More than one million Australians want more hours but can’t get them, ABS data released today shows.
The Participation, Job Search and Mobility figures released by the bureau today show that nearly one-in-ten working Australians – 8.2 percent of the labour force – are unable to get the hours they want.
Nearly half of those workers had been in the situation for more than a year.
The concerning figures are part of a broader problem of insecure work, with Australia having the third-highest rate of non-standard work in the OECD.
People who are unable to get the hours they need are in a poor negotiating position and often do not have the bargaining power to secure fair pay rises.
This is contributing to a lack of wages growth, which translates into the poor consumer demand that is holding our economy back.
As noted by ACTU Secretary Sally McManus:
“Working people need enough hours to be able to plan and live decent lives.
“But nearly half of the more than one million people who can’t get these hours have been underemployed for more than a year.
“For many working people, part-time work, whether it’s casual or permanent, is not a choice. These figures show that clearly.
“The Morrison Government is positioning to further undermine the rights of working people in the coming IR review, with employers pushing for a watering down of unfair dismissal laws and the ability to reduce working people’s take-home pay.
“When more than one million people need more hours and can’t get them, it’s an indication of a larger imbalance between the power of employers and workers.
“The Morrison Government must respond with a real plan to address insecure work.”