When searching for jobs, the potential salary is often one of the most important factors in the decision-making process. Salaries vary based on the particular job or industry you work in, and specific factors like qualifications, geographic location and experience may affect earnings. Learning about the lower-paying jobs available may help you understand your career options. In this article, we discuss some of the lowest-paid jobs in Australia and provide information about how much they typically pay and what the duties are for each job.
20 lowest-paid jobs in Australia
Here are some of the lowest-paid jobs in Australia:
National average salary: $18.68 per hour
Primary duties: A checkout operator, or an office cashier, may work in shops to operate cash registers. They process payments to complete transactions, meaning they may either receive money from a customer or give money back to a customer to issue a refund. Checkout operators may also scan, weigh and record the prices of goods and prepare deposits.
National average salary: $23.79 per hour
Primary duties: A pharmacy sales assistant works in a retail pharmacy and sells toiletries, pharmaceutical goods and related items. They accept prescriptions for retail pharmacists to fill and may advise customers about medications. Pharmacy sales assistants also process payments, promote their store's goods and services and assist with managing inventory and constructing displays.
National average salary: $23.83 per hour
Primary duties: A dishwasher, or a kitchen steward, cleans dishes, cookware and utensils used in kitchens and restaurants. They may work in restaurants, cafes or other facilities such as hospitals. Dishwashers may also assist with cleaning kitchens or food preparation areas.
National average salary: $24.96 per hour
Primary duties: A laundry worker sorts, cleans, folds, irons and packages clothing, linens and other items. They may work in laundries, dry cleaning shops or private residences. It's important for laundry workers to understand how to sort different items properly based on the cleaning treatment required, colour, fabric and type of item and which stain removers and cleaning agents to use.
National average salary: $26.01 per hour
Primary duties: A fast-food cook, or a short-order cook, prepares a specific range of foods at fast-food restaurants, such as fish and chips, hamburgers and pizzas. They operate various types of cooking equipment, such as fryers, grills and microwaves, and they may wash, cut, measure and mix ingredients for cooking. At some restaurants, fast-food cooks also assist with taking customer orders, processing payments and serving food.
National average salary: $26.17 per hour
Primary duties: A waiter serves food and beverages in clubs, hotels, restaurants and other dining establishments. They greet customers, recommend food items, communicate orders with bar and kitchen staff, serve food to patrons and process payments. Waiters may also assist with clearing, cleaning, arranging and setting tables.
National average salary: $26.58 per hour
Primary duties: A factory worker may assist in manufacturing various goods. They work in different factory types, such as food and drink, canvas and leather goods, chemical, footwear, glass processing or fabric and textile. Factory workers typically complete routine tasks to create items for their specific industry, and it's important for them to follow specific safety guidelines.
National average salary: $26.67 per hour
Primary duties: A retail assistant, or a sales assistant, works in retail and wholesale establishments to sell goods and services like clothing, cosmetics, food, hardware, household appliances and office supplies. They may speak with customers to determine their needs and help them find products. Retail assistants also process transactions and assist with restocking shelves.
National average salary: $26.80 per hour
Primary duties: An outdoor adventure guide instructs and directs individuals or groups through outdoor activities, such as bungee jumping, fishing, hunting, mountaineering, trekking or whitewater rafting. They may review safety guidelines and instruct people on how to use equipment. Outdoor adventure guides respond to emergency situations and often prepare reports about their daily activities.
10. Pick and packer
National average salary: $27.27 per hour.
Primary duties: A pick and packer, or a pick packer, assists with order fulfilment in a warehouse or retail setting that requires inventory management. They pick items from shelves, inspect them and prepare them for shipping. Pick and packers may also complete and process paperwork for inventory and shipping purposes.
National average salary: $27.85 per hour
Primary duties: A housekeeper cleans a variety of facilities, such as commercial properties, hotels, motels or private residences. Their duties may vary based on their employer, but they often clean floors, dust fixtures, collect and empty trash, maintain kitchens, change the sheets on beds, do laundry and prepare meals. Some housekeepers may also assist with caring for pets and plants, shopping for groceries or answering the door.
12. Restaurant host
National average salary: $28.60 per hour
Primary duties: A restaurant host greets all customers of dining establishments. They're responsible for evenly distributing guests to different waiters' sections, showing customers to their tables and providing them with menus. Restaurant hosts may also assist with processing payments, serving to-go orders and answering the phone.
13. Childcare worker
National average salary: $29.10 per hour
Primary duties: A childcare worker supervises and cares for children in childcare centres or residential homes. They prepare and supervise activities for children and entertain them through reading, playing games or other age-appropriate activities. Childcare workers are responsible for ensuring the safety of children and monitoring their behaviour and hygiene for any concerning changes.
14. Beauty therapist
National average salary: $30.02 per hour
Primary duties: A beauty therapist provides body and skincare treatments to clients. They meet with clients to discuss their needs, recommend skincare treatments and makeup services, and perform a variety of services, such as cosmetic makeup, manicures, pedicures, massages and facial therapies. Beauty therapists may assist with bookings, maintaining client records, selling products and processing transactions.
15. Sewing machinist
National average salary: $30.38 per hour
Primary duties: A sewing machinist sews and finishes garments and soft furnishings by operating industrial sewing machines. They're responsible for threading machines, operating controls, changing needles and modifying machine attachments as needed. Sewing machinists inspect products for imperfections, trim extra materials or threads and attach tickets or labels.
National average salary: $31.06 per hour
Primary duties: A food trades assistant works with food trade workers to perform food preparation, cleaning and storage tasks. They gather ingredients and cookware, measure and weigh ingredients and prepare ingredients by washing, cutting, dicing, grinding, peeling and slicing them. Food trades assistants clean up work areas, wash dishes and utensils, ensure the proper storage of items and monitor food supply inventory.
National average salary: $53,069 per year
Primary duties: A receptionist typically works in an office or for a business and is the first person people encounter. They greet and assist clients and customers, answer the phone and receive, sort and distribute mail. Receptionists may also have some administrative duties, such as assisting with scheduling, arranging travel plans and setting up meeting rooms.
National average salary: $56,037 per year
Primary duties: A hairdresser, or a hair stylist, provides a variety of hair care services to their clients. They colour, cut, straighten and style hair, and they may advise clients regarding how to care for their hair and scalp. Some hairdressers may offer additional or speciality services, such as styling wigs and hairpieces, maintaining beards and moustaches, adding hair extensions or styling hair into braids or dreadlocks.
National average salary: $59,113 per year
Primary duties: An administrative assistant handles several office management tasks. They may enter data, order supplies, answer calls, record minutes at meetings, schedule meetings and arrange travel. Administrative assistants may work with a specific individual or they may serve an entire organisation.
20. Veterinary nurse
National average salary: $59,916 per year
Primary duties: A veterinary nurse assists veterinarians when they perform operations and procedures. They may also care for animals receiving treatment or staying at a temporary residence in veterinary facilities. A veterinary nurse may hold animals, administer medications, clean treatment areas, place animals in cages, perform diagnostic tests, maintain stock and records or manage appointments.
Salary figures reflect data listed on Indeed Salaries at time of writing. Salaries may vary depending on the hiring organisation and a candidate's experience, academic background and location.