Recruitment in Australia – Important Information for Psychiatrists

Recruitment in Australia – Important Information for Psychiatrists

Following the bushfire crisis in 2019/2020, recruitment for senior medical practitioners in Australia, particularly in New South Wales, is expected to continue for appointments in 2021, 2022 and beyond.


Consultant Psychiatrists who completed their specialist training in the UK, Ireland, NZ, Canada, USA and South Africa remain in high demand. This shortage was forecast to continue until at least 2025 - even without factoring the Bushfire crisis in.


This means Psychiatrists are increasingly able to be appointed to jobs in their preferred locations, including, for example, recent appointments starting work in central Sydney and in central Perth.


I am again currently recruiting for an Adult Psychiatrist in Perth and for a Clinical Director, CAMHS for a service in Sydney. A place where I in fact used to live, making it a fun project for me to recruit! 


At the moment, Mental Health Services are actively recruiting, albeit at slower pace currently then last year, as workforce departments are redirected to more urgent needs.


2020 so far


This year, I have assisted 3 UK based Psychiatrists secure posts in Australia. These jobs present interesting professional challenges, lucrative public health remunerations, well-resourced services and exceptional lifestyle opportunities. The Psychiatrists are now preparing for their Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatry assessments and are looking forward to moving in 2021.


Why make the move?


Most of the psychiatrists I have recruited to Australia have moved there with young families. However, I have also moved psychiatrists retired from the NHS or with adult children who have sought out new experiences whilst wanting to earn good money, enjoy better weather etc. There have been a few singles who I have helped too. Others have moved while their kids were in high school who have now gone on to study in universities in Australia. In 5 years, not one of my psychiatrists has returned to the country they moved to Australia from.


Notable feedback across these 5 years include:

  • Services are busy but little requirement to do more than contracted hours. (38-40hrs)
  • Services are well resourced with junior and middle-grade doctors. (1 service has a 1:1 ratio of consultants and senior registrars).
  • The further a service is away from a major metropolitan city, the more development it needs.
  • A high level of transparency, positivity, and enthusiasm for Consultant Psychiatrists to claim for additional allowances they are entitled to (part of Australian industrial culture irrespective of industry).
  • My position as a senior doctor is respected and I have been humbled by the respect and support I receive by staff in the hospital and in the community.
  • Cultural reference points are hard to pick up.
  • Money is great and the weather is warmer (especially for the Canadians!).
  • Lots of cricket!
  • Great for kids!
  • Winters in Victoria are surprisingly cold (but short).


I can discuss specific services and locations with you, even putting you in touch for informal discussions with Clinical Directors or to your own peer group who have made the move.


Like anywhere on the planet, there are pros and cons. Australia is a huge continent with a variety of employment, climate, urban, regional contexts. So, if you are starting to think about a possible move, it is important to avoid applying a broad brush and seek detail.




As many of you will know, the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatry assesses your education and experience after you have accepted a job offer. The only outcome which allows you to work as a Consultant in the job you have been offered is for your professional background to be assessed as “Substantially Comparable” to a Consultant Psychiatrist trained in Australia. The assessment is undertaken via an application form, a video conference interview, referees, and a review of your CV in the college template.


The college keeps the scoring strategy secret. However, we know the important criteria for success for this RANZCP assessment- on paper - continues to appear to be:


  • Training completed in Ireland, UK, NZ, USA, Canada, USA and South Africa.
  • MRCPsych or equivalent.
  • At least 3years consultant experience upon RANZCP application submission (you can have 2-2.5yrs experience when you contact me as recruitment processes are lengthy).
  • A formal post in CAMHS of at least 6 months during your basic or advanced training.


Note: CESR is not looked upon favourably.


It is important to note, there are variations for each medical college. So, if you have a friend, for example, who is a GP and moved to Australia and insists the process for you – as a psychiatrist - will be as easy as it was for them, don’t believe them! Please talk to us.




Remuneration levels remain high. This is because salary increases tend to be indexed each FY and the Australian Medical Association has a strong hand in negotiating with the state governments. Salaries in each state tend to be broken down as follows:


  • Base salary: AUD180k-220k plus:
  • Private Practise Allowance: 50% of base.
  • On-call: AUD10-25k.
  • Car allowance - in some states, paid with salary.
  • Location allowances - subjective and can range between 5% - 20% of base salary.
  • Professional development: in QLD and WA AUD20k is paid with your salary, in others it is reimbursed. 
  • Superannuation (pension) paid by the employer minimum of 9.5%.
  • Benefits and allowances vary between states. A consultant with 10yrs+ experience in QLD salary will be between AUD430-AUD457k PLUS on-call. 


Remember, health operations are devolved to each state and territory government, hence varying salaries in each. 


If you are looking to find out more or just looking for informal chat, get in touch.


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