Australia‘s country brand is emblematic of a nation that boasts a harmonious blend of stunning natural landscapes and a vibrant, multicultural society. But how much soft power has Australia managed to achieve, despite its geographical isolation? How does it fare in terms of economic development, sustainability, country brand strength and reputation, according to leading rankings and indices?

Let’s take a closer look at:

  • Australia’s soft power and brand strength
  • Its appeal to skilled labor, investors and visitors
  • The country’s global contribution to peace and wellbeing
  • How well it fares in terms of happiness and sustainability

Australia’s soft power and brand strength

How does Australia compare in terms of reputation and brand value globally? 

In the Global Soft Power Index 2023 by Brand Finance, Australia secures the 14th spot having dropped one position from 2022, although its score increased by 1.9%. Australia continues to perform well for Business and Trade underpinned by a strong and stable economy and viewed favourably as a great place to visit with a top ten ranking for familiarity and reputation.

In the U.S. News Best Countries 2023 ranking, Australia secures the 4th position, behind Sweden (3rd) and above the United States (5th). Notably, Australia excels in three key areas: agility (3rd), adventure (8th) and quality of life (8th). Australia jumped three positions from 2022, with its lowest scores in movers and heritage.

The Anholt-Ipsos Nation Brand Index (NBI) calculates its ranking based on averaging the scores of six different factors: exports, governance, tourism, culture, people and immigration, and tourism. According to the NBI 2023 ranking Australia secures the 9th position, an increase of one position from the 2022 ranking.

Australia’s attractiveness for talent

How strong is Australia in attracting and retaining talent?

The World Economic Forum Global Competitiveness Index 2019 edition placed Australia at the 16th position among 141 countries. However, it’s important to note that an updated version of this report hasn’t been released in the past five years, and rankings may have shifted since then.

Australia, classified as a high income country within the Eastern, Southeastern Asia and Oceania regional group, currently holds the 8th position in the Global Talent Competitiveness Index 2023. Australia thrives in GK Skills pillars (3rd) and its main challenge is VT skills (19th).

In terms of education excellence, Australia boasts six universities within the top 100 worldwide, according to the World University Rankings 2024. These esteemed institutions are: University of Melbourne, Monash University, The University of Sydney, Australian National University, The University of Queensland and, UNSW Sydney.

Australia’s appeal to digital nomads, business, trade and travel

What is the global perception of Australia as a destination for living, conducting business, and tourism?

The Expat Insider 2023 ranks Australia in 20th position out of 53 countries, below Kenya (18th) and Luxembourg (19th). Australia ranks highest in the Work and Leisure and Career Prospects metrics where it secured the 8th position in both.

As per the UNCTAD World Investment Report 2023, Australia ranks 6th in terms of FDI inflows, a jump in 15 positions since 2021. This impressive jump is presumed to be due to M&A sales almost tripling in the past year. In terms of FDI outflows, Australia ranks 6th as well, a jump of thirty-one positions since 2021, as Australian FDI outflows in 2022 increased by USD 114 billion.

The Bloom Consulting biannual Country Brand Ranking Trade Edition 2022-2023 assesses investment-related variables, emphasizing perceptions of a country’s trade-specific brand and evaluating branding performance. Regionally, Australia continues to place 1st. However, globally Australia ranks 8th behind Brazil (7th) and China (8th), a drop of one position since the previous ranking. According to Bloom Consulting, the country continues to excel in all metrics and is expected to find even more success with its new Nation Brand strategy.

In addition, the Bloom Consulting Country Brand Ranking Tourism Edition 2022-2023 places Australia at the 7th global position, sitting between Japan (6th) and Hong Kong (8th), demonstrating a fall of two positions since the previous ranking. This drop is a consequence of due to a decrease in D2 – Digital Demand© searches compared to its direct competitors, and less tourism receipts. Regionally, Australia continues to hold the 1st position.

In the IMD 2023 World Competitiveness Ranking, Australia secured the 19th position, maintaining its ranking from 2022. Currently, it sits behind Saudi Arabia (17th) and the Czech Republic (18th), while surpassing Luxembourg (20th) and China (21st).

In terms of specific characteristics, Australia’s economic performance increased by six positions to the 10th spot in 2023. It holds the 18th position for government efficiency, experiencing a drop of two positions compared to 2022. Lastly, Australia dropped four positions to the 30th position for business efficiency, and dropped one position to the 20th spot for infrastructure.

Environmental performance of Australia

How much effort is Australia putting into improving its environmental sustainability?

The 2022 edition of the Environmental Performance Index (EPI) ranks Australia 17th, sitting in between Croatia (16th) and Slovakia (18th). The EPI analyzes the performance of 180 countries, scoring and ranking these countries on their environmental performance using the most recent year of data available as well as providing calculable changes in scores over the previous decade. Australia has experienced a change in score of positive 10.3.

Is Australia a “good country”?

How much does Australia contribute to global well-being?

In the Caf World Giving Index 2023, Australia secured the 14th position, a drop of 10 positions from last year’s ranking. In terms of specific metrics, 65% of the adult population helped a stranger, 56% donated money and 31% volunteered.

In the Good Country Index, Australia currently holds the 18th position overall, with notable subfactors as follows: Science & Technology (10th), Culture (43rd), International Peace & Security (54th), World Order (1st), Planet & Climate (15th), Prosperity & Equality (65th), and Health & Wellbeing (16th). It’s worth mentioning that in 2022, Australia was ranked 18th, and in 2021 it held the 20th position.

According to the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) Democracy Index 2023, Australia ranked in the blue zone (8-9 range) with a 8.71 out of 10. This is higher than Japan and the United Kingdom who scored 8.33 and 8.28; but lower than New Zealand and Iceland who scored 9.61 and 9.5.

The 2022 Corruption Perception Index, ranks Australia 13th with a score of 75/100, above Canada and Estonia who tied for 14th position. Australia’s score has increased by two since 2021.

The Sustainable Development Report 2023 ranks Australia in 40th position, it highlights that the country continues to face many challenges across the seventeen goals. Whilst some are experiencing moderate increase, No Poverty, Reduced Inequalities and Life on Land goals are all on a decreasing trend.

Peace and happiness in Australia

Is Australia a happy and safe place to invest time and money in?

The Global Peace Index 2023 ranks Australia 22nd, jumping four positions. Australia sits behind Belgium (20th) and Qatar (21st). Australia falls under the high sector of the ‘State of Peace’ spectrum as defined by the Institute for Economics & Peace. Australia is positioned 5th in the Asia-Pacific region.

The Institute for Economics & Peace similarly ranks Australia within the medium impact zone in terms of ‘Impact of Terrorism’ in the 2022 Global Terrorism Index. Australia ranks 69th, below Uzbekistan (70th) and Paraguay (71st).

Meanwhile, the World Happiness Report 2023 which displays the Ranking of Happiness based on a three-year-average 2020–2022 ranks Australia 12th.

Last updated in October 2023. More country profiles here.

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