Key ACT industries

Posted 1 Jan 2017

Story by Canberra Create Your Future

You’ll be spoilt for choice when it comes to jobs in Canberra.

There’s a mix of jobs available in a range of industries, in both the public and private sectors. In fact, more than 50 per cent of Canberra’s workforce is employed by over 25,000 private companies (big and small).

Canberra has a unique employment market – here you’ll find the best educated workforce and the highest per capita income in Australia. Our economy is sophisticated and knowledge based, orientated towards service delivery and public administration. The Commonwealth Government is our largest employer and also our biggest customer.

Like any growing city we have ongoing needs in other key sectors including health and building and construction.

Our thriving private sector comprises large multinational companies dealing with government down to small businesses servicing the needs of locals. We are also the home to many of the nation’s industry associations and professional societies.

The strength of our economy and recent growth has lead to many industries experiencing labour shortages. Here’s a snapshot of our key industries.


Over 12,000 people are employed within our diverse building and construction industry. In recent years Canberra’s residential and commercial sectors have thrived despite the impact of global economic challenges. The ACT Government as committed to significant spending on new infrastructure projects and construction works along with increasing land release for residential and industrial use.

Opportunities for skilled trade’s people are not limited to building and construction – many employment sectors have a high demand for qualified people including the tourism, hospitality and service industries.

Master Builders Association
Housing Industry Association


As Australia’s capital Canberra is home to the Australian Public Service – the administrative arm of the Australian Government. The Australian Public Service, or APS, is renowned as one of the most innovative government administrations in the world and is Canberra’s biggest employer.

The Australian Capital Territory (ACT) Government has its own Public Service that employs over 20,000 people across a wide range of jobs. The ACT Government welcomes diversity in the workplace and employs non-citizens (permanent residents of Australia), except in some circumstances where security clearance is required.

Defence and security are among Canberra’s largest industry sectors and over 13,000 military and defence-civilian personnel are located in the capital region. The Department of Defence is based here along with the Royal Military College and Australian Defence Force Academy.

Around 50 per cent of employment in the ACT is within the public service (federal and territory) and defence sectors.

It’s important to note that employment with the APS will usually require Australian citizenship however exceptions are sometimes made.

ACT Government Jobs
Australian Public Service Jobs
Defence Jobs


Canberra’s ICT sector is one of our key competitive strengths, providing essential ICT services and expertise as well as enabling technology for the rest of Canberra’s knowledge based economy.

Employing around 8,000 people, our ICT sector is made up of over 1,000 businesses ranging from multinationals down to micro businesses.

The Australian Government and its tendency to outsource elements of its ICT solutions is a key driver of our ICT industry and provides strong impetus for business development in Canberra’s private sector. Because of this many ICT jobs will require citizenship if employment is related to the Australian Public Service – if you are migrating from overseas you should research the availability of ICT jobs for non-citizens.


Employment opportunities exist within the arts, entertainment, sports and recreation industries, and their associated services.

Canberra is the custodian of some of the nation’s great cultural institutions which are the visible face of our artistic and cultural scene, but under the surface we have over 2,500 cultural and creative businesses based here.

The establishment of the Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) 30 years ago has been the catalyst for the development of significant local sports science and administration expertise and has lead to a number of spin off companies being established locally.

Many opportunities also exist in the business and clerical fields across the government and private sectors.

Australian Sports Commission
ACT Academy of Sport


As well as opportunities in the Australian and ACT Governments, Canberra has a thriving private sector with over 25,000 businesses servicing the region. What’s more, if you’re keen to work for yourself, the ACT Government has an extensive range of support programs to help you get your new business started.

Professional opportunities span most industries in Canberra with occupations ranging from engineers to general practitioners, lawyers to economists, and accountants to physiotherapists to name a few.

ACT Government Jobs
Australian Public Service Jobs


Canberra boasts some of the nation’s highest-quality health care services and facilities, including two large public hospitals, three private hospitals and a wide range of community based health services. Exciting contemporary models of care and new roles are being developed, including Australia’s first nurse-led ‘Walk-in Centre’ for the treatment of minor illness and injury.

There is demand for a range of health and allied health professionals in Canberra right now including qualified people in the caring professions.

ACT Government Health Directorate
Calvary Health Care
Capital Health Network


Over 120 public and independent primary and secondary schools offer high quality learning environments and first class facilities, and more schools are on the way. Early childhood education and care in Canberra is also a growing industry with a range of employment opportunities available for suitably qualified people.

Known as the ‘clever capital’, Canberra is considered an increasingly attractive destination for domestic and international students and is the home to a range of highly regarded tertiary institutions and education providers. Opportunities for teaching, corporate and administrative staff are ongoing.

Australian National University
University of Canberra
Canberra Institute of Technology
ACT Education and Training Directorate
Association of Independent Schools of the ACT
Catholic Education Office


Canberra is a thriving modern city with world class galleries and museums, stylish restaurants and bars, craft and food markets and plenty of fun opportunities for travellers to enjoy a unique experience.

Home to almost 7,000 tourism related businesses, tourism is the largest private sector segment of the ACT economy and offers great employment opportunities on casual, part-time and full-time basis.

With a higher than average disposable income Canberrans are known for their love of eating out any night of the week. Our diverse hospitality industry has an ongoing need for skilled people with administration, management, and trade qualifications.

Have you got a Canberra story to share? Send it through for a chance to be featured!