Aussie Households Suffering High Job Insecurity and Underemployment

7 February 2017
New figures from ME’s Household Financial Comfort Report have found a long-term deterioration in Australian households’ financial revenue.

With income cuts, record-high job insecurity, and high rates of underemployment, Australian households’ ‘comfort with income’ remains at its lowest level since the report began in 2011.

The figures

ME consulting economist and report co-author, Jeff Oughton said one in three Australian houses (34%) reported ‘job insecurity’ – a record high and an increase of 9 points over the last year. This comes as no surprise, with 56% of households saying they felt they would ‘struggle to find a new job within two months if they became unemployed’, which is an increase of 3 points.

“Despite Australia’s relatively low official unemployment rate of 5.8% in December 2016, ME’s Report shows 60% of part-time employees would like to ‘increase the hours they work’ and 70% of casual workers want to ‘change from casual to permanent employment’,” Mr Oughton said.

Wealth gap continuing to grow?

The report also provides a shocking look at the growing gap between high income earners and those with the bare minimum. Unfortunately, according to Oughton, this gap is only going to get bigger.

“Almost one in two (46%) of households with incomes over $100,000 reported ‘income gains’, compared to only 17% of households earning under $40,000,” says Oughton.

“Conversely, 13% of those earning over $100,000 reported income losses, compared to a whopping 41% of those earning less than $40,000.

“There’s a divide across Australian households – it seems the rich appear to be getting richer.”

Other findings

Some more interesting findings that popped up in the report showed that single parents are ‘doing it the toughest’, with the lowest levels of financial comfort the report had ever seen (4.34/10) – a 3% decrease over the last six months.

The report also found Generation X’s financial comfort with issues such as debt broke a record low this year (4.92/10).

Oughton, in supporting data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics, said that while wage growth over the last two years has reached historic lows, the ME Household Financial Comfort Report aims to bring attention to these issues.

“The ME Household Financial Comfort Report aims to highlight the financial discomfort that many households face daily due to job insecurity and underemployment.”

This will help to recognise the areas that Australians need to develop in order to succeed.

The Household Financial Comfort Report is based on a survey of 1,500 Australians conducted by DBM Consultants in December 2016. The report is produced every six months, with the first survey conducted in October 2011.

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