Looking for a job Down Under? If you want to work in a city like Sydney, Melbourne or Perth, hospitality jobs in Australia are a common way for backpackers to get money while making new friends and without being in the middle of nowhere.
Bars, pubs, hotels and restaurants employ a large number of backpackers, especially in summer. However, there is also a lot of demand from travellers for this type of work, so try and arrive early in the season to be able to find a job easily. Here is all you need to know to help you find a job in hospitality as quick as possible.
Requirements to get a job in hospitality
Let’s start with the beginning ! Once you arrive in Australia and before starting your job search, you should know that in the hospitality industry generally a specific certificate will be necessary.
Get the RSA Certificate
To work in an establishment where alcohol is served in Australia, you must have an RSA “Responsible Service of Alcohol”. This certificate is not valid nationally, it is only valid in the state where you pass it. You can obtain the RSA certificate by completing a day of training either in a classroom or online. Budget is about $50 to $140 to get your certificate – The price depends on the state.
Note: Each state has its own legislation regarding the RSA certificate, so it may only be valid in the state where you obtained your RSA certificate!
Get your RSA in Australia and receive 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.
In Australia, it is quite common to do courses to get a job in a cafe or pub. Barista courses for example are pretty popular, and will give you more opportunities and confidence! Indeed, for Australians, coffee is a religion. The “barista course” training will teach you the art of coffee. Some employers may require this type of qualification before interviewing an applicant or suggesting a trial.
Are you a friendly and outgoing person who likes serving people? Then complete a bartending training! You will learn how to prepare, dose and serve different types of alcoholic and soft beverages for bar-goers. Again this training is not mandatory but a plus in your job search in this field.
How to get hospitality jobs in Australia
The best way to get a job in hospitality is walking around with copies of your resume.
Hospitality is an industry where the customer relationship is what is most important. Customer satisfaction is the key to success in this industry. So remember to highlight in your resume what closely or remotely resembles experience in customer-related jobs, your ability to adapt, motivation, ease of learning quickly… Sell yourself.
Print your CVs in sufficient quantity to go around town. Then it’s off to go around the restaurants, bars, cafes. Many restaurants and bars have signs on their windows or doors saying they’re looking for staff. Make sure that you ask for the manager or owner. Talking face to face with the person responsible for hiring increases your chances of getting a job in hospitality. This is the time to sell yourself. Try to start a conversation and get as much information as possible. Ask if they are currently recruiting, if so for what type of position and for how many hours per week. Just asking these questions shows your motivation.
Don’t hesitate to follow up with the employer when you see a potential opening (no harassment either).
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! Remember: First come, first-served. So make sure that you check the ads on those websites regularly.
You can sometimes also count on the solidarity of our fellow travellers through Facebook groups such as “backpackers in Sydney” (obviously varies according to the city where you are) or “backpacker in Australia”. 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.
Very common in large towns are employment agencies. You may need to go there every day to find out about new job offers as soon as they are put up. You usually register in their database and provide a CV.
Here is a list of the most popular agencies for backpackers:
Keep in mind: Sometimes you need to be patient because the job search may take several weeks.
Stay motivated, keep making an effort, and in particular, meet people, let them know you are looking for a job. Word of mouth is always effective in Australia!
Read also : How to get a Hospitality job in Australia
What type of jobs are available in hospitality?
If you want to work in hospitality there are lots of different opportunities.
Waitress / Waiter
As a waiter you can work in restaurants, cafes or bars.
Your tasks will be:
- Opening the establishment. In this case you will set up the restaurant, set up the tables, chairs, signs outside… (you must make sure that everything is ready before the service begins).
- Taking orders, bills, welcoming customers. Cash handling can be one of your tasks unless only the manager or the bartender is authorized to cash.
- Closing the establishment: gather tables, chairs, set the tables, clean.
Sometimes a person is responsible for delivering food orders from the kitchen to customers’ tables. A runner’s primary responsibility is to assist waiters and bartenders in serving customers as quickly and accurately as possible. Runners do not take orders or process payments.
The bartender can work in restaurants, bars, lounge bars, nightclubs. He will need to arrive before the opening, take care of setting it up (cut the mint, lemon, ensure the stock of wines, beers and others). He must also ensure the cleanliness of the bar before, during and after the service. And he will obviously have to prepare and send the orders in a timely manner.
In the kitchen
You can also find a quantity of jobs to perform in the kitchen! Depending on your qualifications and experiences, you may work as:
- Kitchen hand
- Sandwich hand
The barista’s role is to take care of hot drinks, smoothies, juices etc… Sometimes some establishments require you to make drawings in the cafes with the foam (latte art), but for that, you will be trained, don’t panic.
You will have the responsibility of
- to load, transport, and deliver items to clients or businesses in timely manner.
- to carry out food catering deliveries.
Add to these other jobs such as concierge, Hotel General Manager, Housekeeper, etc.
Wages and Working conditions
Salaries & working conditions
Regarding salaries, they vary enormously depending on the city, the jobs, the hours worked, etc.
First you may come across employers who will want to pay you “cash in hand”, it is illegal. It’s up to you whether you accept or not, but it’s quite common. The employer will often offer you a slightly lower salary than normal in this case. No need to tell you about the precariousness of your job in this case.
The minimum wage in Australia in 2023 in the hospitality industry is $21.38 per hour.
If you are “casual”, your salary should be higher than the minimum salary (+25%). This is partly because of the precariousness of the status as you will have no guarantee of working hours. Moreover, casual employees do not get paid when they are sick or go on vacation.
In some establishments, salaries will also vary depending on the day of the week. For example from Monday to Thursday, then they will increase the hourly rate on Friday evening and Saturday and increase again on Sunday (in general in big cities).
In Australia, an employee can work up to 38 hours in a week unless an employer asks him to work reasonable extra hours.
If you have a Working Holiday Visa keep in mind that you usually cannot work for the same employer for more than 6 months. This applies to all professions. 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.
Trials in hospitality
In hospitality, it is quite common that you have to do a trial before you get hired. A brief work trial can be legally unpaid if it is necessary to evaluate someone’s suitability for the job. You demonstrate the skills that are relevant to the position you are applying for. During your trial you will be under direct supervision of the employer for the entire time.
Any period beyond what is reasonably required to demonstrate the skills required for the job must be paid at the minimum rate of pay. It is illegal for your employer not to pay you for any work that you do, even if it is only for a small number of hours.
But don’t be nervous and be yourself. They only want to see if you are not completely untalented. Smile and be friendly and attentive to customers. Keep your eyes open for tables that need cleaning and always clear empty glasses or cups from tables when you’re on the way to the kitchen. Maintain a good pace without stressing if it’s busy.
By the way, managers sometimes forget to mention that you should wear comfortable runners unless it’s a posh restaurant. If in doubt, wear black or unobtrusive colours.
The 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.
For a long time this sector was very competitive because of the high number of backpackers, especially in 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 at their windows. So you’ll have every chance of finding a job in hospitality 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!
You are looking for other jobs in cities? Download the Australia Backpackers Guide and find everything you need to know about jobs in housekeeping, shops, factories, construction or other types of casual work.