4. JOB MARKET
Australia’s job market is like a platter of hors d’oeuvres for backpackers. Some positions are in hot demand and are gobbled up before you even have a chance to apply, while others are left over for the truly hungry and desperate. There are some skilled positions and even industries that can’t get enough backpackers, meaning they offer incentives to lure in overseas workers. For example, nurses are in high demand in Australia.
Many nursing agencies offer fringe benefits to attract you, from accommodation and phones to reward systems for diligent workers, which may include travel. You may find work as a temporary midwife, with the Royal Flying Doctor Service in the outback, or in the operating room in a busy city hospital.
While Dolly Parton sang about the problems of working nine to five, office and temping jobs can be good ways of making a living. Agencies often have plenty of positions available for PAs, plus opportunities in sales, marketing, accounting and financial services. Temping also gives you the flexibility to leave at short notice and you’re often paid weekly. On the flipside, the employer only needs to give you one day’s notice.
Hospitality skills especially open up opportunities in Australia, with the al fresco scene vibrant all year round. So if you want to cook, pull beers or wait tables, keep an eye on the local newspaper and feel free to drop your resumé in to restaurants, asking to see the manager. Be aware that states and territories have different legislation governing the serving of alcohol. In some states you are required to complete a one-day course in Responsible Service of Alcohol (RSA). In NSW these cost around $85, but you may have to redo it in each state you wish to work in. You might also have to gain a Responsible Conduct of Gambling (RSG) in order to work near gambling devices like pokies.
Similarly, working in a resort town is a fun way to spend your working holiday. This option may lead you to Queensland resorts or the laidback lifestyle of Western Australia and the Northern Territory. You could even find yourself working as a deckhand in the Whitsundays or on a liveaboad boat on the Great Barrier Reef. In April to July, another option is ski resorts, most of which are in Victoria and New South Wales, with the two biggest being Thredbo and Perisher.
For those of you who like to get their hands dirtier than Tiger Woods’ conscience, then the harvest trail is for you. Plus, if you work as a “seasonal worker” in regional Australia for three months (88 days) you can extend your working holiday visa for a second year. More info atimmi.gov.au
You’ll find plenty of work in every state, but especially on either side of the Murray River, from Adelaide to western Victoria and NSW. You’ll also find plenty of work in WA and Tassie, living life on the land and getting a real taste of Australiana – pubs, VB, dust and utes. You could be reaching for tree crops like avocados, apricots and citrus, or you may be foraging with ground crops like corn, pumpkin, strawberries or sugarcane. Find out more atjobsearch.gov.au/harvesttrail.