With a dynamic economy and low unemployment, Australia offers plenty of opportunities for workers, whether they are skilled or unskilled. But to find a job and work in Australia, it is still essential to know where to look and how to go about it. To find a job and work in Australia, the approach will be different if you decide to work in a city or in a farm (fruit picking). In general it is pretty easy to find a small job with a Working Holiday Visa, but it is still essential to know where to look and get the right approach. For skilled positions, it usually takes a bit more determination but don’t panic, there are plenty of opportunities. Want to work in Australia? Follow the leader !
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Find a job in Australia in 2024
Australia is a country that has long depended on foreign labor. Following the Covid pandemic, many sectors have been seriously affected by the lack of skilled and unskilled labour. Coming to work in Australia in 2024 can offer many opportunities and it can be easier to find a job in the sectors experiencing a shortage. And these sectors are very numerous!
Labor shortage sectors
- Hotel and catering
Most-needed roles in Australia
Some profiles are more required than others in Australia. Depending on your qualifications and experience, you will more or less easily find work. Each year, the Australian government publishes a report in which the trends are listed with the areas and regions that are recruiting more. This report is also very useful to get an overview of salaries according to profile types.
You can consult this report : Jobs wanted in Australia.
Finally, for all those who wish to migrate to Australia on the long term, you will need to find a sponsor (family, company). To find out if your occupation is an in-demand one in Australia, you should consult the lists made available by the Australian government: Short-Term Skilled Occupations List (STSOL) and Medium and Long-term Strategic Skills List (MLTSSL).
NB: If your profession is listed in one of these lists, you will be able to apply for a Visa with points (189 or 190).
10 Tips to find a job in Australia
Prepare a strong resume
First step before you start your search: update your resume! Your resume (CV) is crucial. Tailor it to the job you’re applying for, highlighting relevant skills and experience. Include your contact information, education, work history, and any certifications.
Check out all our tips on how to make a successful Australian-style Resume on our dedicated article.
If you only intend to apply for farm work, you won’t need a resume 🙂
Prepare all the paperworks
To work in Australia, you must have a TFN number. It registers you with the Australian taxation office (ATO). The process is free and can be done online.
Ensure your visa allows you to work in Australia. Be aware of your work rights and any limitations imposed by your visa type. For example with a student visa you are allowed to work 48 hours per fortnight. There is no limitation with a Working Holiday Visa.
Depending on the sector of activity, getting a certificate can be necessary:
Prefer face-to-face contact
If you are looking for a job with a direct contact with a clientele (hotel, restaurant, sales): present yourself directly to the company you are interested in. Australians appreciate direct contact. Be smiling, ask about the company, ask if it is possible to meet the manager. Show that you are open-minded and accessible. Also in construction and on farms, do not hesitate to go directly to the building sites or to the farms.
Browsing job sites
You should do some research on these platforms which regularly publish job offers: Seek, Jobsearch, Indeed, Mycareer, Gumtree: best for occasional jobs (construction, painting, babysitting).
These sites are generally well known to backpackers. The competition is tough, but you have every chance of standing out! It also allows you to have an overview of the offers, the employers’ expectations and the salaries offered.
Use word of mouth
Australians love to be helpful, so word of mouth can be a very effective method. Talk about your job search to people you meet: backpackers, locals, retailers… There is always someone, who knows someone, who is looking to recruit! Also, make contacts in the hostel and take advantage of the good tips from the other backpackers on site.
Register with a recruitment agency
Recruitment / job agencies are another way to find a job in Australia. They are often specialised by sector: catering, construction, sales… Go directly to them with your resume. Some agencies will interview you to find out what motivates you.
Contractors can also act as intermediaries between the employer and the employee. This system is widespread in Fruit Picking.
Speak directly to the manager
For jobs such as sales or catering, ask to put your resume directly in the hands of the manager. Otherwise, your application may not be passed on to the right person, or may be lost. Moreover, if a good feeling develops between you and the manager, your chances of being hired increase!
The competition is very strong and showing your motivation makes the difference. It is essential to show that you are interested in the job you are applying for. After submitting your resume, don’t hesitate to phone or email to see if it has been forwarded to the right person or if your profile corresponds to one of their offers. If you don’t hear from them after a few days, go back and ask to see someone. Always with a smile!
Avoid crowded backpacker areas
For farm work, areas such as Sheparton, Waikerie, Mildura and Bundarberg are popular with backpackers. The competition is tough and there are many scams.
Choose the West Coast or Tasmania over the East Coast for fruit picking. In the city, September, October and November are good times to look for work as summer approaches. Spread your search to the suburbs if you want to work in a shopping centre, a café, a shop… There are very good opportunities outside the city centres. Also be original in your search. Think about caravan parks, golf courses, factories, carwash etc.
Don’t wait until the last minute
If we had only one piece of advice to give you: look in advance! Many backpackers find themselves trapped when they need money quickly and accept jobs that don’t suit them. Anticipating by starting your research in advance will allow you to avoid an emergency situation, while offering you the possibility to refuse a job that does not match your criteria. Don’t wait until your savings run out before looking for work. Always keep a minimum of your budget safe. The cost of living in Australia is high, so don’t be surprised!
Prerequisites for working in Australia
Get a work Visa
Unless you are an Australian citizen, you will first need a work visa to work in the country. Indeed, a tourist visa does not allow you to work legally. Fortunately, Australia offers a multitude of work visas. Here is a selection of the main temporary work visas:
- Working Holiday Visa (WHV): it allows young people aged 18 to 35 (30 depending on your nationality) to be able to work to finance their stay in Australia. The WHV is valid for one year and renewable 2 times under certain conditions. It allows you to work up to 6 months with the same employer.
- Student Visa: for those studying in Australia (up to 5 years). The Student Visa allows students to work outside of class, up to 48 hours in a 15-day period.
- Temporary Skilled labour Shortage Visa (TSS): skilled workers in a field for which an Australian company cannot find a qualified Australian worker to fill the vacancy. The company is said to “sponsor” the worker. This temporary visa can be valid for up to 4 years.
Depending on the type of work you want to do and the length of time you want to work in Australia, you will have different needs.
In any case, here are the essential steps before you can start the job search:
- Get your TFN (Australian Tax File number) to allow you to work
- Open a bank account in Australia to receive your salary
- Do your Resume in Australia (CV) to help you in your job hunt
- Get an Australian phone number
- And get an ABN (Australian Business Number) if you want to work as a freelancer.
Get your Certificates
To work some jobs, it is necessary and often compulsory to obtain certain certifications. For example :
- RSA (Responsible Service of Alcohol) will be necessary to work in hospitality and in particular to be able to serve alcohol. In this sector, training as a barista can also be appreciated.
- White Card will be required to work in the building and construction industry and also in mines. You can supplement it with other certificates such as:
- The Forklift license to drive a forklift
- Working at heights certificate for working at height
- Confined space certificate for working in confined spaces
- Traffic Controller training
- RCG / RSG (Responsible Service of Gambling) is dedicated to people wishing to work in the gambling industry (pub, casinos, etc).
- WWC Check (Working With Children Check) is required if you want to work with children. The tests are different depending on the state where you work. In Queensland, it is called the Blue Card.
- First aid and CPR training
All these courses and certificates have a cost but the investment may be worth it as you will have easier access to certain jobs. Plus the cost of these courses can be deducted from your tax return at the end of the financial year.
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.
Working in a city in Australia: jobs and salaries
Australia boasts several major cities such as Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth, Adelaide, Cairns, and more. Just like in major cities worldwide, these urban centers offer a multitude of job opportunities spanning various fields. Consequently, you can explore a wide array of options to find what suits your preferences. However, establishing your qualifications may not always be straightforward, potentially consuming valuable time. This is why many backpackers opt for less specialized employment during their Work & Travel experiences in Australia.
It’s worth noting that Australia offers numerous job openings that are accessible to individuals with motivation and enthusiasm, regardless of their qualifications. Industries like hospitality and tourism, for instance, consistently generate seasonal positions, enabling you to gain valuable experience and income. Below, you’ll find a list of common backpacker job opportunities in Australian cities, though this list is by no means exhaustive.
Work in Hotels and Restaurants (Hospitality)
The hotel and restaurant industry employs many young travellers, especially during summer. You will be able to work as a receptionist, waiter, chef, kitchen hand, bartender, barista, all-rounder, etc. These jobs are generally well paid, from $23 to $25 / hr + tips, and hourly rates increase in the evening, on weekends and on public holidays.
It is necessary to have a RSA certificate for all jobs that involve serving alcohol. The RSA certificate can be obtained through attending a one-day training course in class or online, that is required by Australian law. The cost of the course varies depending on the state you are taking the course. The regulations are also different in each state so be sure to get the RSA certificate for the state you intend to work in.
Read also : Get your RSA Certificate
Housekeeping involves the cleaning of various establishments, including residences, hotels, or office spaces. Typically, these positions are part-time and offer compensation ranging from approximately $22 to $25 per hour. It’s important to note that proficiency in English may not be a strict requirement for such roles. Hostels and caravan parks are often more inclined to hire backpackers for housekeeping positions, but you’re certainly welcome to apply to any hotel of your choice.
Cleaning companies may also have job opportunities in this field. However, they might seek candidates with prior experience in housekeeping, and you may need to commit to several months of employment with them.
Work as a driver or delivery person
If you are looking for a job with flexible hours, the jobs of drivers or deliverymen are a good opportunity to earn a little money. You just need to have an ABN, a smartphone, a bike / car and insurance.
If you have a car, you will be able to work as a driver for companies like Uber, Didi or Ola in Australia.
If you have a bike, UberEats and Deliveroo also offer jobs to drivers cycling.
Read also : How to get an ABN
Work in sales, retail shops
Numerous job opportunities can be found in retail establishments such as clothing stores, shoe shops, and various small stores. It’s advisable to have a good command of English for these roles, as they involve direct customer interaction. Salaries typically range from $22 to $26 per hour, with higher rates paid on weekends and public holidays.
Supermarkets also offer potential employment, with pay rates averaging around $23 per hour for positions like checkout attendants and storekeepers. Major supermarket chains in Australia include Woolworths, Coles, Aldi, and IGA. If you’re seeking employment with these prominent brands, it’s often recommended to apply in smaller cities or rural areas, as they are more inclined to hire local candidates in larger cities.
Working with children in Australia
If you love children and are under 30, working as an Au pair can be a good opportunity to combine work and life experience Australia. You will be paid around $300 / week + housed and fed by a family who asks you to take care of the children in exchange. A nanny job is another option, the difference being that you don’t live with the family.
If you have experience and references, also consider going to schools or daycare centres, which sometimes need supervisors or facilitators. For most of these jobs, you will need a WWCC (Working With Children Check) from the website of your state of residence as well as a First Aid Certificate. For Queensland, the WWCC is called the Blue Card.
Work in construction
If you have qualifications and/or experience in construction, don’t hesitate to try your luck in Australia. Labour is in high demand and wages are higher than in the hospitality industry. Obviously these are more difficult jobs, but don’t hesitate to go for it!
To work in the construction industry in Australia, you need to get a certificate (White Card), which you can easily obtain through a short online course. This certificate is mandatory in Australia for all construction/ construction-related jobs. It is valid throughout the country. In cities, you can also apply for the position of Traffic Controller to manage traffic around construction sites.
Get discounts for your White Card course
Take advantage of special offers to obtain the white card and work in the construction industry.
Work in a call centre or in customer service
Telemarketing is a sector that often recruits temporary workers. Most of the time, it involves working on the phone. Often you have to call customers on behalf of a company or an association. You may also need to provide customer service, in which case you will have to answer incoming calls.
In any case, even if the speech to be given is already written, you will need to have a good level of English and basic computer skills.
Work in a factory
Working in a factory is also a good way to earn money. These are usually food factories and working conditions can be difficult. English skills are not necessary. Salaries range from $22 – $25 per hr.
Find a qualified job
Depending on your qualifications and your visa, you can also try to find a qualified job in Australia. If you have a WHV, you will only be able to work for 6 months with the same employer, but if the job is in your field, this can be a good way to prove yourself and gain experience in Australia. Afterwards, the employer has to transfer you to another branch or offer you a sponsorship (TSS visa).
Starting a career in Australia can be very attractive, but to be successful you will need to adapt to the Australian market. Create a resume meeting the Australian standards.
Writing a resume in Australia
All the information you need to create a good Australian resume + free samples to guide you
Working on a farm or in the mines in Australia
Work on a farm
Farm jobs are mostly found in rural areas, far from big cities and in the outback. The majority of jobs on farms relate to fruit and vegetable production, animal husbandry, the cultivation of cereals or cotton, fishing …
Be aware that this type of job generally involves strenuous work positions that test your physical condition. The work will often be repetitive and tiring. In general, the farms will offer you accommodation on site (free or paid).
For working holiday visa makers who wish to renew their visa to stay for another year, you will have to work for 3 months (88 days) in rural areas (eligible regions).
Fruit Picking includes all work related to agriculture. These jobs appear to be the most suitable for those who wish to work for short or medium term to finance their travel and especially those travelling with their vehicle. Fruit Picking jobs are popular for young travellers with a Working Holiday Visa because they do not need special skills and you can find farms all around Australia during your road trip.
Each Australian state offers a wide variety of fruits and vegetables to harvest throughout the year. These jobs generally involve difficult working conditions but you will live a great experience and meet amazing people.
The Fruit Picking Map
Are you looking for a job in Fruit Picking? Get free access to more than 400 farm contacts via our interactive map.
Other agricultural work
Even though Fruit Picking is an agricultural activity is very widespread because it requires a lot of seasonal labour, there are lots of other farm jobs in Australia!
It is also possible to work in contact with animals or be a farm worker on a grain farm. On dairy farms, livestock farms (oxen, sheep, goats, pigs, and even crocodiles!), You will have to take care of the animals on site and lend a hand to the daily work of the farm.
If you are a farm worker, and know how to drive a tractor, and are not afraid of physical labour, consider these Australian job opportunities as well.
Working on a solar farm in Australia
For some time Australia has invested in solar farm projects. These are large farms whose activity is to generate electricity from solar panels. These operations are often located in remote areas and labour for maintenance or installation is sought after and well paid. Jobs vary from entry-level labouring, cleaning, and trade assistant positions. Salaries are around $30 / hr + bonuses. You may also be given meals and cheap accomodation.
Remember that you will need the White Card to work on a solar farm.
The mining sector in Australia is a pillar of the national economy. The workforce is very well paid because working in a mine requires an intense and sometimes physical work rhythm. Mines in Australia are often located in remote areas and most mine workers work on a rotating basis, known as FIFO (Fly In Fly Out). Wages are therefore quite high, from $30/ hr to $45/ hr for the least qualified workers.
From worker to engineer, machine operator or cook, maintenance agent, there is a lot of jobs available in this industry.
Do an internship in Australia
To prove yourself after your studies or to have a first approach of the country, you may wish to do an internship in Australia. Be aware that the situation in Australia is different from other Countries. While in Europe, the internship is considered a professional experience, in Australia it is rather considered as a voluntary observation experience in a company. That’s why most internships are unpaid.
Volunteering in Australia
Volunteering is generally a very common practice in Australia. Having one or more volunteering experiences in Australia can be helpful as it is often highly valued by recruiters. Many associations are looking for volunteers to lend a helping hand.
The Wwoofing is a very popular practice in Australia. The principle is simple, you are housed and fed in exchange for working at the farm. Your hosts provide you with accommodation (caravan, room, tent …) and meals. To join, you will need to register to the Wwoofing program: www.wwoof.com.au.
The HelpExchange program is based on the same principle as the Wwoofing. Again, it is necessary to be a member to access and contact hosts directly. You can work on farms, ranches, properties in exchange for shelter and food. Membership fee cost €20 for 2 years.
You can register here: www.helpx.net
Following the fires and floods that have ravaged Australia the past few years, the time spent volunteering in the disaster areas will count towards the 88 days required to obtain a second Working Holiday Visa. For more information, see our dedicated article.
Workaway is an exciting platform that allows travelers to enjoy unique cultural experiences by staying with hosts around the world in exchange for helping out with various tasks. Whether it’s assisting on a farm, teaching language, or contributing to community projects, Workaway offers an opportunity to immerse yourself in local life while reducing your travel expenses. You can register here: www.workaway.info
Working as a freelancer in Australia
To work as a freelancer is to have the freedom to carry out your activity where you want or to have additional income. It is quite possible to work on your own with a temporary work visa. You just need to request an ABN (Australian Business Number). The procedure is quite simple and is done online. Once you have your ABN, you will be able to bill your customers, whether they are individuals or businesses.
You will have to follow a few rules to issue your invoices, such as having a TFN (Tax File Number) to declare your annual income to the ATO. Consider increasing your hourly rates in comparison to salaried work because you will have to save some income for your taxes (income taxes, retirement and insurance).
Note that it is possible to exercise a freelance activity in addition to a salaried activity. You will just have to think about adding your income during your tax return.
Taxation system in Australia
Australia levies taxes on your wages. The Australian Tax Office (ATO) takes care of this. The good news is that your employer pays the taxes, so the tax is withheld at source. It is therefore normal for your employer to ask you for your TFN when he offers you a job and you have 28 days to provide it after your hire.
Even if you have a temporary work visa (WHV, TSS visa, etc.), you are subject to this tax. On top of your salary, your company must also contribute to your superannuation (11% of your salary) and for your health insurance, called Medicare levy (2% of your salary).
At the end of the financial year (June 30), you will have to declare your income for the year to the ATO. Depending on the total amount of income received (from your salary bracket), your tax rate will be different, and in some cases, you may have to recover part of the taxes paid.
Working holiday makers tax rates 2023–24
|Tax on this income
|0 – $45,000
|15c for each $1
|$45,001 – $120,000
|$6,750 plus 32.5c for each $1 over $45,000
|$120,001 – $180,000
|$31,125 plus 37c for each $1 over $120,000
|$180,001 and over
|$53,325 plus 45c for each $1 over $180,000
Read also : Backpackers Tax Rates in Australia
At the time of your tax declaration, you will also be able to request a reimbursement of the Medicare levy if you do not benefit from the Australian health system. As for the superannuation, you can ask to recover it when you leave Australia. Keep in mind that you will be taxed on the sum (65%).
Remember to keep your Australian bank account at the end of your stay to receive your superannuation payout. Once the sum has been transferred, all you have to do is transfer your money back to your country of residence.
Your rights as a worker
Starting a new job can be an exciting time but also a little stressful. Although each workplace is different, some rights and responsibilities apply to all employees and employers in Australia. To avoid the abuse of unscrupulous employers against young foreign workers, let us recall some labour rights and rules in Australia:
- The legal working time in Australia is 38h per week.
- Annual paid leave is 4 weeks + 1 additional week for certain shift workers.
- Parental leave can go up to 12 months renewable once, unpaid.
- All employees working in Australia are entitled to a minimum wage
For most employees, this minimum wage is set by an agreement (an Award) which relates to their sector of activity or their profession. For each Award, there is, therefore, a minimum rate of remuneration and different rights. You can check the FairWork site for your Award. For employees not covered by an Award, the national minimum wage applies $23.23 per hour or $882,80 per week (for 38 hours work and before tax) (since July 1, 2023).
Depending on the type of contract, the rate of remuneration may vary. This is particularly the case for casual jobs. For this type of job, the number of hours you will work per week is not guaranteed. To compensate, you benefit from an increased hourly rate to cover job insecurity (absence of paid leave, sick leave, etc.).
Finally, for those who work in fruit picking and who work by piece. Since 2022, workers 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 workers, the minimum wage is at least $22.61 (since 1 July 2023). For casual workers, they must earn at least $28.26 (since 1 July 2023).
Employers have to pay employees for all work they do. This includes for:
- mandatory work activities.
Backpacker Jobs and Salaries
What jobs can you get in Australia and for what salary? To give you authentic information, we asked other backpackers.
When you start a new job in Australia, make sure you obtain as soon as possible the following information from your employer :
- How high is your salary or pay rate?
- What will be your type of contract? Full time, part time, or casual
- What are your working hours?
- What are your tasks?
- What is the award (company collective agreement) that covers your job?
- Is there a trial period to provide for the job?
To learn more about your rights, visit the FairWork website.
Extend your stay in Australia
Many people seek to migrate to Australia. Indeed, life in Australia is very pleasant and it is possible to make a career there. Here are some possibilities to extend your stay.
Renew your WHV
If you come to Australia with a WHV (valid for one year), you can extend it for a second year if you work 88 days of regional work during the first year of your visa. You can do a third year of WHV with 6 months of regional work during your second year. You will have to apply for a new WHV and pay the fee ($635).
Turn your visa into a student visa or tourist visa
At the end of your temporary work visa, you can switch to a student visa by registering for a course. It can be a course in a school (university, TAFE, etc.) or simple language course. The cost of a student visa is $710 (visa fee until July 2024).
You can also apply for a tourist visa (eVisitor). This is valid for 3 months but does not allow you to work legally. It can, however, give you the time you need to find a sponsor. There are several options available to you in this case. But be aware that your tourist visa will cost you much more if you apply for it from Australia.
Find a sponsor
If you found a job during your first stay in Australia and your employer wishes to keep you, he can sponsor you to stay in Australia 2 to 4 years under a TSS visa. This of course provided that your job is listed as an eligible occupation.
Get a partner visa
Finally, if during your stay you meet an Australian citizen or a permanent resident and if your relationship has been established for more than a year, you can apply for a partner visa.
Updated on 21/11/2023