Whether a bartender, a receptionist or a nanny, it's possible to make even bigger bucks in the land Down Under.
From swimming through turquoise waters to sipping wine amidst a sparking skyline, working holiday makers get to experience the best of Australia. While there are plenty of experiences that won’t cost much, a job can mean extra money to fund travels, gain experience in a range of industries and mingle with locals and other travellers.
There are endless work opportunities in Australia, and many of them pay higher wages than found in other countries.
Here's what's possible while working Down Under.
With so many bars and restaurants serving up Australia’s best gins, whiskies and wines, bartending is a perfect job for backpackers and working holiday makers. Before it's possible to start serving drinks, your customer will need to complete their Responsible Service of Alcohol (RSA) training, which teaches the regulations around alcohol in Australia. Anyone responsible for selling or serving alcohol in Australia must take RSA training and receive an RSA certificate. An RSA certificate can range from around AUD $25 to $150 depending on the state and package chosen. Be sure to suggest training through a certified provider to ensure the certificate is valid.
As a bartender, they'll get to meet locals, bond with other bartenders and learn about Australia's amazing gin, beer and wine scene. Bartenders can also make a higher hourly wage than one might think. Many venues pay AUD $20 to $24 per hour, and some will also throw in tips and free or discounted meals. Hospitality, along with a few other industries, sometimes even offer ‘penalty rates’ for working on weekends or public holidays, which can bump the figures as high as AUD $37.95 per hour.
Like bartending, waiting tables in Australian restaurants can be both fun and practical for working holiday makers. Although they may also need to show an RSA certificate (see above) depending on the restaurant's alcohol policy, becoming a waiter is low-cost and doesn't require any specific training.
Restaurant servers generally earn the same wage as bartenders, with rates starting around AUD $19 per hour, with the pay dependant on previous experience in the hospitality industry.
Working as an au pair offers the chance to experience the Aussie way of life with a local family. Depending on the job, they may need a current first aid qualification as well as a Working with Children check (each state will have unique requirements, so it's best to apply for this when they know where they'll be living). They can expect to pay between AUD $80 and $125 for a Working with Children check and between AUD $70 and $160 for a first aid course depending on the training chosen.
While they may need to fork out a few upfront costs to get qualified for this role, they should be able to quickly cover the investment made. In Australia, nannies and au pairs usually earn between AUD $200 and $275 per week for an average of 25 to 35 hours. In many cases, free room and board and daily meals are provided, and if lucky, they'll also enjoy excursions with the whole family. Be sure they discuss not only their pay but schedule, meals and lifestyle with the prospective family.
Fruit picking on Australian farms is popular among working holiday makers, especially because eligible work in remote parts of the country allow those on working holiday visas (Subclass 417 and Subclass 462) to stay for an additional year. While specific training or certificates to work on a farm isn't needed, they may be required to supply their own steel cap boots, gloves and hi-vis work shirts. Recommend they check with the employer before heading into the country, as it may be cheaper to purchase their equipment in a larger city.
One thing fruit picking provides, that many other jobs won’t, is the ability to earn money per bin as opposed to per hour. This means the hourly rate is entirely up to how quickly they work. Working on an apple orchard, for instance, they can earn AUD $35 per bin of apples. An average worker fills five to seven bins per day, which could be AUD $245 per day if willing to work fast.
Receptionist and administrative assistant
If looking for a job with a great schedule, reception is an ideal option. Hours usually fall between 9am and 5pm, leaving plenty of time for an after-work ocean swim during the summer months (December to February). In Australia, a receptionist role pays roughly AUD $24 per hour, plus even more on weekends – a job that’ll get only AUD $15 per hour in the UK.
Most businesses need someone well-presented and friendly at front of house to keep their clientele happy, so the demand is high. Advise your customer to put out lots of applications, to dress appropriately and be friendly during any interviews. Their hostel might even be an easy place to start their search. Have them ask the manager if they could use someone to manage their front of house.
Administration support roles are even more lucrative than reception, paying anywhere from AUD $28 to $45 per hour, depending on the skills they bring to the job, like PowerPoint and Excel.
Australia’s cities and regional areas are always developing, which means there are plenty of construction jobs that are perfect for working holiday makers. In addition to plentiful work, construction allows them to move around the country, improve their skills and even qualify for a second-year visa if they complete three months of eligible work in a regional area.
To work in construction, they’ll need to hold a valid White Card, which shows they're prepared to work safely on a construction site. A White Card course generally takes only one day to complete and typically costs less than AUD $50. Some classes may include a personal equipment pack for an additional cost, which provides equipment like gloves, boots and safety glasses.
The average wage for construction work varies depending on skills and experience, but these types of jobs often offer a daily rate of over AUD $200 per day. Many construction jobs also offer overtime penalty rates, to earn extra cash for extra hours, plus a higher wage if they have skills in handling power tools, carpentry or renovation.
If they haven’t previously worked in construction, they can still apply for more general labour roles. These jobs could include tasks like gardening, landscaping and site maintenance which earn AUD $19 per hour even without previous experience.
Jobs in tourism
From working as a deckhand while sailing the Whitsundays to housekeeping at a quaint guest house on Magnetic Island, there are so many jobs in Australia perfect for the adventurous at heart.
One of the benefits of these types of jobs is that specific training or experience often isn't needed; just a good attitude and taste for adventure. As a crew member on a boat charter, earn upwards of AUD $19 per hour, and even more for overnight charters. In the hospitality industry, they may receive discounted accommodation in addition to pay. Either way, they’ll be able to experience some of Australia’s most magical destinations as they work and play.
For the most up to date information regarding visas and the Working Holiday Maker program, visit the Department of Home Affairs website.