Employment Agencies Australia

Private employment agencies are big business and prevalent in all major cities and towns in Oz. More than 85,000 people annually are employed by these agencies, and over two-thirds of them are engaged in casual work. Large companies are eager to engage agents and consultants to recruit employees, mainly executives, managers, professionals and temporary staff.

The four main types of agencies in Oz are: personnel consultants, employment agencies, labour hire contractors, and student employment services. Personnel consultants, also known as headhunters, handle most of the executive, managerial and professional positions, however, there is some overlap with “general” employment agencies. The largest number of agencies comes under the generic term “employment agencies.” Some specialize in particular fields or industries: accounting: agriculture; au pairs and nannies; banking; caterers: computing; engineering and technical; hospitality; industrial and manual work; legal; medical and nursing; mining; outback jobs; sales; secretarial; resort work; and tourism.

Some agencies deal exclusively with temporary workers in a variety of occupations, including office staff, baby-sitting, housekeeping, cooks, gardeners, chauffeurs, hairdressing, security, cleaners, labourers and industrial workers. Nursing, nanny and care agencies are common and usually cover the whole range of nursing services. Many agencies handle both permanent and temporary positions.

Labour hire contractors handle jobs for skilled, semi-skilled and unskilled manual workers. These contractors tend to be located in industrial areas rather than the main streets of major cities.
A plethora of employment agencies in Oz operate nationally with offices in all major cities, while others operate only in one or two cities. Check the yellow pages for local offices offering employment. If you are traveling around Oz and plan to work in a number of major cities, you may find it advantageous to work for a national agency with offices nationwide.

Agencies are paid by their clients, so they are usually prohibited from charging a fee to job applicants. In some states, however, they may charge a registration fee.

Check first with the agency regarding any fees. For permanent staff, the fee paid by the employer is a percentage of the annual salary or a percentage of the hourly rate. If you take a temporary job through an agency, you will be paid by the agency, usually weekly or fortnightly, which may include paid public and annual holidays after a qualifying period. Always obtain a contract and ensure that you know exactly how much you will be paid and when, and the conditions regarding the termination of a job.

Agencies must deduct income tax from gross pay. You must provide a tax file number to the agency with a few weeks of starting work; otherwise taxes will be deducted at the highest marginal tax rate.
Salaries vary considerably according to the type of job. Most secretarial jobs pay between $12 and $18 per hour or $325 to $475 per week net (after taxes). You usually receive extra pay (loading) for weekend and night work. There are allowances (called tropical loading or remote area allowances) for jobs in remote areas of the Northern Territory and Western Oz (above the Tropic of Capricorn).

Dress appropriately for the type of job for which you are seeking. Take along your passport or visa if applicable, tax file number (TEN), nirriculup, and curricula vitae (CV). Be prepared to provide references and your bank information in order to receive your work payments. If applying as “ Office staff,” typing or literacy tests may be administered. Some agencies have in-house training programs for secretarial staff. You should register with a number of agencies to maximize your chances of getting work.

Keep in close contact and try to provide a telephone number where you can be contacted, otherwise call each day for a status. Employment agencies earn a great deal of money from finding people jobs so, provided you have something to offer their clients, they will be keen to help you. For example, if you are an experienced accountant, nurse or secretary, you may get trampled in the rush. However, if they cannot help, you will be advised immediately and will not waste your time.

Employment agencies are increasingly using the Internet to advertise job vacancies, which speeds up the response and processing of job applications. Many Australian agencies employing temporary staff advertise overseas in publications targeted at those with working holidaymaker visas.