What’s the first thing that travellers who want a job in hospitality should do? Register with a reputable agency that specialises in hospitality. Fill in the form correctly and have an electronic copy of your resume available for uploading.

What qualifications are needed? The area where most staff are needed are food and beverage service and housekeeping. Therefore cleaning experience and bar/wait staff experience are valuable. In some states you need to be RSA accredited (Responsible Service of Alcohol) to be able to serve alcoholic drinks. This costs around $65 and takes between four and six hours (online certification is available). Unfortunately this certification is only valid within the state it’s obtained in, as it is slightly different from state to state. If you have professional cooking experience your are miles ahead of the rest as cooking personnel are highly sought after in Australia, especially trade qualified chefs.  

What’s more important, experience or personality? Experience is sure to get you an interview. Personality will win you the position. Professionalism will ensure you of a job. Turn up neatly dressed even if you are only registering with an agency. If you look like you are serious, the potential employer will also take you seriously.

How does the hospitality sector look at the moment? Are there lots of jobs? It’s boom time at the moment. We are currently experiencing an unprecedented demand for hospitality workers and have a record amount of orders pre-booked.

What are the rates of pay, and what are the variables? Casual rates for service staff vary between $16-$20 per hour, depending on local arrangements and award pay. You’ll get $20-$30 per hour if you are cooking.

Do you offer any training? We have frequent courses in Housekeeping, Food and Beverage Service and we also do RSA.

Are there any sponsorship opportunities? Absolutely. Australia is desperate for skilled personnel. If you have a trade certificate or relevant experience you have a good chance to obtain sponsorship, more so if you are already working with an employer rather than applying from overseas. If you happen to be a chef, you’re laughing. What should international travellers expect from a job in hospitality in Australia? This is often a fun, fast environment where you will meet a lot of interesting and young people.

What are the benefits of getting some Oz work experience? Well, apart from the obvious – money – it is probably the best way to meet Australians and to get a real feel for Australian culture. Thanks to Mats Eriksson, Operations Manager, Signature Staff, http://www.signaturestaff.com


Interview with a Bartender

Kristin Ernstsen 26, from Norway What made you decide to work in Australia? I wanted to do some travelling and needed a job to finance it. As you do.

So, what is it you do now? I’m currently working in a bar in Paddington, Sydney.

And how did you land your new job? I just walked in to a few pubs and bars, and handed in my application where it seemed to be good to work. I had experience and all the papers and qualifications, so getting a job was easy.

What was your job back home? I worked as a graphic designer.

And how does it compare to working in Australia? The pay in Norway is a lot better and the work conditions are often better as workers have more rights compared to Australia. Australia has the best weather and with that comes a much more relaxed lifestyle. And it’s cheaper to live here, so it evens out.

How’s the pay? It’s quite good for a job in hospitality. As long as you work in a bar that offers the minimum wage, and even has the decency to add points for age and experience, you get paid okay as a bartender. You also get to choose as many hours as you want, so you pretty much decide your own pay. Plus there’s the tip money, as long as you work in a bar with people who tip (you’ll get more tip in a cocktail bar than in a backpacker’s pub).

What are the good points about your new job? The best thing about working in a bar is the flexibility. In most bars and pubs you only commit to one week’s roster at a time, and you can choose when you want to work. You also get to meet a lot of cool people, and most people working behind bars are fun people to work with.

Are there any bad points? Late nights and drunks. People spitting when they try to order their fiftieth drink.

Where in Australia have you been so far? I’ve been to Melbourne, Perth, Darwin, Tasmania, all over the Gold Coast and pretty much everywhere between Surfers Paradise and Sydney on the east coast.

What would you advise other travellers considering your job? Only apply in bars that look like places you could survive working in. Don’t work in a pub where the customers have no teeth and spend their entire dole cheques on bourbon and coke while listening to country music – unless you’re into that sort of thing. For any bar jobs you also have to get an RSA certificate.