How easy is it to work in Australia?

According to the International Monetary Fund, they put Australia as the 12th largest economy by GDP in the world. I mean this place is a huge economy and much like Canada, dependent on trades (tradies), tourism, and resources. Despite the large economy and endless jobs that are appearing daily on the Australian job websites (See travel tips), we have found this place is incredibly hard to get a job.

Daily we have seen jobs in trades, for experienced carpenters, labourers, electricians, welders, etc. These guys make huge money in Australia due to the amount of money in the real estate sector here. The costs of houses are truly expensive (as we saw from our time in Woy Woy) where people here will not even blink at a house costing $500,000. This is due to the regulations that restrict home owners from doing things like their own electrical work, therefore, everything has to be done by a certified electrician and signed off at an expensive price. However, if you would like to work in this industry you must get a White Card (which can be found at ( This White Card is needed for every labour job and trades job in Australia.

More jobs in the cities have included barista or coffee shop jobs, retail, tourism, fundraising, etc. These jobs, despite knowing how easy these jobs can be, actually require a lot more than meets the eye. Many of the work we have seen in these sectors require some sort of experience, especially Barista jobs, where more require at least 1-2 years minimum before they will even look at your resume. Fundraising is also a possibility that many foreigners and visitors choose to go for because they don’t require as much prior experience, but usually require a very good level of English and the willingness to walk door to door for commission. Retail, well… it’s retail. They still require you to have experience, yes, even for the entry level jobs.

So why has it been so hard for us to get jobs? Well, we have been wondering that ourselves. First of all, we came in mid February, which is the end of the summer season. Unfortunately, not really thinking about it, but the summer for most places around the world tends to be the busy season. Therefore, we kind of missed it. When asking for work at clothing stores in the mall and retail shops they simply told us that not many people are hiring at this time. Also, how many people are willing to train staff for only six months of work (as required by our visas). Moreover, we have seen some things that seem just impossible to deal with here.

For example, Kaisa found a barista job that said they are willing to train someone for a position and they want the position to start ASAP. However, later on in the same description, they said that 2 years of experience is required for the position. Needless to say, Kaisa didn’t get the job, even though they were willing to train.

My second example is from when I called a guy for a part-time job selling fruits and vegetables at one of the local market. First, he wanted to know a few questions before we went further. He asked how long I was going to be here in Australia? I told him one year. He then went on to explain that he was looking for someone long-term because he needed to train the person. Train the person on selling fruits and vegetables? Okay, whatever, I didn’t take offense.
His second question was, “have you had experience selling fruits and vegetables before?” I paused. I mean, did this guy see my resume already? I have done some sales experience, including, cold-calling and economic development. Yes, I know, just because you have a degree doesn’t mean you know everything, can sell, or even talk to people. I mean, just months ago I wrote a 120-page report and I am currently in the process of publishing a chapter in a book on the subject food security….

How hard can it be to get a job in Australia?

We have found that, if you have experience in trades, retail, and coffee shops, you’ll be fine in Australia.

If you have more professional experience and want to add some more to your resume while travelling in Australia, it can be much harder. For example, getting into local councils’, non-profit groups, etc.

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