than £70,000 is considered to be rich. Only 5% of all Brits have this income and above. On the other hand, the wage of £70,000 (AU$122,630) is pretty much doable in Australia.

Facts about UK salaries:

  1. Full-time male employees earn 18,05% more than their female colleagues.
  2. The highest earners are under age between 40 and 49, with income averaging £35,757

Furthermore, most Brits feel that a salary of £2,000 a month after tax is the minimum income for a comfortable lifestyle (for a single person). 

Here is the average UK salary for the most popular job positions in 2021:

  1. IT Technician – £31,731
  2. Administrator – £25,050
  3. Construction Project Manager – £40,549
  4. Business/Corporate Project Manager – £58,478
  5. Police Officer – £26,605
  6. Education Support Assistant – £16,700
  7. Business Development Manager – £52,500
  8. Labourer – £28,237
  9. Receptionist – £17,808
  10. Sales Executive – £26,302
  11. Account Manager – £52,500
  12. Quantity Surveyor – £42,511
  13. Care Assistant – £18,255
  14. Chef – £21,282
  15. Managers – £58,862 (although this varies widely depending on your field)
  16. Nurse – £32,338
  17. Electrician – £31,277
  18. Doctor – £41,494
  19. Lawyer – £63,771
  20. Writer – £33,887
  21. Teacher – £39,388
  22. Business Analyst – £49,079
  23. Finance Professionals – £42,578
  24. Customer Service Advisor – £21,494
  25. Engineer – £43,628

Learn more about salaries in the UK.

Australia

Australia’s average salary for full-time workers was a record high – AUD$90,329 (£51,561) in 2021. If overtime and bonuses are included, average Australian earnings were AUD$92,102 per annum. It’s at least 25% higher than the British average.

Nonetheless, most workers (about 75%) earn less than AUD$78,624 a year before tax. 

Here is the average salary for different professional groups in Australia:

OccupationSalary (AUD$)
CEO or Managing Director:AUD$242,500
Senior Manager: AUD$146,000
Other Managers: AUD$109,000
Skilled professionals: AUD$87,000
Associate Professional and Technical:  AUD$72,000
Trades Workers:  AUD$60,000 
Laborers:   AUD$50,000

The Australian median salary was AUD$72,000 in 2021.

Median salaries for common jobs:

  1. Surgeons: AUD$316,000
  2. Anesthetists: AUD$294,000
  3. Dentists: AUD$269,000
  4. Primary school teacher: AUD$65,000
  5. Registered nurse: AUD$66,000
  6. Electrician: AUD$59.00 per hour
  7. Carpenter: AUD$55.00 per hour
  8. Bus driver: AUD$37.00 per hour
  9. Receptionist: AUD$22.00 per hour

When moving to Australia, you should aim for a salary of at least AUD$60,000 per year.

Some facts about Australian salaries:

  • Median hourly earnings are about AUD$36 (£20,55) per hour
  • Men earn AUD$261 per week (14,2%) more than women working full-time
  • On average, women working full-time earned AUD$1,575 a week while men working full-time earned AUD$1,837 in Australia
  • The high average earnings growth have been seen in the construction industry

A good salary in Australia starts from AUD$90,000 (£51,374). It will be enough to live comfortably in all parts of the country.

In major cities such as Sydney and Melbourne, you can expect a higher salary of around AUD$110,000 – AUD$150,000.

For instance, an AUD$100,000 salary leaves you around AUD$75,813 annually or AUD$6,259 monthly after tax. You can expect to live comfortably with that amount, whether alone or with your family. Your minimal monthly expenses may be reflected as seen in the table below:

Rent:AUD$1,000-AUD$1,500
Food:AUD$400-AUD$500
Transportation: AUD$100-AUD$200
Utilities (electricity, water, internet, etc.):  AUD$200-AUD$250
Entertainment:AU$150-AUD$200
Health insurance: AUD$200-AUD$300
Total: AUD$3,100
Savings/Leisure: AUD$3,100

Learn more about salaries in Australia.

Taxes

We should mention taxes when talking about salaries. Australians pay around 25% in taxes, while Brits – pay between 25% and 35% of their gross income.

In Australia, an employee pays the following taxes:

  • income tax
  • Low And Middle Income Tax Offset
  • medicare – health insurance 
  • payroll taxes

The amount of tax an employee pays depends on their income and how it is earned. For example, employees who earn a salary are taxed at a different rate than those who earn income from investments.

The list below shows the average 2020/2021 income tax rates for employees based on their income thresholds (AUD):

  • $0 – $18,200: 0%
  • $18,201 – $45,000: 19%
  • $45,001 – $120,000: 32,55%
  • $120,001 – $180,000: 37%
  • $180,001 and over: 45%

In the UK, you will be liable to pay income taxes and deductions for social security contributions.

The most common income tax rate is 20%, and social security employees pay between 0% and 12% of the gross salary, depending on the level and class of income.

In Britain, the tax-free amount is £12,570 per year. Everything above that divided into three brackets:

  1. 20% – for annual salary between £12,570 and £50,270
  2. 40% – for annual salary between £50,271 and £150,000
  3. 45% – for annual salary above £150,001

Yet, the majority of people pay 20% in income tax and 12% in social security.

The UK vs Australia: Job opportunities

Which country offers better career and job opportunities?

The UK

Overall, the service sector dominates the UK economy. Banking, insurance, and business services are all key drivers of the country’s growth. London, in particular, is an attractive place for relocation among various professions.

Hence, executives in the banking industry have very good prospects in the UK.

The best fields to work in the UK are:

  • Accounting, banking and finance
  • Consulting and management
  • Healthcare
  • IT
  • Marketing, advertising
  • Sales
  • Education
  • Engineering
  • Recruitment and HR

Apart from that, expats and foreign workers can find the most job offerings in areas with skill shortages:

  1. Business services – analysts, market researchers, HR officers
  2. Construction – surveyors, planners and project managers
  3. Education – primary and secondary school teachers (particularly maths teachers)
  4. Engineering – electrical, mechanical and chemical engineers, civil engineers and product and process engineers
  5. Healthcare – nurses, medical radiographers and pediatricians
  6. Hospitality – baristas, chefs
  7. IT – cyber security analysts, SEO marketers, software developers and systems engineers
  8. Social care – counselors, social workers

Australia

Professionals in the following Australian industries have seen an increase in income in recent years:

Energy8%
Banking 4%
IT3%
Healthcare  7%
Travel  2%
Construction6%
Education 1%
Source:  Salaryexplorer.com

An increase in wages means the overall growth of the industry and demand. As a result, foreigners also have excellent job opportunities in these areas.

The UK vs Australia: Cost of living

When considering the general cost of living among both countries, the UK has higher prices on most items. Nonetheless, rent is cheaper in the UK than in Australia. Moreover, there are some significant regional differences, where London is significantly more expensive than even Sydney.

For example, the cost of renting and buying property is 20% higher in London than in Sydney.

The isolation of Australia also affects goods and services that are often more expensive due to import expenses and/or a lack of competition. In the UK, you have a wider variety of choices at typically lower costs.

The UK

The cost of living in the UK comes to £3,749 for a family of four and £2,165 for a single person.

Food is significantly cheaper in the UK than in Australia. In fact, you will save 26% on groceries while living in the UK.

Generally, in the UK, you can live comfortably on between £2,000 – £3,000, depending on the location and your personal situation. But you will need at least £2,500 in London.

Cost of living index of various British cities:

1stLondon237
2ndBrighton and Hove169
3rdBristol163
4thEdinburgh161
5thOxford160
6thReading, Berkshire152
7thManchester147
8thPortsmouth142
9thAberdeen142
10thStoke-on-Trent141
11thBelfast137

Cost of living in London:

  • Estimated monthly costs for a family of four: £4,954
  • Estimated monthly costs for a single: £2,946

Here are some average expenses you can expect in London:

  1. Housing: A rent for 1 bedroom apartment in the city centre is about £1,500, utilities cost another £200 and £35 for the internet.
  2. Groceries and food: £500 – £600.
  3. Miscellaneous and free time activities: around £600 a month is a good budget for closing, shoes, personal items, entertainment, weekend trips, yearly holidays, etc.
  4. Total: You will need about £2,900 – £3,000 per month for an average life in London.

Australia

In Australia, expect to spend about £3,461 (AU$6,250) as a family of four and £1,800 (AU$3,250) as a single. Consequently, the cost of living in Australia is generally lower than in the UK. Price index of the largest Australian cities:

1stSydney202
2ndMelbourne173
3rdBrisbane168
4thCanberra164
5thPerth158
6thCairns154
7thAdelaide153
8thNewcastle150
9thWollongong147
10thTownsville133

Nonetheless, the cost of living in Australia is more expensive than in 85% of countries in the world.

When comparing income and cost of living, you will need at least AUD$2,000 (£1,141) a month to live in Australia in order to cover your basics. With that amount, you will live in a shared apartment, and cook most of your meals yourself.

In the UK, the minimal amount would be about £1,500 to live a student-like lifestyle.

Moreover, an income of AUD$1,600 a week (AUD$6,400 monthly) is a good enough salary to live comfortably in Australia. If you want to have a slightly luxurious life, an annual income of AUD$100,000 is more than enough.

Some common expenses in Australia (AUD):

Rent for a basic one-bedroom apartment $400 a week
Grocery shopping$130-200 a week
Car insurance$2,000/year
Electricity$280/quarter
Mobile phone $30/month
Home internet $50/month
Meals out$50–60/week
Car $90 a fill
Beer/wine$5-10

Here are some average expenses you can expect in Sydney:

  • Estimated monthly costs for a family of four: £4,264
  • Estimated monthly costs for a single: £2,434 – about £512 lower than in London
  1. Housing: A rent for 1 bedroom apartment in the city centre is about £1,500 and £1,000 in a normal area. utilities cost another £135 and £38 for the internet.
  2. Groceries and food: £400
  3. Monthly ticket for public transport: £114
  4. Miscellaneous and free time activities: around £500 a month is a good budget for closing, shoes, personal items, entertainment, weekend trips, yearly holidays, etc.
  5. Total: You will need about £2,600 – £2,800 per month for an average life in Sydney.

Housing the UK vs Australia

Housing is more expensive in Australia than in the UK. So a one-bedroom apartment will cost you about £200 per month more in Australia than in the UK. But renting a two-bedroom flat is more expensive in the UK, probably due to the lack of space.

Rent (GBP)The UKAustralia
One-bedroom apartment in the city center£947£1,150
Two-bedroom apartment in the city center£1,920£1,339

Moreover, renting a one-bedroom apartment close to the city center in London would cost you about £1,600 a month, but you can choose one outside the city center for about £1,100.

On the other hand, renting a family home costs about £3,100 a month on average in the city center and about £1,900 for one outside the center.

However, rents in other English cities are lower. For instance, in Manchester, you will get a one-bedroom apartment for about £700 a month.

Anna

Anna is an experienced expat and writer. She has been living abroad for over 6 years.

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