New start and new life in Australia? The sun, beaches… if you arrive in summer of course, because yes, it can get cold in Australia. By the way, let’s start with a first advice: before even taking your plane ticket, look at the weather in the city of your choice to know the best period to arrive! This is just as important for finding a job as it is for living in Australia. Make sure you don’t arrive in Cairns during the wet season or Sydney in the middle of winter. When it comes to jobs in the hospitality, it is important to know some information before you start! Here we give you all the keys to find a job and know your rights as an employee in Australia.
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Certificate and training to work in hospitality
The RSA – Certificate for serving alcohol
In order to serve alcohol in Australia (wherever you are working), you must get ahold of the RSA, “Responsible Service of Alcohol”. This certificate is only valid in the state it is issued, but obtaining it is nothing but a formality. Expect spending between $50 and $100 as well as three to four hours of your time in order to pass it in class or online. Usually, your employer gives you one month before having to hand in a copy of your RSA certificate. But in reality, it is always better to have it beforehand in order to get hired.
Get your RSA
If you’re more of a morning person and coffee is sacred to you, get started in barista training! Indeed, for Australians, coffee is a religion. The barista course will teach you the art of coffee, it is not mandatory but it is a plus to have it. And it will definitely help if you are looking for a job as a barista!
Is the bar your thing? Then complete a bartending training! You will learn how to make cocktails, the art of serving, dosages etc. This training is not mandatory but a plus in your job search in this branch.
How to find a hospitality job in Australia?
Door to Door
The door to door method is the most efficient way to find a job in this industry. Make sure to adapt your resume to the Australian standards. Indeed the layout is different from a lot of other countries. Once done take it with you to hand it out on your job hunt. Even better: directly ask for the manager. Try to engage in a conversation and collect as much information as possible. Ask whether or not they are hiring, what positions they want to fill and how many hours you would work per week.
The simple act of asking these questions demonstrates your dedication and motivation. It opens the door for you to mention your experience. At this point, make sure to highlight absolutely everything that is relevant or could be considered valuable in the world of hospitality, referring to key competences, such as customer service, ability to handle stress, teamwork and efficient communication.
In addition to door-to-door, you can consult websites such as Gumtree or Seek which list many job offers. Keep in mind that these are positions where human contact remains essential, and a good first impression is important! Of course, it can be very tempting to just submit applications from the back of your couch. However, unless you respond within an hour of the ad posting, there’s not really much point in dwelling on it.
You can sometimes also count on the solidarity of our traveling friends through the various Facebook groups “backpackers in Sydney” (obviously varies according to the city where you are) or “backpackers in Australia”, etc. Sometimes kind souls post ads when the company they work for is hiring. But again, it’s a bit up to whoever is lucky enough to see the ad first. It’s still an option though as long as you don’t rely on it alone.
Salaries in hospitality
The national minimum wage is currently $21.38 per hour (2023). But that, of course, only counts if you are declared or registered. If someone suggests paying you “cash in hand”, the employer often offers you lower pay. Keep in mind that you might be able to get back a part of your taxes at the end of the financial year. So being paid in cash is not always an advantage (especially because it is illegal in Australia, like almost anywhere else). As a “casual” employee and given the insecurity of these positions, your salary must be higher than minimum wage (+25%). Also make sure that you are paid higher rates on evenings, weekends and public holidays.
For all those in full time or part time you will not have that extra 25% but you will have a guaranteed number of hours per week as the terms of your contract will be very specific. You will also get paid days off if you are sick and holiday.
In some workplaces wages will also vary according to the day of the week from Monday to Thursday, then increase on Friday night and Saturday and again on Sunday, usually in the larger cities.
Under Australian laws, employees work up to 38 hours in a week. You can be asked to work reasonable extra hours.
If you have a Working Holiday Visa, you should bear in mind that usually you cannot work for the same employer for more than 6 months. This applies to all jobs. However, this rule is suspended until 30 June 2023. This means that until that date, you can work for the same employer for more than 6 months without having to apply for any authorisation from Australian immigration.
Some employers take advantage of the competition between backpackers and their lack of knowledge of the Australian legislation in order to make profit. That’s why it is always good to have these numbers in mind as a point of reference. Also note that every trial must be paid, even if that is not always the case.
Hospitality job market in 2023
The hospitality sector (hotels and restaurants, bars, discotheques and cafes) is a very attractive sector for young people on a WHV in Australia.
For a long time this sector was very competitive because of the high number of backpackers, especially in the big cities. However, since the pandemic, the country has a serious lack of workers in this sector (among others)! It is therefore easier to find a job in these sectors at the moment. Today, many cafés and restaurants have “staff wanted” or “hiring” signs on their front door. So you’ll have every chance of finding a job in the restaurant industry in Australia in 2023!
Be careful though, this job is subject to seasonality. In summer (December, January), restaurants and bars are in full swing and therefore need more staff. This means even more job opportunities!
Juggle with more than one job
Once you have landed a job, it is not always certain that you will be given a sufficient number of hours to work. The solution can be to work two or even three jobs at the same time. All you need is the right formula. If you are already working at a restaurant at night, why not look for a job in a cafe? Even a few times a week, during mornings or lunch time.. You can also send your resume to catering companies. Also send it to agencies that specialize in hospitality (for example Pinnacle or Need a Chef). They will call you to work at onetime events, mostly on weekends.
We hope that these tips will help you look for a job in a more relaxed way. Hospitality is not exactly the most exotic industry here, but it may be a good start. Also it offers numerous possibilities, so good luck!!