The job market in Melbourne is notoriously competitive, especially for those without relevant work experience. Job hunting in Melbourne can be challenging due to the high quality of the applicant pool, the high population density, and the prevalence of outsourcing.
Does a person with no work history have any hope of getting hired in Melbourne? And what about when you can't suggest anything? In a word, yes.
As more and more startups establish themselves in Melbourne, the city appears to offer both more options for employment and more intense competition than may at first appear.
Connections are what make Melbourne such a successful metropolis. Though connections can help you land a new job, it's your talents that will ultimately determine your success in the workplace.
Because of this, we set out to investigate where and how one may get employment in Melbourne with little to no prior experience.
Melbourne is ranked as the world’s 99th most expensive city, according to Mercer’s 2020 Cost of Living Survey. Despite being less expensive than Sydney, it is more costly than Perth, Adelaide, Brisbane, and Canberra.
With the assumption of students with cheap to a moderate living style and shared house accommodation, the estimation of cost of living in Melbourne is as below.
Melbourne: from $AUD 634/week
- Accommodation: from 225/week
- Transport: from $AUD 38/week
- Food: from $AUD 159/week
- Personal: from $AUD 37/week
- Clothing: from $AUD 140/week
- Entertainment: from $AUD 35/week
It’s not that all types of employment are hard to come by in Melbourne. There are a lot of opportunities for part-time jobs in Melbourne and even full-time casual employment.
The career opportunities are hard to get. If you want to find a steady career in Melbourne, you’ll have to know people in the industry that you’d want to work in.
It’s so hard to get a good job because there are many skilled people on the market. For every job opening, you’ll have multiple people applying for it. This allows business owners to pick and choose the most skilled and make the employee work for less.
Finding a job in Melbourne can take a lot of time, especially if you have no experience in the field you’ve chosen. Sometimes it takes months, even years, to get a position that you’re interested in. A sure way to speed up that process is to apply to different recruitment agencies.
Of course, the best way to find a job is to go to an event in your niché and connect with employers and employees. Creating friendships can get you recommended, or an employer can invite you to an interview directly.
Keep in mind that these laws apply to Victoria state only! If you’re looking for a job outside of it, make sure you’re acquainted with the local laws.
- Between 11-13 years of age – In Melbourne, everyone ages 11 and above can legally work only delivery jobs. These would be the delivery of newspapers, pamphlets, etc.
- 13-14 years of age – At 13 and 14, teenagers are allowed to work in retail and hospitality (fast-food restaurants, café’s), but still not allowed to serve alcohol or do any work that isn’t considered “light work”.
- Fifteen years of age -Teenagers 15 years old or older, you can legally work any work in Melbourne, Victoria if you are qualified to do it, and it doesn’t break laws for minors (serving alcohol, driving vehicles).
How easy is it to find a job in Melbourne?
Emigrating to Melbourne, Australia, can be very exciting for the whole family. The laid-back Australian lifestyle, familiar language and culture, and large British ex-pat community make it easy to settle in from the outset.
There are a lot of considerations to make when planning the move, such as accommodation, education, childcare and transportation. Workers relocating on a foreign assignment, whether temporary or permanent, may already have some of these factors covered by their employer’s relocation package.
One of the biggest concerns with any long-distance relocation is how partners and children will adjust to life in Australia. Children generally find it easier and have more opportunities to socialise with other children through school, playgroups, nurseries and social activities. It can be harder for the partner, particularly if they are giving up a job in the UK, to relocate and have concerns about continuing their career Down Under.
If there is a definite relocation date fixed, it’s advisable to start looking for work in advance of the move, up to three months before – any potential employer is unlikely to wait longer than that to conduct interviews (though some are happy to offer video interviews for the right candidates) or offer a start date. Jobs in Melbourne can be competitive, with both nationals and ex-pats from around the world in the jobs market.
Joining relevant industry associations can also be a positive step forward. This helps with networking, even while still based in the UK, and getting to know the industry as it stands in Australia, as well as researching the best companies to approach.
It’s also worth researching whether relevant UK-gained qualifications and licences are still valid in Australia or whether further training or certification will be required before finding a role. In general, most British accreditations are transferable.
Partners and children are usually covered by the main working visa, so there is no requirement for a partner to have a job lined up in advance. Many families move first and allow time to settle in before exploring the local job market.
In some ways, this can be easier, as there is time to network, explore different working options, get used to a new daily routine and be able to attend interviews easily in person.
Recruitment agencies can be a useful way of finding work once relocated, as are advertisements in local newspapers. Having already moved to Australia with family, interested employers can be more confident in a candidate’s commitment to the country and be eligible to work, which can make it easier to land a job.
Certain skilled occupations are in demand in Australia. A current and up-to-date list is maintained on the Australian Government’s Department of Immigration and Border Protection Website.
Even if a visa is already sorted and proof of a particular skill is not required as a condition of entry to the country, this list is a good port of call for seeing what kinds of industries are worth considering when looking for a job.
Currently, the list includes nurses, medical positions, childcare managers, architects, engineers, teachers and special needs teachers, analysts, programmers and social workers, among others.
How to look for work in Melbourne
Finding a job is essential to the settling in process. Many jobs are not openly advertised, so your job searchers need to involve a variety of strategies, including networking.
Personal contacts and networking
Often jobs are not advertised, so networking is one of the most powerful strategies to find work in Australia. Some of the ways to access job opportunities that aren’t advertised include:
- making a list of local employers and companies, you would like to work with and contacting their human resources department to explore job opportunities
- asking your friends and professional contacts to let you know if they hear of any suitable jobs
- joining ‘service’ clubs in the community – such as Rotary, Lions and Apex
- getting in touch with local business associations such as traders groups and chambers of commerce
- joining relevant interest groups and local employer groups on LinkedIn, and joining in their online conversations
- We are participating in volunteer work.
Networking demonstrates your initiative and enthusiasm, as well as research and communication skills, which are highly valued in Australia. Successful networkers show an interest in the people they meet, ask relevant questions and, most importantly, listen and follow up on advice they have received.
Jobs advertised in newspapers
Most Australian newspapers list jobs. See the following newspapers for more information about their job advertisements:
- The Australian
- external link
- Herald Sun
- external link
- The Age
- external link
- The Weekly Times
- external link
Find the local newspaper from the area you’ll be living. These newspapers generally cover one or two suburbs, towns or communities (job listings vary from paper to paper). You can search for your local newspaper on the Online Newspapers website.
Online job websites
Many employers will advertise on job seeker websites. New job advertisements are published daily. You can set up a personal account (which is generally free) so that suitable jobs can be emailed directly to you.
Some of these job websites include useful information to help you search, such as resume writing, presentations and preparing for interviews.
Many organisations advertise job opportunities on their websites, so it’s a good idea to check the websites of companies that interest you regularly.
Professional and trade associations
Professional and trade associations represent the interests of their members. They provide networking opportunities, business advice and support, training and education and advocacy on behalf of the industry or profession they represent.
Being a member of a professional organisation is useful, especially when you’re looking for jobs. Also, specific trade and industry publications advertise jobs that may not be in the newspapers or on general job seeker websites.
Recruitment agencies advertise specific positions in newspapers and on jobseeker websites on behalf of employers. If you notice that one recruiter is advertising some positions in your area of expertise, you may want to contact them to discuss your career plans and register your interest in upcoming opportunities.
Voluntary work and work experience
Voluntary work and work experience can include paid or unpaid work in the public or private sectors.
This work provides an insight into the Australian workforce and valuable work experience to help you apply for jobs and develop your skills. Voluntary work and work experience can also lead to gathering Australian referees, which will help with your job search.
Ways to find suitable voluntary work or work experience include:
- directly approaching employers
- letting family and friends know you’re looking for voluntary and work experience roles
- searching online for internships and volunteering opportunities.
Approach work experience in the same way you would any job search or networking activity by researching and preparing what you’re going to ask before contacting the employer. Ensure you have an updated professional resume ready.
For more information about volunteering and internships, visit:
- SEEK Volunteer
- Victoria’s Volunteering Portal
- Volunteer Match
- Volunteering Victoria
Most Required Jobs
In 2019, the Australian Department of Employment gave a five-year prediction for popular employment sectors. The areas expected to expand the most are listed below.
- Professional, Scientific, and Technical Services: the sector with the biggest potential growth in Melbourne is looking for workers, including solicitors, data analysts, and software developers.
- Healthcare and Social Assistance: this in-demand sector has grown each month since February 2013. Required jobs include aged care workers and registered nurses.
- Construction: project managers, supervisors, and other skilled construction workers will need large government projects, including the Melbourne Metro Tunnel and West Gate Tunnel.
Skills in Demand
Due to the expansion of online industries, businesses in Melbourne are in need of a wide range of expertise. Expertise in online marketing and artificial intelligence (AI) will be in high demand, and employees who can adapt to new situations and pursue professional growth will also be in high demand.
The requirements for a work visa typically include proof that you possess the necessary abilities for your new position.
Getting a job in Melbourne's competitive employment market is more of a concern for many expats than their current pay.
If you want to get hired in this city, you'll need to have a certain set of talents and follow some guidelines.
- Language Skills: English is the official and business language of Australia. You will usually need to speak, read, and write in English to get a job here.
- Right to Work: You need a skilled visa to work professionally in Melbourne. For more information, see our Visas and Work Permits Australia guide.
- Online Job Search: Searching online is important to find jobs. This includes global sites, such as Indeed and LinkedIn, as well as Australian portals like SEEK.
- Offline Job Search: Searching offline for jobs is also encouraged. Newspapers, networking events, and even speculative in-person applications to companies are means of finding work in the city.
Targeted Job Applications
Job seekers in Melbourne who send out well-targeted applications have a better chance of being hired. Included in this is making sure that your "Curriculum Vitae" (a.k.a. "CV," a sort of resume) is unique to the organisation you're applying to and the requirements of the position. Do your homework about the organisation you're applying to and be ready to demonstrate why you'd be a good fit for the job. If you're looking for additional resume advice, check out our Australian job guide.
Networking and Personal Contacts
Taking the time to network and create personal contacts, online and in person, is important to make sure you are aware of job openings as they become available. If you are in a specific profession, you should find the appropriate professional body in Melbourne.
These groups organise networking events, which are key to accessing the “hidden job market.”
If you are using a recruiter, it is recommended that you try to get to know them and talk to them regularly about the opportunities open to you.
It is still common in Australia to apply for jobs in person. To do so, you should print out a resume and tailored cover letter, place them in an envelope addressed to the appropriate hiring manager of the company, and personally deliver it to the company reception.
This may move your resume to the “top of the pile” as employers realise that you are very interested in the role. It may also help you to access jobs that are not yet advertised online.
As with most of the world, the average salary in Melbourne varies across different sectors. It is important to remember that the cost of living in Australian cities is relatively high. It would help if you considered your potential living costs about earning power before you move.
In Australia, the average worker earns around 86,250 AUD (56,000 USD), with men earning 242.50 AUD (157 USD) more per week than women. This average is matched in Victoria, where workers usually earn a wage of over 1,600 AUD (1,040 USD) per week.
To help you understand what is considered a good salary for different jobs in Melbourne, we have listed some common roles alongside their average yearly salary below.
- Teacher - 78,000 AUD (50,500 USD)
- Doctor (General Practitioner) - 121,000 AUD (78,400 USD)
- Chartered Accountant - 109,000 AUD (70,600 USD)
- Data Analyst - 90,000 AUD (58,300 USD)
- Senior Project Manager - 130,000 AUD (84,300 USD)
In comparison, the national minimum wage in Australia is set at 19.49 AUD (12.65 USD) per hour. This equates to around 740 AUD (480 USD) earned (before tax) per each standard 38-hour working week, or around 38,520 AUD (25,000 USD) per year.
Boost Your Chances of Getting a Job
As with everything in life, putting more time and work into looking for employment can be done better.
How do you increase your chances of scoring an interview? Well, here are some little details that go a long way if done right.
Write a Good CV
Don't undervalue your curriculum vitae, which serves as your calling card. The resume is the first impression you make on a potential employer and sometimes the only contact you have with them before you ever speak with them.
If your resume is strong enough, you might get a call for an interview. Choose a nice photo of you, make sure you proofread it ten times and plan everything before crafting your CV.
Keep your phone number and email address up-to-date and accurate.
Create a LinkedIn Account
By now, you should’ve made an account on LinkedIn. Think of it as Facebook for work. You can list your skills, and we suggest you contact previous employers if they would be interested in giving feedback about you and your skills.
Make sure you keep the account up to date and that you choose the same or similar photo as the one on your CV. That way, any possible employers will be able to find you easier. We suggest you include the link to your profile on your CV.
Keep in mind that without endorsement, the skills you add mean almost (or absolutely) nothing. You can create a good LinkedIn account just by following their lead.
Take Direct Approach
Making contact with the employer first shows that you are interested and proactive in finding a job. There are right and wrong ways to approach a company that is not hiring. Proactivity is a valuable asset, and it can play a huge role when the employer is deciding if they should hire you.
Most companies have an HR department, and small companies often have the number of owners listed on their website. How you decide to make the first contact is up to you.
Most companies have a referral programme. Even if it doesn’t, having someone who works in an organisation that you’ve applied for can influence the employer's choice.
Think of friends or family that work in a place where you are interested in working for yourself and ask them if they can recommend you!
Get Certificates and Licenses
While finding satisfying work in Melbourne's service sector, it's important to remember that some jobs require certification.
A Certificate III in Urban Pest Management, for instance, is required for employment in the field of pest management. Professionals are in highest demand, and expanding industries like pest treatment and handyman services have generated revenues of roughly $1 billion in the past year.
Earning a credential can open doors to better employment opportunities, higher salaries, and even the launch of your own successful venture.
One approach is to form a partnership with an existing franchise. Then they'll assist you with things like job hunting, customer contact, bookkeeping, and administrative tasks. And you get all this while running your own business!