Finding Casual Jobs in Australia 
Episode 4
Not all people who are looking for work in Australia are intending to migrate there and find permanent jobs. Young people arriving Down Under with holiday working visas are more interested in short-term casual employment, to supplement their travels.

As with migrant employment the casual job market has been hit by the recession and there is no longer any guarantee that you will be able to get a job within five minutes of walking off the plane. Although some industries, such as catering, have been particularly hard hit the casual job-seeker can, with a certain amount of dedication and hard work, spend a profitable year working around Australia.

Private Agencies

The private employment agencies are worth considering for people looking for temporary employment, particularly in secretarial and clerical work. There are also agencies which specialise in placing casual workers for jobs such as cleaning and gardening. If you are going to be stationed in one place for a reasonable period of time then you will have a better chance to get established with an agency and provide yourself with a steady stream of temporary work.


Sometimes the best way to find casual employment is to keep your eyes open, your ears close to the ground and all other parts of your body in a state of readiness. Look for private advertisements in shop windows or youth hostels noticeboards, or ask fellow travellers for tips about the job market in areas they have visited.

Being the straightforward people that Australians are, sometimes the best way to find job leads is to go into the nearest pub, sit yourself down with a drink and see what happens. This may sound like advice from a brewery PR man but it could be a good investment to buy a few drinks and get chatting with the locals. You may not be offered a job there and then but you may well gain some local knowledge that will point you in the right direction. 

It can also pay to promote your own talents. Put notices in local shops offering to cut lawns, paint walls or dig ditches. Alternatively go door-to-door offering your services for any odd-jobs that might need to be done. Even if you do not get snowed under with work you will undoubtedly have some interesting experiences doing this. Another method would be to put an advertisement in a local newspaper.

Perhaps something along the lines of: 'Willing worker seeking serious employment in the odd-job business. Nothing is too big, too small or too ludicrous. Years of experience in several continents. Competitive rates that will not break the mortgage.' If this does not work in one area then try it somewhere else where people are more understanding.

Fruit Picking

This is traditionally a boom area for casual employment. Not only that, but it is a good way for the overseas worker to see a side of Australian life which they would not see in a big city. The work is hard and dirty and the financial rewards vary from the mediocre to the excellent. To find fruit picking work you should go to the Centrelink office nearest to the area in which you want to work. They will advise you on job availability.

The amount you earn from fruit picking will vary depending on your speed and the crop you are picking. In the majority of cases you will be paid according to your output. Some crops are more profitable than others - grapes are considered to be one of the most profitable crops because they are relatively easy to get to and pick. Even a novice grape-picker could expect to earn at least $A350 a week. At the other end of the scale are the likes of apples and oranges. These are notoriously unprofitable for the beginner because you have to keep going up and down a ladder to get the fruit. Placing the ladder is considered to be an art in itself.

Conditions can vary as much as pay but do not expect any five-star treatment, as one grape-picker in Mildura explained, 'When I reached the farm I was confronted by a corrugated-iron shed which I thought was the tractor shed. In fact, it turned out to be the staff accommodation. For the first few days I had to sleep on the concrete floor, but then I was afforded the "luxury" of having a rusty bedstead on which to lay my sleeping bag. To be honest I was lucky to have any type of free accommodation because most unexperienced pickers have to provide their own tent.'

Hospitality Work

This is one area in which people on holiday working visas have traditionally found a variety of casual work. Whether it is as a potwasher (dishwasher) in a five-star hotel or a barman at the tourist resort at Ayers Rock, catering staff are in demand in all areas of the Australian hospitality industry.

Although experience is not always necessary for this type of work it does pay to look clean, tidy and respectable when applying for jobs. If you do have experience as a barperson, a chef or a waiter/waitress then take references with you to convince employers of your suitability.

Factory Work

If you have a high boredom threshold then you could consider working in a factory packing anything from pineapples to soap. A good source of information about job availability is fellow travellers who have 'been there and done it', as they say. It is also worth following the fruit picking cycle - a lot of this produce will be packed for consumption in other parts of the country or overseas. The pay tends to be good for this type of work but you may be driven crazy if you do it for too long.


For people with farm experience of some description it may be possible to get a job as a jackaroo or a jillaroo (a sheep station assistant). Although it sounds romantic the chances are that you will not be riding across the outback on your trusty steed. In reality there can be a lot of sitting around on a sheep station - if not you will be doing all the jobs that no-one else can be bothered with. Ask someone who has done it before you commit yourself.

Finding job in Australia
Finding Employment in Australia with Governmental Help
Finding Casual Jobs in Australia
Work in Australia - Jobs Employment Visas

Top Australia job sites

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Need a few days work? Find the right work for a couple of days, a week or whenever.

Blue Collar
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Link Me
new site from Sensis. Free to post your resume, employers pay the service $50 to look at it. Will either be a spectacular success or a big flop.

My New Job
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Australian online job board

Kelly Services
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Hi Wages
part-time, casual and temp listings


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