So if you’ve arrived in Melbourne with the aim of working and travelling in Australia, but you’re not sure where to look for work – where do you turn? This step-by-step guide will show where and how to get a job more easily in cosmopolitan Melbourne.
Table of Contents
Which kind of work should you look for?
This is a non-exhaustive list of industries to look into that were specifically chosen for this guide because they:
- Normally don’t require years of experience and offer a variety of positions that can be learnt relatively quickly
- Regularly hire workers on casual contracts, perfect for those who are studying
- Or have limited contact options due to visas restrictions
- Include roles for those still perfecting their English language skills
- Offer an opportunity to live and work in the city not brutally
- Tend to attract similarly-minded people and offer circumstances for you to make friends
It’s important to note while Australian labour laws and practices are generally considered very fair, there are always some bad eggs. Certain employers will take advantage of people not ‘in the know’, by offering jobs specifically tailored to backpackers. These jobs tend to be cash-in-hand or dodgy working conditions. Casual employment in Australia attracts a 15/25% casual loading bonus per hour due to it offering fewer benefits than salaried jobs. Don’t get tricked by employers looking to exploit you. Use this Australia Backpackers Guide summary of wages to get a rough idea of how much you’ll be making in any given role. To understand your legal rights as a casual worker in Australia, read here.
Hospitality and Event jobs
The hospitality industry in Melbourne is booming, with world-class offerings of restaurants, cafés, live music venues and much more. Major events are frequent throughout the year in Melbourne, but the busiest period for ‘hospo’, as it’s called Down Under, kicks off in spring. That means businesses are all looking to hire staff for the so-called ‘summer silly season’.
The best time to find a job in hospitality
The best time to look for hospitality work in Melbourne is on the tail-end of winter, around September. That way, coming most likely from the Northern Hemisphere, backpackers can enjoy the northern summer and get to Oz just as it’s warming up. For work in restaurants, bars, food trucks, cafés etc, hirers will be looking for extra people in particular from November to December as venues get booked out for Christmas events. What’s more, there are tonnes of events going on over the spring and summer, which all require massive staffing intakes on a casual basis.
Here are some examples of major events in Melbourne that hire during that time:
- Royal Melbourne Show, food stalls in a carnival-like fair (September)
- Australian Moto Grand Prix – (October)
- Melbourne Cup a large horse race (October – November)
- Australian Open Tennis – promotional and bar work (January)
- Formula One Grand Prix – bar work (March)
Where to find hospitality work in Melbourne?
Almost all major events take place within the reach of Melbourne’s tram and train networks. Some companies even offer shuttle buses to assist staff to get to more distant venues. The most popular nightlife areas for venues are in inner-city neighbourhoods including Richmond, South Melbourne, Collingwood, St Kilda, Brunswick, or the CBD.
How to get a hospitality job in Melbourne?
Your best bet for finding a decent gig in the hospitality or major event’s industry is to scour job ads that get posted on indeed.com.au or seek.com.au. Another effective method is to search on Facebook and sign up to the relevant groups, such as Melbourne Bartender’s Exchange, to speak directly to managers. While it may sometimes land you a job, going from venue to venue with your CV in hand is quite old-school but generally effective for finding work in hospitality.
Get your RSA Certificate
For work serving alcohol – bartenders, waiters – you will require a Responsible Service of Alcohol certificate, RSA, which covers your rights and responsibilities regarding alcohol and patrons. It is actually a very interesting course and can be combined with a Certificate IV in hospitality for those looking to enhance their skills in coffee-making, cocktails, first-aid, and food handling, which will increase chances of employment.
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.
Work in Construction
The housing market in Australia’s capital cities is booming. This has meant a lot of casual work for those wishing to work as casual sub-contractors to construction firms. The pay is very good, normally starting at around $31AUD p/h. If you haven’t studied a trade before – which can include professions such as plumbers, electricians, carpenters, landscapers – no fear as there is always work as a general labourer. It’s physically demanding work but you’ll get a real taste of working with average Australians, as well as potentially make some good friends along the way.
The best time to find construction work in Melbourne?
A massive plus for this line of work is that employers are hiring all year round. The only time you would find it difficult to get work is over public holidays as non-essential worksites tend to shut down.
Where to find construction work in Melbourne?
Labouring jobs are plentiful and normally involve the need for your own transport as you’ll be working on sites all over the city. Sometimes work will be available in easy to reach spots, but just as often it can take place in the outer suburbs away from public transport. It’s recommended having private transport or carpooling with colleagues as Melbourne is a sprawled out city.
Get your White Card
For any job in this sector, you’ll require a specific but easily attainable licence called a White Card. This licence is to show that you’ve completed a half-day in-person training course and passed an online test. The course covers safety aspects of working on-site and is mandatory.
Get discounts on your White Card course
Take advantage of our special offers to get your White Card and work in the construction industry.
How do you get a construction job in Melbourne?
Finding construction work is best achieved through Gumtree.com.au, otherwise, word-of-mouth can be very effective in this industry for getting ongoing work – ie: being referred to by friends or colleagues.
Work in Cleaning
Say what you will about cleaning, but it’s a necessary part of life. Work as sanitation attendants in places such as shopping centres, office buildings, stations, and airports, is always going. The pay normally starts at $30AUD p/h and attracts a lot of immigrant and local workers alike.
The best time to get a job in cleaning
Hiring goes on all year round without exception.
Where to find cleaning work in Melbourne?
Office buildings, department stores and shopping centres in the CBD often search for employees on a part-time basis. These cleaning firms have contracts in places that are well-connected by public transport, and they often pay the best rates. Cleaners for residential properties are also sought after but note: this work is often offered informally by small business that pay closer to $20AUD p/h without any benefits. This is work that frequently requires you to travel to different locations.
How to get a cleaning job in Melbourne?
A great advantage of sanitation work is that you don’t require any sort of licence and it all comes down to on-site training. This means you can find work very quickly and easily with essentially no extra costs to you. Reputable employers are usually serious about attracting workers, and they tend to use indeed.com. It’s highly advisable to not accept cash-in-hand cleaning work as you’ll essentially be doing the same job for less pay.