Guide to getting a working holiday job in Australia

We were always told it was rude to talk about money. And salaries. And age.

Well, we’re going to talk about all three of those things. Because you try moving halfway around the world to Australia – armed with just a working holiday visa and a bucketload of Irish charm, with no idea where your next schooner is coming from. Or come to mention it, no idea what a schooner is. (It’s a 425ml beer in all Aussie states, other than South Australia, where it’s 285ml). See! Australia is already confusing, and we’ve not even got past the tiny beers yet.

This article is here to help. With advice on what you can earn, what jobs you can do, and how you can find one – either before you go or when you arrive.

How long you can work for

For Irish passport holders, the accessibility to working holiday visas and the earning potential is great. You can get a working holiday visa up until the age of 35 – five years longer than most nationalities. And you can work for up to 12 months – with the option of applying for a second working holiday visa if you do three months of work in regional Australia during your first visa.

This doesn’t have to mean fruit picking or farming (although it’s a great way to save money and meet people), it could mean doing casual work in hospitality, tourism, labouring and more – only in government specified areas outside the cities. Which could spell a stint living on vineyards, in national parks or in the Outback. Offices-don’t-need-walls bonus.


What you can earn

Even though the living costs in Australia are slightly higher than in Ireland (especially in the bigger cities such as Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane), the minimum wage is also higher – currently AUD $20.33 an hour (approx. €13.30)*. Although in reality and depending on the role, many jobs will pay more than this.

Plus, due to the lack of immigration into Australia during the pandemic, there’s a labour shortage in many sectors. With openings for casual work in ‘typical’ working holiday jobs including hospitality, tourism, agriculture, labouring, sales and more; as well as for travellers looking to do more professional or career-focused work – working in the skilled trades, construction, IT, the food industry, nursing and midwifery. To name a few.

The cost of moving

So, where’s the problem? Just figure it out when you get there, right?

The downside to not having a job plan before you go is this.

1.  After over two years of job insecurity at home and not being able to travel abroad, our travellers are no longer willing to just rock up with a guitar and a few Jack Johnson chords and ‘see what happens’. And we don’t blame them. As much as we’re overjoyed that the world has opened back up, moving abroad can be an anxious time and we require more security than we used to. Plus, Jack Johnson is just a bit… meh.

2. While the earning and career potential is great for Irish working holidaymakers, there are upfront costs you’ll need to frontload when you arrive. Such as proof of support funds when you enter Australia (currently AUD $5000), and at least one month’s rent plus a deposit when you find a flat/house share (rent in a shared house varies, but could be up to AUD $1600/€1050* a month in the major cities – less in regional Australia).

And that’s not even factoring in other ‘miscellaneous moving’ costs. Such as discovering new bars, pubs and restaurants when you arrive. While all legitimately part of the ‘cultural acclimatisation’ part of your working holiday experience, it can get expensive. At least until you figure out the local happy hours, anyway.

All of this could mean that if you don’t have a job lined up, you’ll be burning through your Euros faster than a Tasmanian Devil. And before you know it, you’re on a flight back to Dublin with your tail between your legs and a bag of excuses. “It was too hot”, “the pubs were rubbish”, “there were too many beaches”. Yeah, good luck getting anyone in Ireland to believe that you came home for the weather.

So, to avoid working holiday humiliation at the hands of your friends and family, the answer is simple. Get a job lined up.


 How to find a job before you go

If you want the reassurance of knowing you have a job before you arrive where you can start earning pretty much straightaway, then check out our free virtual Australia job fair on the 25-29 July 2022.

Connecting you with tried-and-trusted employers who are used to taking on backpackers for casual work, we have 500+ pre-vetted jobs across Australia to fill. Most jobs are in hospitality, with roles including chefs, servers, front of house, groundskeepers and more. Think working on the boho sands of Bryon Bay or in the cultural heart of the Red Centre – where you can earn good money and see more of Australia outside the cities for a few months.

Wages go up to AUD $40 an hour (approx. €26)*, and some roles will qualify you for a second visa. All you need to do is sign up, upload your CV, apply online, and interview via video between the 25-29 July. Job done. But hurry, openings are on a first come first served basis.


 How to find a job when you arrive

If you’d rather leave sorting a job until you land, then our USIT Work Australia  packages will get you set up with everything you need when you arrive – including 1-on-1 job support, 12 months’ access to our employment database, an Australia bank account, SIM card, tax file number and either three or six nights’ hostel accommodation. Plus, trips and nights out to meet other travellers/future flatmates. All work and no play, etc.


So, to figure out the Australia working holiday that works for you, just jump online or call the team  today. See you sunny side up, Down Under!


Some important stuff
* Currency conversion correct as of 30 Jun 2022. AUD-EUR 0.66

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