Housekeeping is a very busy sector in Australia. There are numerous opportunities for backpackers in this field as there is a high rate of staff turnover. Working in housekeeping is a good idea when you decide to settle in a town and look for a stable job and work. In this article you will find all you need to know to find a job, as well as some tips to make your search easier.
What is housekeeping?
Housekeeping refers to duties and chores management. In Australia, there is:
– Housekeeping for more “touristy” based kind of cleaning, meaning cleaning in hotels, resorts, motels, backpackers, etc.)
– Commercial cleaning in offices or for companies (eg. rental agencies, lawyer’s offices, supermarkets etc.)
– Cleaning in houses, bond cleans, etc.
Where to work?
You can find a job in housekeeping/cleaning in a resort, in a backpackers hostel, in a hotel, in camping grounds, in the mines, in offices or even at someone’s home. You could be cleaning an office, a hotel room or a house and doing certain chores such as making a bed, vacuuming, cleaning a kitchen, etc.
You can clean in many different places and at different times. For example, if you are cleaning offices, it will be done outside of working hours for the employees. This means that you will be working late in the evening or sometimes even at night. If you work in a hotel, you will start early in the morning to do the rooms etc.
How to find a job in housekeeping?
Face to face
Every resort, camping ground, cleaning company is a potential employer. The easiest way to find a job is to ring or directly go in and introduce yourself to the potential employer. To do so, don’t hesitate to dress up formally. Try to respect the dress code of the venue and job. Most of the time, you will be asked to dress in black or perhaps wear a white shirt for a job in a resort. Think also about smiling, being personable and being extremely polite. Australia is a country where customer service is very important and your competences in this area will assessed at as soon as you meet your future employer. Finally, it is always good to show that you know the vocabulary employed in the field.
Most of the time, jobs in hostels do not require any particular experience so don’t hesitate to apply! Is is very feasible to show up at the hostel in question and try to speak directly to the hostel manager. It is not uncommon for them to be looking for staff to help clean the rooms as this sector can be quite transient.
The best website to find a job in housekeeping is Gumtree. There are constantly new ads and you can call the employer directly. Be persistent and check every-day for new offers because things go really fast on this website with employers often looking for workers from one day to another.
Don’t forget that it is also a good idea to use a few key words during the interview or during your essay to show that you know the vocabulary used in the field.
In Australia, the most difficult is to find your first job. As soon as you have more experience, it will be really easy to find a job among the numerous offers on the employment market.
The different types of contracts
Many businesses offer an hourly paid contract. Most of the time, the pay varies from $20 to $25/h and in theory you will be paid more on weekends and public holidays but this may change depending on the employer and contract.
Each sector is governed by a collective agreement called an Award. It is this Award that defines the minimum rate of pay, depending on the level of qualification in each sector. These rates of pay can be higher than the national minimum wage. For cleaning, you will generally be classified in the Cleaning Services Award [MA000022] (with some exceptions, so check with your employer).
If the company does not belong to any Award, the national minimum wage applies. This is the minimum rate of pay under the Fair Work Act 2009 and is reviewed annually. As of July 1, 2022, the national minimum wage is $21.38 per hour (€13.82) or $812.60 per week.
For more information: Wages in Australia
Most hotels offer employment via an ABN (you are your own employer and pay for your taxes at the end of the financial year instead of them being taken away on your weekly pay). Working under an ABN isn’t a disadvantage per se, however some employers do use the ABN to offer extremely low rates. Some will, for example, ask you to clean a 3 bedrooms/2 bathroom apartment for $45. Once there, you realise the unit is filthy and you spend 4 hours cleaning it. You hourly rate is $11/hour, before tax! So just be careful…
For more information about ABN: How to get an ABN
– Take initiatives
– Try to develop the most efficient method when cleaning a room to save time
– Dress up correctly
– Be fit, cleaning can be exhausting!
For more information: Hospitality jobs in Australia