Part-Time Student Jobs in Australia
Part-time or casual work is something that almost all students will undertake at some point in their university career. Not only does it help pay the bills, and start savings for the future, but it provides students with valuable experience that will look good on their resumes, and teaches skills that will be valuable for future life and work with employers.
What kinds of part-time jobs are there?
There are many different kinds of part-time jobs available to university students. The most common categories are listed below:
Within each of these categories are a variety of overlapping jobs that may be available to students. For example, in the retail category a worker may be both a salesperson and a customer service representative. This will depend on the size of the organisation – smaller businesses demand more flexibility from their workers – for example a corner coffee shop may require the barista to help as one of the wait-staff during busy periods, whereas a larger chain store is more likely to have specialised workers for each role.
What kinds of organisations offer part-time jobs?
There is a constant demand for part-time or casual workers in the Australian economy, both from small businesses and large organisations. This is especially true in the hospitality and retail industries – corporate giants like Woolworths, McDonalds, Starbucks and Bunnings as well as local boutique stores, family grocers and cafes all require part-time staff. Administration and data entry has the largest potential market – including non-profit, services and the public sector as well as private enterprise. For the call centre and marketing categories the employers tend to be large companies, like Telstra.
What skills do I need to get a part-time job?
The kinds of jobs advertised as part-time usually do not require specialised professional skills, certain specialised jobs may require marketing, accounting, IT or other experience. More general skills, applicable across multiple sectors include:
- Interpersonal and communication skills
- Time management
- The ability to perform under pressure
- The ability to get on well with others
How much will I be paid?
Payment for part-time work will vary depending on the industry, size of organisation and responsibilities involved. The minimum wage is $16.87 per hour. Casual work will offer higher rates, usually starting from around $18-22 per hour.
How can I find part-time work?
Despite the prevalence of part-time work in the economy, it can seem difficult to find job opportunities. One of the main reasons for this is that a lot of part-time or casual work is required by organisations (such as small businesses) on an ad-hoc basis, meaning they don’t advertise on the web or in print publications like the “classified” section of the local paper. Instead, the organisation may put up a “staff wanted” sign in their window, or not advertise at all. The solution in this case is to approach a variety of small businesses in your neighbourhood (such as shops or coffee shops) and express your interest in a part-time job. At this point they may not need your services, but will usually be impressed with your initiative. If you submit your resume to them, they will keep you in mind next time a staff position opens up. Approaching small businesses directly this way makes their job much easier, as often they have little time or money to spend on recruitment efforts, and so will be more likely to look at your application with favour. The direct approach is the best way to find part-time jobs in the SME sector, but it is also worth trying for larger organisations that don’t advertise part-time work.
Larger organisations may have a structured employment application process. Examples include food retailers like KFC, Domino’s Pizza and Baker’s Delight – all of which have online application processes. An aspiring student submits their resume for a position in one of the local franchises. Sometimes you will be able to do this even if no positions are currently available (in which case the organisation will keep the application on hold for the next available job). Other times you will have to keep checking back to see when the applications open.
The last method of part-time job searching is checking job websites and print classifieds for part-time positions. While some fantastic jobs (potentially higher-paid ones) may be found this way, these opportunities represent only a proportion of the massive job market out there. This is because unlike graduate or full-time work, most part-time employers don’t pay much to advertise their part-time jobs (especially if they can get the job filled without advertising). In addition, some of the “jobs” found online are scams too, offering “experience” for work that really should be paid. Because many students believe that scouring online for work opportunities is the best way to find a part-time job, those jobs that are advertised will also have many more people competing with them than the average unadvertised local job. In conclusion, searching print and online is but one method that a determined job-seeker should employ.
International students and part-time work in Australia
Finding a job while on a student visa can be a challenge, as there are more limited opportunities (and work hours) available to international students. During term time, international students may not work more than 40 hours per fortnight, however during holiday period there are no restrictions on hours worked. It is recommended that international students target small businesses for jobs, as they do not require permanent residency visas or citizenship (as some larger businesses do, in the areas of administration or marketing for example).