South Australia’s Industry Strengths

South Australia is home to a growing number of in-demand industries, creating jobs and boosting the local economy for years to come.

Home to the Australian Space Agency, the Australian Institute of Machine Learning and 7 of the world’s top 10 defence companies, Adelaide is an innovation hub allowing future-focused industries to thrive. 

International graduates can forge a successful career in South Australia in several growing industries. Read on to find out where South Australia’s industry strengths lie.


Agriculture, Food and Wine

As South Australia’s largest export and a key pillar of our economy, the agriculture, food and wine industries have seen continued growth over the past two decades. Home to the Southern Hemispheres biggest agricultural innovation hub, “The Waite” houses 15 state and national partner organisations including the CSIRO, Australian Genome Research Facility, The Australian Wine Research Institute and the University of Adelaide’s School of Agriculture, Food and Wine.    

Far from simple farming techniques, these industries are driven by continuous innovation and cutting edge research. With up to 6 agriculture jobs available per graduate, students seeking a career in these sectors can enjoy the confidence of being in demand. 

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South Australia is known as the defence state and is home to 7 of the world’s top 10 defence companies including BAE Systems, Boeing and Lockheed Martin. With the recent introduction of the Lot 14 innovation hub, and the pre-existing Edinburgh Defence precinct, the City of Adelaide has fast become renowned for its research excellence and defence capabilities.

Exciting opportunities will continue to grow in the industry and an estimated $90 billion worth of defence projects is planned for the next 50 years. From large scale naval shipbuilding to increasing capabilities in information warfare, there is demand for graduates with skills in everything from engineering, project management and data analytics to psychology, mathematics and programming.

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Space, the final frontier, is not so far away for South Australians. Home to the Australian Space Agency (our version of NASA), the Mission Control Centre and the Australian Space Discovery Centre, Adelaide is a hub for emerging professionals interested in space. There are multiple opportunities for students and graduates to rocket into this future-focused industry. In 2019, the Australian Space Agency released its 10-year plan, pledging to create 20,000 new jobs and tripling the size of the space sector.

Even more exciting are the opportunities for small to medium businesses to get involved in the space race. South Australian based company Fleet Space is building nanosatellites, Neumann Space has developed game-changing ion rocket technology, and researchers from the University of Adelaide have been exploring new technologies allowing robots to mine minerals on passing asteroids.

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IT, Data and Cybersecurity

The high technology industry contributes over $122 billion to the Australian economy each year, with experts suggesting this figure could rise by an additional $50 billion in the coming years. Adelaide is fast becoming known as a magnet for technological start-ups. The recently built Lot 14 Innovation Park fosters a growing entrepreneurial community where businesses are challenging conventions and pushing the limits on what is possible in the tech industry.

The University of Adelaide is a key player in high technology research, funding the Australian Institute of Machine Learning (AIML). Based in Lot 14, AIML focuses on the research and development of artificial intelligence, computer vision and deep learning. Lot 14 is also home to the Australian Cyber Security Collaboration Centre and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) bigdata Living Lab.

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Wind turbine

Energy, Mining and Resources

In 2020, Energy, Mining and Resource companies made up 15% of the state’s top 100 companies (based on revenue), proving there are multiple opportunities for graduates and professionals in this sector.

Renewable energy supplied more than 60% of all energy needs to South Australia in 2020. And in an ambitious move, the state government has set a target to produce 500% of its energy needs by renewable sources in 2050. To meet this target, the state will focus on the creation of new jobs within the sector.

South Australia is also known for being rich in natural resources. Copper, zircon and gold can be found within our borders, and BHP runs one of the largest uranium mining sites in the state, Olympic Dam.

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Health care

Adelaide is home to the Southern Hemisphere’s largest health and medical precinct, the Adelaide BioMed City. Housing the state-of-the-art Royal Adelaide Hospital (RAH), the South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute (SAHMRI), the South Australian Immunogenomics Cancer Research Institute (SAiGENCI) and the University of Adelaide’s cutting-edge teaching and research facility, the Adelaide Health and Medical Sciences building, the Adelaide BioMed city is the ultimate environment for health graduates and professionals to thrive.

As Australia’s largest employer, the healthcare industry makes up 14% of the nation’s total workforce. With an aging population and the growing threat of viruses such as COVID-19, there are multiple work opportunities for graduates and established health professionals in South Australia across a range of fields.

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