Jobs, Family, And Culture, Oh My! 3 Reasons To Make The Move

Piggy bank attached to the top of a toy car
If you live outside Canberra, you may have wondered ‘Is Canberra a good place to live? And how will a move effect my career?’
It’s difficult to know what any place can offer until you move there and give it a try, but Canberra certainly has a reputation for surprising people.

Being from a Defence family, I moved from Sydney to Canberra when I was in primary school. Our nation’s capital was very different back then, but I remember being sure that I would head back to the big city one day. Decades on now, and my love for Canberra is stronger than ever! I definitely don’t have plans to move away any time soon.

In the past 5 years, I’ve been excited to see a shift from people having to move to Canberra for work to instead choosing to move to Canberra. Especially after the events of 2020, people are relocating away from major cities in search of a better quality of life and job opportunities. Canberra offers this in spades, such as the fact that getting anywhere in Canberra only takes about 20 minutes – a far cry from the 4 hour daily public transport commute some in Sydney or Melbourne might be used to.

There are also fantastic job prospects here, given Canberra is in the midst of a massive skills shortage. This means big opportunities for anyone seeking to advance their career.

To find out what it was like to move from a major city to Canberra, we asked a few HorizonOne contractors to share their stories…

Ken’s story – “The work opportunities”

I was born, raised and completed my undergraduate degree in Canberra. I decided to leave home to explore the bright lights of Sydney where I met my partner. Once we got engaged it was always in the back of my mind to come back – just a matter of when. So when COVID happened, it was the right time to come home. To be honest, the constant lockdowns were starting to get to me – I wanted to get back into an office environment.

In Sydney, I was working at the state level in the public sector and now I’m working within the Federal Government. I knew I wanted to be able to focus on the numbers while also enjoying a face to face component such as consulting with people at all different levels as a part of my next role. When Kristelle put me forward for a Finance Business Partner role I was very keen as it was an opportunity that incorporated all these elements. I have since accepted a Finance Business Partner role at the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications.

My partner, who is a registered nurse, found it easy to get a transfer with her existing employer as nursing is also in high demand in Canberra.

The move here felt perfect as it provided us with the work/life balance we were looking for. There’s always a bit of a transition phase as Canberra is quieter, and definitely colder in winter, but you notice immediately that you have more time for yourself and your family.

Unlike a lot of people, the move to Canberra wasn’t something that just happened to us – we chose to make the move. With the amount and choice of job opportunities, I knew it was going to be a positive step forward in my career.

The fact that it’s a great place to raise a family is just an added bonus!

Julia’s story – “Canberra wasn’t our first choice, but it’s home now”

I may have been to Canberra on a school excursion as a kid, but I never thought I’d end up here. Before COVID, my partner and I had planned to move to Canada for his work, and when those plans changed, he landed a role with Geoscience Australia.

Because we had been planning to move away from Sydney anyway, we thought ‘Why not give Canberra a go?’ – and so we made the move.

I wasn’t sure what to expect, but it’s been very easy to adjust and I’m enjoying it a lot. I was surprised that I was able to find work so quickly with a small government department, as a Financial Analyst.

It was actually quite an adjustment in terms of the jobs market moving in from Sydney to Canberra. I had no idea how the jobs market here operated, and I was looking (unsuccessfully) for a few weeks before chatting to Kristelle at HorizonOne. She had 4 offers for me within a week of meeting her!

Part of the adjustment was figuring out what I liked about my career, and how to adapt it to the Canberra market. It was such a change, moving from the private sector into government, there’s a lot that’s involved in learning government frameworks. Luckily Kristelle was very knowledgeable and was able to guide me in the right direction into a fantastic role. So not only have I adjusted to living in a new city, but I’ve also adapted my career – and I’m really happy with the change!

We chose to live in Kingston which means I am able to walk to work every day, I could never do that in Sydney!

Outside of work, I love to cycle and Kingston is so close to Lake Burley Griffin, which means we can walk or cycle around the lake which we take great advantage of!

I’m also a bit of a foodie so I was surprised to find the food culture in Canberra was so good. There are so many nice restaurants and places to go for brunch, and often in highly suburban areas where you wouldn’t expect them to be.

I know we’ll be planning a trip to the snow or Batemans Bay at some point in the future, but for now, we’re taking it slow and trying out all the restaurants, galleries and museums. There’s always something to do if you feel like going out! And if not, Canberra is a lovely place to call home.

Brendan’s story – “We made a lifestyle choice”

I was born and raised in Sydney and moved to Canberra a few years ago. It was purely a lifestyle decision as I had also lived in Copenhagen for a number of years, and when I returned to Australia I knew I wanted to live somewhere with a similar lifestyle.

After seeing a job in Canberra advertised by HorizonOne, I got in touch, and they placed me in my current role within the public service.

I love living here, and I see myself being here forever. Sydney is so busy with over 5 million people; it takes forever to get anywhere. I used to spend 2 and a half hours every day travelling to and from work, and I worked long hours. It was very hectic being up early and arriving home late. Everywhere here only takes 20 minutes to get anywhere, and a traffic jam is just 5 people stuck at the lights!

Canberra is easy living with so much time left in the day for hobbies, friends, and anything else you want to do. In Sydney, I didn’t have time for sports, but now I play 3 times a week and more on the weekend!

Canberra is also naturally very beautiful. It really is the bush city with national parks, mountain biking, trails, and lovely nearby towns like Braidwood and Bungendore.

I find too that people here have more time for you because they are less stressed in general. Many are from interstate or overseas, so you never feel alone in being slightly unfamiliar. There are plenty of opportunities to be social and make new friends.

If you’re thinking of moving to Canberra, I would say definitely give it a go and see if it’s for you. I think it’s a fantastic place to live – very easy living with a great lifestyle and plenty of work opportunities. I didn’t realise before moving here but there are so many opportunities to find really interesting work in different areas, be it the private or public sectors.

Still not convinced? We busted some common misconceptions about living in Canberra. Keen to give Canberra a try but don’t know where to start with your job search? Contact us to have a chat about the opportunities Canberra can offer you in your career.

We’d like to extend a special thank you to our wonderful contractors, Ken, Julia, and Brendan, for chatting to us about their journey moving to Canberra from interstate.


Kristelle Gadd
Senior Recruitment Consultant
HorizonOne Recruitment

Learn more about me
Connect with me on LinkedIn