A report by international research firm, the Reputation Institute, has revealed that Australia isn’t rated as highly by people overseas as we may think.

The ‘CountryRep 2009′ survey found that Australians are more positive about themselves than any other of the 33 nations that took part in, and was marked down as a place to do business, the quality of its brands, products and services, its government and its global economic contribution.

Despite coming just behind the overall leaders Switzerland and Canada, Australia failed to make it into the top five in key areas such as innovation, technological advancement, culture and social welfare.

The survey of 22,000 people from Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia, Britain and the US, rated Australia first for its lifestyle, as well as ranking it the fourth most likely place to invest in. It also rated well as ‘a beautiful country’ and ‘an enjoyable country’.

China, Russia and India recorded the greatest gap between how they perceived themselves and how others saw them, while Japan and South Africa registered the lowest self-image.

“When it comes to the physical beauty and overall lifestyle we are doing a very good job of communicating with the rest of the world, but theres been a lack of communication about other areas such as our inventiveness and innovation. My guess is that Australia has weathered the financial crisis very well; we are last in and first out,” Oliver Freedman, general manager of AMR Interactive, explained in an interview with The Age.