Workers taking on second jobs as cost pressures build

May 21, 2024 11:44 | News

One-in-five Australians are working a second job to keep up with rising costs and almost half are afraid they will be let go.

An annual employment survey of more than 6000 Australians has found inflation and an employer-driven job market is pushing more workers to take on a second role, while 18 per cent are working more hours with their current employer to make ends meet.

Two in three are staying at their job rather than seeking better pay elsewhere and only 12 per cent had received a pay rise that kept up with rising costs, the Randstad data revealed.

The survey echoed a disheartening shift in the psyche of the average Australian worker, Randstad’s Jo Jakobs said.

“They’re preferring to stick in and hunker down in their jobs whether they’re happy or not,” she told AAP.

“In any other type of environment they would have looked to improve their circumstances.”

The data found 44 per cent of Australian workers were worried about losing their job, despite the jobless rate sitting at 4.1 per cent.

However, with consumer sentiment drying up and and tighter margins for businesses, federal budget forecasts tipped unemployment could rise to 4.5 per cent next year.

“You’ve got some businesses that are obviously skating on pretty thin ice,” Ms Jakobs said.

“The reality is that for a healthy economy, we need to have businesses that are profitable, so that they can then employ and pay people so that those people can then afford to bring up their families, to pay their mortgage, and not to live in fear of losing their jobs.”

While some people are staying-put for stability, Mikaela Copland is working 45 hours a week between a part-time role, her own business and the gig-economy work to cover costs.

An Uber driver
Many Australians are picking up work in the gig economy to boost their income. (Lukas Coch/AAP PHOTOS)

“When you’re context switching and going towards jobs, different jobs, it can sacrifice your attention span,” the 25-year-old told AAP.

“It can be quite anxiety-inducing.”

She said her gig economy work allowed her to earn the same income she made before the pandemic.

“They’re a great way to make the extra money that you might have made pre-COVID, to save for car insurance and holidays and stuff that shouldn’t be considered luxuries,” she said.

The study found work-life balance was the most important driver for workers choosing an employer but Ms Jakobs said that’s not an option for those working multiple jobs.

It was a “time of survival” for many Australians, as working additional jobs required greater mental and physical load, she said.

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