March 4, 2013 -- Want to get paid $100,000 to take a "working holiday" Down Under? Then does Australia ever have a deal for you!
Tourism Australia today announced a competition called "Best Jobs In The World," in which six winners will each get a six-month job. The positions range from park ranger to lifestyle photographer, wildlife caretaker to Outback adventurer. Each job comes with a salary package worth $100,000 Australian ($101,000 USD) including living costs.
The campaign targets travelers aged 18 and 30, but anyone of any age and from any country can apply, either through Facebook or a dedicated Best Jobs website. The application deadline is April 9, 2013 in the U.S. (April 10 in Australia). Winners will be announced in mid-June, and all six jobs start August 1.
Jane Whitehead, vice president for the Americas of Tourism Australia, tells ABC News the jobs are meant to appeal to youth travelers' sense of fun and adventure and to young job-seekers looking to add international work experience to their resumes, as a way to enhance career prospects back home.
Youth tourism, Whitehead says, already accounts for 26 percent of all international arrivals in Australia, under the country's existing "working holiday" visa program. People eligible for the visa can stay 12 months in Australia, provided they work for six months or less. Though such workers last year contributed $2.5 billion (Australian) to her nation's economy, Whitehead thinks the future contribution could be far higher.
She cites studies done by America Wave, a company that surveys Americans on their willingness to relocate overseas. Its most recent survey finds that between 2007 and 2011 the number of Americans aged 18 to 24 who want to move overseas shot from 12 percent to 40 percent.
Young Americans' interest in working in Australia Whitehead attributes in part to the strength of the nation's economy: Provided a job seeker can obtain the necessary visas, he or she may find it easier to find a temporary job as a waiter or a laborer in Australia than in the U.S. Australia right now is looking to fill 36,000 international employment positions in a variety of industries, says Whitehead.
A former Australian Tourism Commission member acknowledges not all of those are what a young traveler might consider a dream job. Don Morris was quoted in a Cairns Post story about the working holiday program as saying that young foreigners are being recruited "to do the 1001 jobs that young Aussies don't want to do." Without South Korean students to pick bananas, he said, "there'd be no fruit in the bowl at home."
The paper reports that Britain, South Korea, Ireland, France and Germany top the list of countries whose young apply for working holiday visas.
Of the six "Best Jobs" created by the new competition, the most enjoyable may be "Chief Funster" for state of New South Wales. Reads the description: "You will assist to promote events all over the state including food festivals, lifestyle, sports, cultural, entertainment and arts events. Work behind the scenes of Sydney Festival, Mardi Gras and Vivid Festival, all leading up to the spectacular New Years' Eve fireworks on Sydney Harbour."
Another of the six jobs—"Taste Master" for Western Australia—requires someone willing to sample and help promote that state's fresh produce, gourmet cuisine, world-class vineyards and quality micro-breweries and lobster-eateries.
Australia is not alone in offering a working holiday visa program. Travel experts say similar programs exist in at least 34 other nations—though not in the U.S. Because the U.S. does not participate, most countries that have programs exclude Americans. Exceptions include Australia.