As wages struggle to keep pace with inflation the numbers of secondary jobs rise

by Greg Jericho

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More than 1.1m jobs are now being done by someone who has another job

In the latest Labour Accounts released today by the Bureau of Statistics a record, 1.106m jobs held in Australia are being worked by someone who has another job.

The more than 5% fall in real wages over the past 3 years as inflation has soared above wage growth has meant that a record 7.1% of all the jobs in Australia are someone’s second or third (or more) jobs. In the March quarter some 974,000 Australians were working in more than one job. This disparity between the number of employees working multiple jobs and the total number of “secondary jobs” implies that there is now a record number of people as well working more than 2 jobs.

This is not a sign of a healthy labour force.

While it is good that Australians are able to find work, that nearly 1 million are clearly needing to seek more hours form a secondary job suggests that there has been growing problem of working poor.

In the past year, 13% of the new jobs created have gone to someone who already has a job. Until wages consistently grow fast the prices, this trend of ever-increasing proportion of workers taking on another job to make ends meet will continue.

Particularly concerning is the increase in multiple job holders is occurring among older workers. Historically younger workers are more likely to work more than one job, but over the past year, the percentage of workers aged 35-44 holding more than one job has risen from 6.7% to 7.2%.

These figures just highlight that workers have been the ones who have done it toughest during this period of rising prices that a priority needs to be placed on ensuring wages re able to grow faster than inflation and that the Reserve Bank should not hit workers with another rate rise merely because finally after three years real wages are now recovering.

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