It’s full steam ahead as jobs for Baristas boom

Posted: 2nd Dec

Mikey McArthur is not at all surprised he is in one of the top 10 fastest-growing professions in the nation. As a barista, his daily grind involves grinding, daily.

“The social aspect overall, I think,” he said. “That's one of the biggest things. You get to meet people who you wouldn’t normally meet — some as young as 17, to 80, anyone who drinks coffee.”

The 19-year-old and his co-worker Jess James from Porch and Parlour, a beachside cafe in North Bondi, are among Australia’s rapidly growing “barista army” of 37,242 people, according to census data.

“I compare it to wine in the sense that there’s so many areas coffee grows, so many textures and flavours,” Mr McArthur said.

“It’s not an office job that’s familiar where you don’t have much change. Change is really good.”

Demographer Bernard Salt says in today’s The Weekend Australian that despite debuting in the 2006 census with just 8000 of them, baristas are now the 10th fastest growing job in Australia. “If Australia’s barista population was considered a separate city, it would be about the same size as Dubbo,” writes Salt. “Now, they’re lustily eyeing off Wagga with a population of 50,000.”

On the other end of the spectrum falls Boris Joy, who made the decision years ago to move from what he saw as the daily monotony of banking to become one of Australia’s few bungy jumping masters. Thirteen years ago, he quit and moved to an adventure company in Cairns. “I wanted to apply for a job that I would never have applied for previously,” Mr Joy said. “And I’m still here.”

He started off as a receptionist at the AJ Hackett adventure company and quickly moved into an operations role and was trained in the bungy code of practice.

According to Salt, Mr Joy has one of the rarest vocations in the nation, with just eight “bungy jump masters” recorded in this year’s census.

“We’re curious about that figure actually. We’re currently the only bungy operator in Australia and there are only four bungy masters here,” Mr Joy said. “Maybe people are just jumping on the bandwagon?”

Mr Joy does not regret the tree change. He no longer has to sit in morning traffic and his commute consists of a 196-step ascent to a deck that sits above a lush rainforest canopy.

“In Sydney I was always wearing a suit and tie and trudging off to work. Here it’s a little more relaxed. T-shirts, shorts and no traffic. It’s a very exhilarating experience that many don’t want to forget.”

OLIVIA CAISLEY - The Australian - 2nd Decmeber 2017