Working in Australia: The most common jobs for students and WHV travellers

Finding a job once you arrive in Australia and get settled is on most people’s priority list. If you are on a student visa you will be entitled to work up to 40 hours per fortnight (when your course is in session) which will assist with living expenses. You can work an unlimited number of hours when you have a scheduled course break.

The most popular jobs for international students are delivery driving/food couriering, cleaning, hospitality (kitchen hand, barista, waiter), retail, construction, farm work jobs. Some of the main job seeking sites used by international students and WHV travellers are Gumtree, Seek and Jora. Other ones include JobSearch (Australian Government job site), Student Edge, Career One, Adzuna, Indeed, JobSearch and SpotJobs. [I will publish another post soon with more detail on the best sites to look for jobs.]

Australia has a range of industries and many have part time or casual employment opportunities, including:

  • Hospitality – cafes, bars, restaurants and events
  • Retail – supermarkets, department and clothing stores
  • Tourism – hotels, travel centres
  • Agricultural – farming and fruit-picking
  • Sales and call centres 
  • Administration or clerical (office) roles
  • Delivery driving – food couriers (Uber Eats, Deliveroo, Menulog etc)
  • Construction work – labourers
  • Cleaning work – offices, homes

Hospitality

Jobs in hospitality are very popular for international students. Often the hours required to work are suitable to be organised around study commitments. Australian cities have a big cafe and restaurant culture so there are many venues looking for part time and casual staff. You may need an RSA, RCG or perhaps barista training depending on the venue you work.

Retail

Part time jobs in supermarkets and clothing stores are also quite commonly available. You don’t need any particular certification but an adequate level of English.

Tourism

For positions in hotels and other types of tourism jobs you may need more hospitality or travel industry experience and a better level of English (at least pre-intermediate level).

The Australian hospitality industry is growing: The restaurant and cafe scene has developed a lot in recent years whereas the bar and nightlife is slowly changing and improving.

Sales

There are many different types of sales jobs, such as call centres – a higher level of English is obviously needed (intermediate and above) and some sales experience or background in sales.

Administration

Office work and clerical roles are available in many different companies. You could be answering phones, copying/printing documents, making coffees, sorting emails/mail, ordering stationery/office items and other general office tasks. An English level of pre-intermediate or above is most likely required.

Agricultural

If you are planning to go travelling and experience Australian rural life, many students or working holiday makers are keen to apply for jobs on farms or apply for fruit picking jobs. It’s a good way to earn money while travelling as well as to meet new people and gain new experiences.

Australia has some beautiful countryside to explore. Some landscapes are green and lush, whereas other terrain is rugged and dry.

Food couriers

This has become very popular in recent years due to the boom in food delivery companies. You need a driver’s licence and a registered and insured car, motorbike or scooter. You need to be willing to work evenings -good for those who do not like working early mornings.

Construction

You need a White Card certification to work in construction. You also need to be willing to work early mornings and some people prefer this as it leaves your evenings free and it’s quite good money.

Cleaning

This is obviously quite a demanding job but there are many cleaning companies looking to fill these roles. It is not a favourite job of students and other travellers but many do this in the short term.

Nannying/Babysitting

There are a lot of nanny and babysitting jobs available. Many advertisements are posted on Gumtree and there are also other sites such as Juggle Street. You need to have a Working With Children Check done to be able to work in places that involve teaching, caring for, or working with children.