A lot of people wonder what kind of jobs they can do whilst on a Working Holiday Visa (417) or Work and Holiday Visa (462) in Australia. And more importantly, what kind of salary they can expect! In order to help you to find out, we have asked other backpackers to tell us about their current jobs and salaries. This will help you to get a better idea about what kind of jobs you can do during your trip in Australia and the salaries you can expect.
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Work with a Working Holiday Visa in Australia
The Working Holiday Visa is a visa for young people (18 to 30 or 18 to 35 depending on your nationality) that allows you to work in all sorts of jobs and in all fields while in Australia. Indeed, there is no restriction on the kind of jobs you can do on this visa. This visa allows you to work full-time for the same employer, part time or even casual. Seasonal jobs, fruit picking, shop jobs, more qualified jobs…Everything is possible.
Thanks to this visa, you can work full-time for the same employer for a maximum of one year under certain conditions. Among the most popular jobs for backpackers, you find hospitality (restaurants, cleaning, etc.) and also the agricultural sector, which serves to renew your Working Holiday Visa.
Read more: Working Holiday Visa Australia
What is the national minimum wage in Australia?
The revision of the national salary each year
In Australia, there is a nationally set minimum wage. This is the minimum rate of pay set out in the Fair Work Act 2009. Each July, it is reviewed by the Fair Work Commission, an independent body. Since July 1, 2023, the national minimum wage is $23,23 per hour or $882,80 per week (for 38 hours worked and before tax). It will be revised (increased) in July 2024.
Note: Each sector of work activity is governed by a collective agreement (Award) which determines the salary applicable in that industry. This may be higher than the national minimum wage, but can never be lower. If you are wondering about the minimum wage applicable to your job, check the Award that applies.
You can find a guide to minimum wage according to skill level on the Fair Work website.
What to do if the minimum wage is not respected by your employer?
Although a legal minimum wage exists in Australia, abuse and worker exploitation can sometimes occur, especially towards workers from other countries.
In the event of a problem with your employer, you can appeal to Fair Work. This independent organisation assists employees (whether they are Australian citizens or foreign nationals) in the event of a dispute with their employer. They provide a buffer between you and your employer, to allow for an amicable resolution of your dispute.
You can contact Fair Work on 13 13 94 from 8am to 5.30pm Monday to Friday. Their advice is free so do not hesitate to get in touch with them in you have any concerns or doubts!
Jobs in the hospitality industry
Hospitality and catering jobs are the most common for WHV makers in Australia. You will find jobs there throughout the year, especially during the high season (during school holidays).
Here are some job ideas for your working holiday visa. For jobs in establishments where they serve alcohol, it’s necessary to get the RSA (Responsible Service of Alcohol), a specific Australian certificate.
Note that salaries will vary by location and workplace.
More generally, salaries vary according to the employment contract under which you are hired.
– If the company that employs you pays wages according to the “industry award”, then you will be paid according to this awards which set the minimum standards that an employer in your industry is allowed to pay for your kind of work.
– If the company applies its own “award” (its own work agreement), then you will be paid according to the rules applied in this agreement.
Remember to always check with the company. The awards for each industry are listed on the Fair Work website. Company awards must be made accessible by the company that employs you.
- Katy is a kitchen hand: $24/h
- Simon is a baker in Sydney: $26/h
- Florian is a chocolatier in Sydney: $29/h
- Aurore is a kitchen hand in a restaurant in the Hunter Valley: $24/h
- Lucas is a dishwasher in Fremantle: $23/h
- Antoine is a chef in Karratha: $24/$29/$35 (week/Saturday/Sunday)
Bar staff / waiters
- Hannah is a waitress and barista: $23/h net
- Ange works in a Fish and Chips shop: $1060/week
- Julie is a barmaid: $33/h + tips
- Djalil is a barman: about $33/h
- Emmy is a waitress in a restaurant in Perth: $26/h, $32/h on the weekend and $54/h on public holidays
- Mathilde is a waitress in Sydney: $25/h and $30 on the weekend.
- Lauren is a waitress on a boat: $25/h and in the restaurant $25/h during the week and $28/h on weekends
- Emeline is a barmaid in Sydney: $25/h during the week, $28 after 10pm and on Saturday. $33/h on Sunday.
- Lisa is a waitress in Karratha: $24/$27/$33/h (week/Sat/Sun)
For a waiter working “casual” hours under the industry award, the hourly rate applied is approximately $27 per hour. Increases called “penalties” generally apply on weekends and public holidays. The hourly rate thus rises to around $30/35 on Saturdays, $35/40 on Sundays and $50/55 on Bank Holidays.
Under the “Hospitality industry award”, bartenders and baristas must be paid a minimum of $26.15 per hour on weekdays, $31.38 on Saturdays and $36.61 on Sundays.
Get your RSA in Australia (with special discounts!)
Pay less for your RSA course (Responsible Service of Alcohol). With this certificate, you are allowed to work in all places where alcohol is served or sold.
Cleaning / housekeeping
- Jo Hanna is a housekeeper: $24/h
- Katy is a cleaner in a resort: $25/h
- Camy is a cleaner: $23-$33/h
- Jane is a housekeeper in Melbourne: $24/h
- Cedric is responsible for laundry/housekeeping: $1140/week
- Elo is a cleaner in Sydney: $25 and $29/h (two jobs)
- Alexis is a housekeeper: $23 during the week, $27 on a Saturday and $32 on a Sunday
- Jordan is a housekeeper on Rottenest Island (Perth): $25/h
On the Fair Work website, under the “Cleaning services award” category, casual hourly rates range from $27.14/h to $29.59 on weekdays and from $48.85/h to $53.26 on Sundays.
If you work in housekeeping in a hotel, you will be under the “Hospitality industry award” category with slightly lower hourly rates. On weekdays the base rate is $26.15 per hour, on Saturdays $31.38 and $36.61 on Sundays.
Receptionists / hosts
- Flora is a receptionist in a hotel: $25/h, on Saturdays $28 and on Sundays $33. An average of 40-45 hours a week
- Anne-Sophie is a hostess on a private yacht / from Airlie Beach to the Gold Coast (QLD) : $525/week + food + accommodation
- Adrien is a pizza delivery driver: $24/h + delivery
Jobs in the agricultural industry
Since 2019 you can also get a third Working Holiday Visa for Australia. It is necessary to work in eligible jobs and regions during your second WHV for 6 months to apply for renewal.
For fruit picking, note that the FairWork imposes a minimum rate of $25.41 per hour under the “Horticulture Award” category. However, in practice, you can be paid by piece (number of bins, weight harvested).
Since 2022, pieceworkers are guaranteed a minimum hourly wage. This change applies to full-time, part-time and casual employees. For the horticulture sector, for all full-time and part-time pieceworkers, the minimum wage is at least $22.61 an hour. For casual workers, they must earn at least $28.26 per hour ($22.61 + 25% casual loading).
Below are a few examples of salaries you can expect for farm work in Australia:
- Julien works on a pineapple farm: $24/h
- Katy is packing mandarins: $1200/week
- Lionel is a lumberjack: $25/h
- Max is a labourer: $25/h
- Lorene works on a farm: $24/h and for picking $12/bin
- Alexandre is a stacker in an orange factory: $26/h
- Franck works on a farm: $1100-$1400/week: 23-26/h
- Elsa works on a government farm (weaving): $27/h. 7,5h a day
- Alexandre works on a cotton farm 60-70h a week: more or less $1600
- Clement works in the banana fields in Tully $25/h
- Marvin works on a farm: $25.5/h
- Lee works on a farm: $29/h and $45/h Saturdays, Sundays and between 6pm and 6am. 75h/week + free accommodation
- Marion works on a farm (packing, picking, thinning) (avocado, plums, nectarines): $24/h
- David works on a vineyard: $26/h – 55h/week
- Riyad works as a pearler: $4400 per month, room and meals included
- Guillaume works on a farm: $24/h
- Max works as a harvester: $28/h – 70-90h/week, accommodation and dinner.
Fruit picking in Australia
Fruit picking is the most common job among backpackers. Discover everything you should know in this article.
Jobs in construction / mines
Working in construction can often get you a better salary than working on farms or in hospitality. You need to know, however, that in order to be able to work in construction, you need to have a White Card, a specific certificate. You can apply for this card online.
Construction Worker: The construction boom continues, with average wages ranging from $30 to $40 per hour.
Jobs in the mining sector remain among the highest-paying, with salaries that can exceed $100,000 per year.
Get discounts on your White Card course
Take advantage of our special offers to get your White Card and work in the construction industry.
Here are a few examples of construction jobs salaries for backpackers in Australia:
- Working on a demolition site: $1300 a week.
- Labourer: $26/h before tax in Sydney.
- Painter: $33/h
- Skilled labourer: $25-$30/h
- Kevin is a trade person: $450/day
- Jonathan is a roof cleaner: $45/h. ($280/day, from 8 am to maximum 2pm)
- Tam is a traffic controller: $2300/week for approx. 72h ($32/h)
- Rem is a plaster delivery guy: $25/h – 35 to 45h/week
- Reda works in demolition: $25/h during the day, $28/h during the night, more or less $1100/week
- Romano works as a builder: $35/h
- Emilie does house restumping: $23/h
- Matt works in mines (labour) (WA): $35 per hour.
- Oley works in a Warehouse : $26.9/h
- Nils is a driller assistant: $325 a day net
- Christophe is a general hand: $25/h
- Jerome is a mover: $22-$25/h, $28 for overtime
- Kiwii is an electrician: $30h, overtime $45 and $60 on Saturdays – $1450/week
- Steve is a landscaper/ truck driver/ excavator operator/ labourer : $27.60/h (Melbourne)
Sales and retail
It’s also quite common to work in a shop, work as a sales person or in promotion. In general, a good level of English is expected.
Here you find a few examples of jobs and salaries in the sales/promotion sector:
- Antoine is a Fundraiser: $24/h
- Loic is a Promoter: between $100 and $750 a night
- David is a salesman for Levi’s: $26/h on average
- Thomas does stacking for Kmart in Brisbane: $24-$26/h
- Fabien is a salesman: $25/h during the week, $27 on Saturdays and $30 on Sundays
- Jordan distributes the yellow pages in Sydney: $40/h
- Emeline is a casual retail assistant at k-mart: $25/h
Being an Au pair
With your Working Holiday Visa, you can also be part of the daily life of an Australian family as an au pair. The salary varies between towns and hours effectively worked in a week. But it also depends on the number of kids you are looking after. Also, keep in mind that certain families ask you to do some household chores in exchange for a bit of extra money. In any case, you get food and board with your host family.
Here you have a few examples of salaries for girls working as an au pair in Australia:
- Mel is an Au pair in Sydney: $250/week, kitchen $20/h , household $30/h
- Laurie is an Au pair in Sydney: $200/week
- Eugenie is an Au pair: $450/week
- Wendy is an Au pair : $500/week
- Marine is an Au pair: $250/week + $60 for cleaning the house and ironing. She works 10h per day, 5 days a week.
- Marine is an Au pair in Bunbury: $400/week, food, board and a car to use
- Mathilda does Babysitting: $25/h
Read more: Au pair experience in Sydney
More qualified jobs
Depending on your qualifications, you can also apply for more qualified jobs. Some employers are hesitant because you are limited to 6 months of work on your WHV. Note that you can require permission from the government to work longer with the same employer. It can also be a good way to prove yourself and obtain a TSS (sponsorship) visa!
Some examples of salaries in more qualified jobs in Australia:
|Profession||Salary per year|
|A school teacher (public/ private)||$95 000 - $110 000|
|Early childhood teacher||$85 000|
|Corporate accountant||$115 000|
|Registered nurse||$85 000|
|Site engineer||$120 000|
|Marketing coordinator||$75 000|
|Graphic Designer||$100 000|
|Web designer||$91 000|
|Data analyst||$101 000|
|Business Analyst||$122 000|
|Digital Project manager||$135 000|
|Junior architect||$75 000|
|Construction project manager||$110 000|
|Mining Engineer||$165 000|
|Civil Engineer||$112 000|
|Real estate Agent||$75 000|
|Personal Banker||$70 000|
Source : Hays Salaries 2023/2024 – examples of min salaries in Sydney (NSW)
These figures are averages and can vary depending on experience, qualifications, and location. It’s also important to note that the cost of living in Australia can be high, and this should be taken into account when assessing salaries.
For privacy reasons, we have only retained the first names of the individuals interviewed in the survey.