What is the situation for casual work like in Australian cities at the moment?
February 15, 2010 3:35 PM   Subscribe

What is the situation for casual work like in Australian cities at the moment? Also any ideas.

I'm thinking of staying in Aus. It's the last year I can get a working holiday 417 visa as I'm 30, but on the other hand the recession might make things difficult.

How easy is it to get casual work at the moment and how much competition? I'm thinking of something like bar work but don't have experience in this area...I'll do most things apart from work in an office though.

I'm thinking of Melbourne or Sydney.

If anyone has any ideas for jobs and places they'd be welcome as well.

FWIW, I've been doing EFL teaching and massage recently.
posted by Not Supplied to Work & Money (10 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
The recession hasn't affected Australia quite as badly as the US or the UK. The more serious problem with Sydney and Melbourne is the cost of living; Sydney in particular is a very expensive place to live. You could consider other cities like Adelaide, Brisbane, or Canberra, or regional centres like Newcastle.

If you want to work in an Australian bar you'll need an RSA (Responsible Service of Alcohol) certificate, and an RCG (Responsible Conduct of Gambling) certificate to supervise poker machines is useful too. They're both one-day courses.

I understand the situation for TESOL teaching isn't bad, if you've got recognised qualifications and you can teach for the IELTS or TOEFL tests. The industry is huge here especially for tertiary-entrance and vocational-entrance.
posted by Fiasco da Gama at 4:10 PM on February 15, 2010

Thanks I'll bear that in mind. Interesting about the TESOL situation..I am qualified.
posted by Not Supplied at 5:32 PM on February 15, 2010

I can't imagine you'd have that many problems finding a job in Melbourne. There is both a huge international student population and a lot of bars/restaurants. An RSA certificate is fairly cheap and easy to get. For an idea of what is available, I would check both Gumtree and The Age classifieds. Seek is probably the main jobs listing site in Australia.
posted by Wantok at 5:45 PM on February 15, 2010

Anecdata: half the time I'm served in a bar or cafe (etc) in Sydney, it seems to be by a European backpacker.

Other than that, this company may be of use - or try looking through the directory of the Dymocks Building...there's a whole bunch of working holiday / backpacker-related businesses there. I thought there were more job placement companies than just this one; you might have better luck than me. They should be able to give you an idea of the job market for people with working visas.

(my connection here is that I visit the travel doctors for immunisations & boosters, and see plenty of backpackers in these other businesses. perhaps that is the only one there that does the job placement service...?)
posted by UbuRoivas at 6:22 PM on February 15, 2010

To add, just went on my lunch break in the Melbourne CBD and saw three 'help wanted' signs without even looking for them. All were for retail jobs but none asked for experience.
posted by Wantok at 9:21 PM on February 15, 2010

I'm not sure if your current situation would allow it, but if you can get some relevant experience before you arrive, you will have a much better chance at getting work in a bar/cafe/restaurant. They may not check the overseas references on your resume but it will be easy for potential employers to tell if you've never worked a coffee machine, bar tap, etc. If you're persistent and not too picky, I shouldn't imagine you'll have much trouble finding something.

You would probably be better off looking for work during Melbourne's warmer months (roughly October-April) because there are simply more customers out and about. I don't think this would apply as much in Sydney, but I may be wrong.

Also a lot of overseas visitors find seasonal work at ski resorts in Victoria or New South Wales from June-September-ish. Although New Zealand would be better for this (more snow, longer season, bigger resort village). Just a thought.
posted by birch effect at 9:36 PM on February 15, 2010

If you want to do your work & holiday visa and this is your last year to do it, just do it! It will work out fine, you will find work, you will find an affordable place to live. Life is generally really easy here.

Plus, Melbourne is awesome! You should come here because it's a really fun place to live.

I have two backpacker friends who are currently working as untrained building site labourers, making about $20/hr cash in hand. I have a couple of other backpacker friends who are working in cafes or bars and making about $12 cash in hand. It might be slightly more difficult to come by official "on the books" employment in these sectors, but it certainly can be done. It's true you'll need an RSA for barwork but it's like a two hour class, quick quiz, and it costs $50. Seriously not a big deal. NB: Each state has their own, so you might want to make sure you're happy living in whichever city you choose before you take it. Many places will hire you and let you schedule it sometime in the first week. Of course, if not, it's only $50, so no big deal to take it twice.

I agree that restaurant/bar/service experience is good if you want to get a job in that industry. See if you can get a trial shift in your local back home or in a pub that a friend works in. Like someone said above, they're probably not going to check your international (or even domestic) references, but they'll know you were lying if you obviously have never pulled a beer before. Melburnians are a bit precious with their coffee, so I wouldn't expect to get a job as a barista. But casual bar and cafe jobs are fairly easy to get. You can always volunteer to start as a glassy or dishwasher.

And then of course there's fruit picking. It's decent money, you'll be in great shape, working outdoors. You might even get to work on a grape harvest (or some other cool crop). Yes, it sucks and is really difficult, but there's always plenty of it and it's not always that far outside the cities. You can also go someplace, fruit pick for a month, and then leave.

Cost of living isn't really that high here. You're from London. I don't think you'll be shocked. In Melbourne, you can find a really decent room in a share house very close to the city or cool neighbourhood of your choice for a very reasonable amount of money.

Seriously, I know lots of people here who have fabulous times doing a work & holiday visa. It really can be an amazing experience. If you want the opportunity to live in Australia for a year and not think too much about your career, you will have a lot of fun. And it will work out. I know a lot of backpackers and don't know one who ever had to go home because of lack or job or lack of housing.

MeMail me if you want to chat any more about my specific experiences.
posted by mosessis at 11:23 PM on February 15, 2010

You'll have no trouble finding work. Unless you're willing to share a flat, though, you might have a lot of trouble finding / affording somewhere to live. Don't even think about finding rental accommodation in Canberra.
posted by obiwanwasabi at 11:36 PM on February 15, 2010

Definitely, definitely do it. I was recently in Melbourne on a working holiday visa and finding a job and a flat was a snap. My job ended up being a somewhat professional office thing, but my housemates all worked in hospo and had no trouble picking up fulltime jobs in cafes and the like. I have other friends who have done everything from truck driving to working at a hostel to being an elf for a mall Santa. Just don't fall for the door-to-door sales racket - another friend did that for a bit and worked 6 days a week, 10 hours a day, and only took home about $300 a week. Criminal, really.
posted by clipperton at 1:58 AM on February 16, 2010

Hey thanks guys. Sounds positive.
posted by Not Supplied at 5:12 AM on February 16, 2010

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