From fruit picking to nursing, bar tending to teaching, there are plenty of work opportunities in Australia when you need to replenish your bank balance.
If you’re planning on spending an extended time Down Under, there’s a fair chance you will push your finances to the limit, so you will need to earn some extra money. But fear not, because getting a job on your travels need not be the tiresome necessity you imagine. As well as the financial benefits, working is a great way to get to know the locals and experience the famous Aussie lifestyle.Plus, if you don’t want to leave the land of Oz, there may be chances of sponsorship.
Who can work?
The only people who can legitimately work while travelling are those holding an appropriate visa, which in most backpackers’ case, is a Working Holiday Visa (see visas section on page 88). Anyone caught working illegally faces being deported and potentially never being allowed back to Australia.
There is nothing more frustrating than finding your dream job, which you have all the qualifications for, then realising that all evidence of your experience is in the bottom drawer of your desk at home. Or missing out after showing up to the interview wearing a t-shirt. It’s worth sorting out your CV, references and maybe even scanned copies of your certificates before you leave. The best thing to do is email them to yourself so you can always get easy access. If you’re in a profession where a police check might be needed, like teaching, it’s also worth getting that sorted before you leave.
If you’re after office-based work, then perhaps it’s worth packing a set of smart clothes. You will be able to buy work clothes in Australia of course (and save yourself having to lug them around the world), but that’s quite a lot of beer money.
Where to look for work
Hit the streets: In many instances (especially in retail and hospitality), you’ll find that simply walking in to a place you want to work and asking for a job is the most effective way of landing one.
Other places to find jobs
TNT Magazine: There are heaps of jobs listed in our mag every week and contact details for all the best recruitment companies. You can also sign up for our weekly e-newsletter, which is full of jobs aimed specifically at backpackers. Visit tntdownunder.com
Newspapers: Newspapers in the capital cities are normally full of job ads, as are regional papers in the country.
On the web: All the recruitment agencies are online nowadays, plus many companies may only advertise jobs on their own websites.
Hostels: Hostels offer good local information on jobs and can sometimes even arrange work, especially in harvest areas. Ask at reception or check noticeboards.
Recruitment agencies: Usually the quickest way to find office, computer or financial work. Sign up with a number of agencies to increase your chances of finding work.
Types of jobs
Seasonal work: The warm months (October-April) are the prime time for harvest jobs but there is seasonal work all year round. The work isn’t easy,but you can potentially earn good money. And an added bonus is that anyone who undertakes three months of seasonal work (such as fruit-picking) will be eligible to apply for a second Working Holiday Visa.
Most hostels in fruit-picking areas can arrange work and often offer special accommodation and transport for harvest workers. (Get more info from the National Harvest Labour Information Service, harvesttrail.gov.au.
Au pair and childcare: If you’re good with young‘uns, and have experience and references, there is plenty of work through specialist agencies.
Banking and finance: Australia rode the global financial crisis with relative calm, meaning jobs are available in the banking, finance and accounting industries, especially for temps to cover peak periods.Make sure you wear good clothes to the agency and all interviews.
Education: If you’ve got the qualifications and security checks, teachers are in high demand across Australia and you can earn a good wage.Farm work: Another great Aussie experience is to work on a farm as a jackaroo or jillaroo, but these jobs can be hard to find.
Mechanics, builders, tractor drivers, domestics, welders, cooks, horse riders or those with a heavy vehicle driver’s licence will find farm work easier to come by.
Hospitality: This industry could have been made for travellers, with decent pay and flexible hours not to mention the lively social scene. In most states however you need a Responsible Service of Alcohol Certificate. This requires a one-day course that costs from $50.
Nursing and medical: Australia is suffering from a shortage of qualified nurses, so if you’ve got the right qualifications and registration, you shouldn’t have too much trouble finding work. Hospitals regularly hire casual staff through nursing agencies.There’s also a demand for doctors, and other medical professionals such as physiotherapists, especially in rural areas.
Office work: There are office temping jobs available for anyone with general office skills,particularly in Sydney and Melbourne, and the pay is reasonable.
Resort work: Most jobs are word-of-mouth,but some are advertised in newspapers and Employment National (the Government’s Job Network offices or on the jobsearch.gov.au website. Queensland (especially the Whitsundays) has the most job opportunities.
Ski season work: Believe it or not, it does snowin Australia, and during the ski season there are plenty of jobs to go around. Jobs are normally advertised in the major papers around April,or keep an eye on websites for resorts like Perisher and Thredbo.
Creative: Though tough, it’s not impossible for designers, journalists and others with experience in creative fields (advertising, print publishing and internet) to find work. After all, we managed it.
Sales and marketing: There’s lots of contract work available in the sales industry plus marketing and promotions. Contact recruitment agencies to see which jobs best suit your skills.Telemarketing: Telemarketing is not for everyone,but can pay well. Check the phone directory and newspapers for companies as there is a high turnover in these jobs.
A great way to get off the beaten track and see more of Oz. WWOOF (Willing Workers on Organic Farms, info at wwoof.com.au) can help you find work across the country. If you want to help the environment, consider Conservation Volunteers Australia (conservationvolunteers.com.au).
The tax system
A Tax File Number (TFN) is essential if you plan on working while you’re in Oz. Most Working Holiday visa holders can apply online at ato.gov.au/individuals
When you start a job, your employer will ask you to complete a TFN declaration – you have 28 days to provide it. When you leave an employer, make sure you get a payment summary showing your total income and amount of tax withheld. You must lodge a tax return before you leave Australia. Failure to do so can incur a fine and affect your chances of returning. On the plus side, travellers often receive a tax refund in excess of $1,000.If you’re planning on being self-employed,you’ll also need an Australian Business Number(ABN). See ato.gov.au for info.
Main image: AFP/Getty Images/Francois Nascimbeni