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most australians want a job with an airline or the government, a new study has found.

The survey of more than 10,000 people around the country has found more than half would like to work for Virgin Australia, with slightly fewer saying they would choose Qantas.

The Department of Immigration and Border Protection was among the top 20 choices. Other government departments, including health, and defence, along with the NSW, Victorian and Queensland state governments, were among the most popular choices.

Frank Ribuot, chief executive officer of Randstad Australia and New Zealand, which commissioned the research, said the public perception of 150 Australian employers with the most significant number of workers favoured the aviation industry.

Job seekers are looking for a good starting salary, pleasant working atmosphere and work-life balance. But long-term job security is declining as a central factor as expectations fall in line with changes in the job market.

Mr Ribuot said aviation was an exciting industry with a good environment and training opportunities. 

plane take off - in various color combinations. Please use the background color as indicated in the file name.
plane take off - in various color combinations. Please use the background color as indicated in the file name.

The sector is also rated highly for strong management, work-life balance, being environmentally and socially aware, and offering career progression opportunities and excellent salary and employee benefits. It is perceived to have more attractive attributes than any other sector.

Frank Ribuot
chief executive officer of Randstad Australia and New Zealand

The research shows that most Australians (84 per cent) consider travelling for work as a bonus.

"Many Australians consider the opportunity to travel as part of their job a tremendous benefit alongside their salary," Mr Ribuot said.

Virgin Australia was first picked for the second consecutive year of the survey because it appeared to offer strong management, an excellent work-life balance and a working atmosphere. The popularity of Qantas had improved since last year when it was placed fifth. 

Overall, 46 per cent of people surveyed said they would like to work for aviation companies. More than one-third chose the state or federal government because they appeared to offer long-term job security, good work-life balance, and social and environmental awareness. 

Thirty-eight per cent of people chose companies that produced consumer goods." Well-known consumer brands are good at articulating and offering strong employer value propositions– Nestle, Wesfarmers and Coca-Cola Amatil are perfect examples," he said.

NSW Public Service Commissioner Graeme Head said it was the first time the NSW government had ranked within the top 20. He said people were attracted to the public sector to contribute to the community and have vast career choices. Virgin Australia chief executive officer John Borghetti said he was excited the airline's "brand positioning" in Australia "has been successful". 

Read more here.