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How to Get a Job in Hospitality and Tourism in Australia

The jobs in hospitality and tourism can include restaurant and cafe jobs such as dishwasher, waiter, cafe all-rounder, kitchen hand, bartender, barista, or chef. It can include hotel jobs such as housekeeper, receptionist, gardener, animator; tourist offices, and tourist attraction jobs such as ticket seller, ticket checker, or reservations clerk. There’s much more, of course. If you have experience as a guide, you can try and look for such a job as well.

With the hospitality jobs, previous experience comes in handy, but often it’s enough to show you’re capable and hardworking. Hospitality jobs offer higher rates than the minimum wage, and also you get a better rate for the weekends and public holidays. Working as a waitress or a cafe all-rounder often doesn’t give you enough hours, as the standard in hospitality in Australia is to be only working 10 – 30 hours per week in one job. This means it’s a good idea to work two jobs (for example in two cafes).


In the hospitality industry, an employee working with alcohol is required to have an RSA certificate, which proves you know the regulations concerning alcohol consumption. The test to receive the RSA certificate can be done online for all the states except Victoria, where you have to sit the test in-person in class.
The most expensive test is for New South Wales (starting at AUD 114), the cheapest one is for Queensland (starting at AUD 18). The Queensland certificate is valid for Canberra, Northern Territory, Western Australia, and South Australia as well, and if you throw in a few bucks it’s valid for Tasmania too. You’ll spend AUD 60 on the Victorian RSA.

Your CV might look better if it says you already have your RSA. In NSW it is a requirement to have RSA on the day you start a new job. In QLD, however, it’s not a requirement, and you have a few weeks to get it done after you’re hired. 
Always check with the government website that the online provider of RSA is certified. Examples of such providers are Cleartowork (use the code TOM286325 to get 10% off) or

If you’re on a Student Visa you might not be able to do the RSA in NSW online and have to enroll in the course in person.

Off the books pay

Paying off the books is practiced heavily in hospitality, especially in big cities like Sydney or Melbourne. For a considerable amount of cafes and restaurants there, it is a custom to pay their employees off the books. This is not happening only in tiny cafes but it is a standard for larger establishments as well. On Gumtree you can sometimes find ads offering the waitstaff ridiculous flat rate of AUD 17 per hour (on Sundays as well) and even less.
In the end, apart from trying hard to get a job, you also have to deal with employers not paying you proper wages. Earning wage cash in hand you lose money on Superannuation, Annual leave, and on the weekend and public holiday penalties.

General work information

Types of employment

In Australia, you can be hired as full time, part-time or casual employee. You’ll find out the difference between these types of employment further ahead.

Full time

  • The employee works a guaranteed amount of hours per week (at least 38).
  • The employee has to give notice when they want to quit, and the employer has to give notice when they want to let the employee go.
  • The employee is entitled to sick leave and annual leave.


  • The employee works a guaranteed amount of hours per week (less than 38).
  • The employee has to give notice when they want to quit, and the employer has to give notice when they want to let the employee go.
  • The employee is entitled to sick leave and annual leave.


  • The employee doesn’t work a guaranteed amount of hours per week, the hours of work can be irregular, and it doesn’t have to be ongoing employment.
  • The employee can quit without notice (unless notice is required by a contract or the relevant award).
  • The employee is not entitled to sick leave or annual leave.
  • The employee has a higher pay rate than an equivalent full or part-time employee (so-called casual loading).

Pay rate

There are two options of how to get paid in Australia. Either hourly rate or contract rate (for example paid per a bucket of cherries). Regardless of how you’re paid, always check you’re getting at least the minimum wage. You don’t want to end up as one of those people on Facebook groups asking whether it’s normal to be earning half of the minimum wage. 

The minimum wage in Australia is set to 19,49 AUD (2020) if you’re employed as a full or part-time employee. With casual loading, it’s even higher. All the information can be found on the Fairwork Ombudsman website. You can look up the particular Award your job falls under and check whether you’re being paid properly. With some of the occupations, penalties apply, which means you can get paid more for working on Saturdays and Sundays or for working overtime.

One employer rule

Work and Holiday Visa lets you work for one employer a maximum of 6 months. It is possible, however, to work for one employer for more than 6 months, if you meet one of these conditions :

  • Work in plant and animal cultivation anywhere in Australia.
  • Work in Northern Australia in Aged Care and Disability Services, Fishing and pearling, Tree farming and felling, Construction, Mining, or Tourism and Hospitality.
  • Work in different locations for the same employer and work in any one location does not exceed 6 months. For example two different branches in two different towns. 
  • Be part of bushfire recovery efforts in declared bushfire affected areas only.

If your occupation does not meet the criteria, but you still want to work longer for your employer, you can try and apply for permission.

Where to Look for Jobs in Hospitality and Tourism

It’s not always the job search engines and websites that help you the most when looking for a job in Australia. This is especially true for some of the backpacker jobs. Here we’re bringing you all the different places where you can find a job.

Job search engines

BackpackerJobBoard – a website made for backpackers. You can choose an area where you want to look for a job or you can choose a job classification. You can also, for example, choose only jobs that qualify for the visa extension. 

Gumtree – A server is well known for buying and selling, however, you’ll find everything there nowadays, including jobs. Sometimes, especially in the agriculture and hospitality industries, you’ll find jobs here, that aren’t on the big job websites. You can filter according to job classification and job areas. 

Indeed – a large search engine. Sometimes a little bit awkward. You can’t choose the job classification. 

Jobsearch – a government website that offers to filter according to the job classification. There’s also a special site focused only on agriculture jobs.

Jora – you can create a profile that matches jobs. A lot of hospitality ads on this website.

Seek – a very intuitive search engine. Can filter various work types, job classifications, and work areas. You can create a profile with your CV.


Facebook is a powerful media in all aspects and can be a very useful tool in the search for jobs. When you use the Facebook search box to type in the name of the city where you want to work and the word “jobs” it comes up with various positions in the city. You can also filter according to the job classification and so on.
There are also loads of various job groups that can sometimes have a very specific focus. 

Backpacker groups

There is a huge backpacker oriented group called Australia Backpackers 2019, which is of more general nature. Then there are two big job-oriented groups Backpacker Jobs Australia and Backpacker Jobs in Australia. Your country might have their own Work and Holiday Facebook group where people might post some job offers from time to time, too.

Hospitality jobs groups

You can find hospitality-oriented groups for a certain city, but also in a specific area of the hospitality industry. For example, Melbourne Hospitality JobsPerth Hospitality Employment and Business ServicesHospitality Network BrisbaneSydney Hospitality Job-Waiter/Cook/Chef/Bar Staff/Barista, or Barista jobs in Sydney.

Groups with jobs in a specific city

For example, Sydney JobsPerth Jobs or Melbourne Jobs.

Groups for the specified work for the second year visa

Those of you who want to apply for their second year visa have to get a job that counts toward the second year. There are Facebook groups with ads with this kind of specified work, however, don’t forget to check with the employer that it is actually what you’re looking for. 
Also, there’s a difference between the Work and Holiday jobs (subclass 462) and Working Holiday jobs (subclass 417).

Examples of these kinds of groups are: Backpackers 88 days and counting Australia and 2nd Year Visa Farm Work Australia.  


In the majority of cases, we found a job on our own, without the help of agencies. We don’t really have the firsthand experience of getting a job through these channels, however, the secondhand knowledge is not very positive. So we still think it’s better to find a job without any middlemen. There’s really no point going to agencies or contractors to look for work in agriculture or hospitality, as there are plenty of positions out there.

If you are an experienced hospitality worker, it may make sense for you to use one of the agencies or an app like Sidekicker in the big cities. On the other hand, if you’re good, you’ll find a job on your own very quickly.


Our personal opinion is that in most backpacker jobs you’ll be the most successful if you apply for a job in person. If you show up at a workplace in person it shows you are keen to work and not afraid of personal contact. Often you’ll get some sort of answer and feedback straightaway, and you’ll have a chance to meet the boss and the colleagues, and to see the workplace. 
This approach worked for us in both New Zealand and Australia in agriculture and hospitality.

We’re not saying that it’s always the best option to use the personal approach, but it works for most of the backpacker jobs in agriculture, hospitality, tourism, or shops. It usually doesn’t work well with big companies as they often only use website application, but you can always give it a shot.

When to Look for Jobs in Hospitality and Tourism in Australia

With some of the jobs, it doesn’t really matter when you’re looking as they’re not that season dependent. There are, however, certain rules for backpacker jobs. If you’re familiar with them you can be at the right place at the right time, thus getting a job quicker and easier. 

If you’re looking for a job in hospitality and tourism in a big city such as Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, or Perth the best time to look is during spring and before summer, which means late October till December. You’re probably not going to be affected by seasons that much and should be able to find a job most of the time, but it’s good to have some experience.  
You should definitely think about the seasonality of jobs when you’re looking for a job in tourist areas. Most of the workers are being hired before the season, be it snow season starting in June or summer season starting in October.

Other Jobs in Australia

If you’re looking for a job in agriculture, have a look here, for construction jobs, click here and for retail jobs, check out this post here.

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