If you're in Australia and want a job on the farm, finding one is easy if you know where to search. When you don't know how to do your search, you risk working for long hours under extreme conditions for little pay. But things don't have to go that way. Whether you're looking for a general farm job or a specific job like fruit picking, here are some useful tips to help you find a farming job in Australia:
1. Begin Your Search Early
Some farms in Australia only hire workers during specific seasons or have a waiting list. To find a farming job in Australia, it's advisable that you start looking for one as early as you can. Doing this allows you the space and freedom to pick the job you want. Better still, if you pick a job that you later feel isn't good for you, you can quit and still have sufficient time to continue your search elsewhere.
Beginning your search early also gives you the flexibility to wait until a perfect job in the place you want becomes available. If you're a specialist, consider starting your agricultural recruitment search by visiting relevant government sites. You may also check local information hubs, notice boards located at hostels, job search sites, and social media pages dedicated to farming jobs.
To ensure that you find genuine jobs that are right for you, talk to your friends who know farmers or have family or friends who do farming. Also, ask other people who work farm jobs for recommendations on where to find good farm jobs.
2. Get Details Before Accepting a Farm Job
If you get a job offer, don't be quick to accept it. Instead, organize to have a phone call with the contact to ask for details about the job. Some important details that you need to ask during the call include the work hours, the strength required to get the work done, the salary amount, and whether they pay is per bucket or hourly.
Further, request for information about meals and accommodation. You need to confirm whether the salary includes your meal and rent cost and whether that amount will be deducted from your pay. If accommodation will be provided at the farm, get information on the number of people who'll be accommodated in each room. Also, ask about bathroom and kitchen sharing ratio as well as the cleaning schedules. After the call, ask for a work contract so you have time to review it before you report to work.
Also, consider requesting an opportunity to talk to other farmworkers to get a good idea of the job you're about to take.
3. Get Experience in the Desired Job
Experience is important in every job; farm work isn't an exception. Having experience in driving tractors, picking fruits, or working with animals will make you more competitive in the hiring process and even get you a better position. If you've not worked on a farm before, consider volunteering in reputable farms. This will not only enable you to get work experience, it'll give you content to put together a food resume even before you start submitting applications.
4. Avoid Labor Hire and Working Hostel Contractors
As you search for a farm job, consider engaging employers directly and not through labor hire and working hostel contractors, even if you come across legit ones. Labor hire and working hostel contractors are third parties who make money by deducting service fees and rent from farmworkers who get hired through them.
To avoid having your salary deducted, try as much as possible to get a job with employers directly. Working with employers directly has many benefits. For instance, it enhances your chances of negotiating for better working conditions. Unlike third-party contractors, dealing directly with employers makes them responsible for taking care of any issues you might encounter during work hours.
5. Know Farm Work Seasons in States
In Australia, each state has high and low farm work seasons. When searching for a farming job, you need to know when the state you're in or are interested in experiences high seasons of farm work. The seasons vary depending on the kind of produce.
During high farm work seasons, most farmers experience challenges getting adequate workers who are skilled in handling their produce to complete farm work within the required timeframe. To find the right farm job in Australia, focus on timing the right season. When you get this right, you'll have an upper hand in negotiating for better pay and working conditions.
6. Ditch Bucket Pay for Hourly Rate
Although bucket pay proposals may sound great, they are often based on one-off records that require working long straight hours. The term bucket is often used to describe huge baskets that take hours to fill. This can push you into working under harsh conditions, particularly when weather conditions are unfavorable due to high humidity and temperatures. To ensure that you're not exposed to such challenges, opt for hourly rates. This way, your earnings will be more consistent and you'll have a good base to build your savings.
Finding a farming job in Australia is possible and easy. However, you need to know how, where, and when to search for one. Before you start your job search, ensure that you know the work rights and minimum wages that apply to the farm job you're seeking. Being aware of such rights allows you to negotiate for better terms and keeps you from being exploited by third parties and employers.