A record number of Australians are now working more than one job to make ends meet

by Greg Jericho


In the past year the number of people working more than one job has risen 7%.

Once again the price of high interest rates combined with falling real wages has been revealed as the Bureau of Statistics revealed that in the June quarter a record 958,600 Australians were working more than one job.

Nearly 7% of all jobs are someone’s second, third or fourth job, a percentage point higher than was the case prior to the pandemic in 2019.

And while young people continue to be the more likely to work multiple jobs, the past year has seen an increase in the percent of older workers working multiple jobs. In September 2022 6.1% of people working aged over 65 were working in multiple jobs, now that figure has risen to 8%. Similarly, the percent of those aged 55 to 59 who are working multiple jobs has risen from 5.9% to 6.5% in that time.

While it is good that people who need extra hours to make ends meet are able to find extra work, that such a high and growing percent of workers need to do so reveals the cost of slow wage growth and the massive fall in real wages over the past 2 years.

The worry is that as the economy slows and the impact of the raised interest rates increases unemployment, the number of workers in multiple jobs will fall, not because they now get enough hours and pay from their main job, but because secondary jobs are inevitably more likely to be casual or part-time they are often the first lost when the economy slows.

We need to ensure the Reserve Bank does not overreact to any signs of wages growing at a rate that will begin to see them regain some lost value. Workers did not cause this bout of inflation; they should not be further punished for it.

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