MT Business travel: Why do business in ... Perth

Rated as one of the world's top five most liveable cities, Perth, the capital of Australia's largest state, Western Australia, has been reaping the benefits of an unprecedented boom in the growth of resources in recent years; output from the state's mining and energy projects alone is worth A$80m (£37.5m) a day.

Last Updated: 09 Oct 2013

China has been the biggest investor, purchasing 28% of material exported from this state. Major mining firms such as Woodside Petroleum, BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto all have corporate offices in Perth. Although the resources extracted are actually 1,500 km (930 miles) away in the north and east of Western Australia (WA), much of the earnings deriving from collecting them are spent on luxury items in the consumer capital, Perth.

News of the boom has, of course, spread, and internal migration has surged, with more than 500 new arrivals drawn to Perth every week by the prospect of lucrative work in the mining industry. This has grown by 75% in the past 10 years. Expected future growth will require another 400,000 workers in the next 10 years.

Skilled migrant workers are actively being recruited from the UK, with the number of Britons emigrating to WA having doubled in the past decade. Overseas migration is around 20,000 per year.

WHY YOU SHOULD Unpolluted, casual and spacious living is the main draw. There is an easygoing, informal attitude to life and business. Deals are often negotiated over a barbecue rather than in a boardroom.

The climate is Mediterranean, with long, hot summers and temperatures rising to 40 degsC (103 degsF) or higher. Even in winter, when temperatures drop to an average of 9 degsC (48.2 degsF), there's still an average eight hours of sunlight every day.

Compared to urban Europe, housing is still affordable, and even though property prices have risen sharply over the past five years, the average price for a home in Perth is A$455,000 (£214,000). You could trade in your two-bedroom flat in London for a four-bedroom house with swimming pool in suburban Perth, and still have some money left over to take up a hobby conducive to the city's low-key ocean/river lifestyle.

Occupying a vast 2.5m sq km (1m sq miles) and home to 2.1m inhabitants, WA affords at least 1 sq km per capita - although 75% live in the metropolitan area, which sprawls both south and north of the city along pristine coast. Drive an hour or two out of the city and you are in wilderness. It's easy to find space and privacy, and there is plenty of room for growth.


Perth is renowned as one of the world's most isolated cities, situated 14,487 kms (9,000 miles) from London and a lengthy 24 hours of long-haul travel to Europe. The jetlag is a killer, even with corporate perks of flying business or first-class. It's also 4,146 kms (2,731 miles) from Sydney; that's a five-hour flight, and there's a two-hour time difference between Perth and Australia's cultural capital.

Recruiting highly specialised staff in Perth can be a problem, as many bright young Perth-ites up sticks for the better-paid Sydney or Melbourne, or the brighter lights of the northern hemisphere.

Unemployment is extremely low and the knock-on effect is that the big money to be earned on the mines has removed candidates from the staff pool in other areas. In a tip-free culture, this means service can be lackadaisical.


There are excellent job opportunities and the regional economy is booming. The halcyon lifestyle is the main attraction, but it has to be said that if you've had enough of sun, sand, golf and tranquillity, Perth can live up to its nickname of Dullsville.

Find this article useful?

Get more great articles like this in your inbox every lunchtime

Ranked: Britain's best-run companies

These are the businesses rated top by their peers for their quality of management.

Unconscious bias in action

Would you dislike someone just because they’re from the Forest of Dean?

I ran Iceland's central bank in 2009. Here's what I learned about crisis ...

And you thought your turnaround was tricky.

"It's easy to write a cheque you don't have to cash for 30 ...

But BP's new CEO has staked his legacy on going green.

AI opens up an ethical minefield for businesses

There will inevitably be unintended consequences from blindly adopting new technology.

The strange curse of No 11 Downing Street

As Sajid Javid has just discovered, “chancellors come and go… the Treasury endures forever”.