Mar 20, 2017

Full-time work soon to be the privilege of a wealthy few in Australia

Soon after Tony Abbott’s Coalition government implemented its changes to the budget, employment policy, the tax regime and trade relations, the ratio of Australians in full-time work fell below 42% for the first time ever, writes economics reporter Alan Austin.

It has always been accepted that a smart, hard-working, well-mannered young Aussie will be able to find an area of academic interest, get a good degree, find a well-paid job and, with diligence and application, work full-time until his or her retirement. That ensures a house, a family, a couple of cars, holidays, regular entertainment outings and a comfy old age.

That is now possible for a shrinking percentage of Australians only -- a percentage that will soon be a minority, if it isn’t already. A structural shift is clearly on.

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12 thoughts on “Full-time work soon to be the privilege of a wealthy few in Australia

  1. Flynn

    It’s a looming crisis, the income tax take is going to be eroded badly and all our government services will be diminished along with peoples lives. I’m also not sure how all those people that have invested in property propose to be able to sell it to anyone in the future – who will be able to get a loan and who will afford rent? I guess Newstart can supplement the lack of wages…

    I am employed casually as a delivery driver while I look for something more long-term (an apprenticeship, at a time where they are rapidly disappearing). My shifts are doled out each day: 8-9 hrs before a shift I receive a text message with my start time. The length of the shift isn’t guaranteed. My previous job was in a factory bolting together pallet racking, where I also received shift-by-text the day before. While I am lucky that I have a middle-class family who can support me through a rough spot, there is a massive structural underclass emerging. The government is simply not interested.

    1. Michael Quincey O'Neill

      No worries about house prices, lots of overseas investors willing to plonk top dollar for Australian properties.

  2. Roger Clifton

    We could live with a lot less, as our neighbors do. However, keeping up with the Joneses does rather get in the way.

    1. Marjorie Carless

      I don’t understand your comment “we could live with less”. We are living with less, wages and work are depressed and getting even more so, electricity, food, gas, transport, water all the basic necessities of life are becoming unaffordable to the majority of the Australian population whilst the “elite” so called few are thriving.

  3. pinkocommierat

    Happening abroad as well as here, but when you conbine undercutting locals with 457s or exploiting them on student visas with insustry’s refusal to train, you wind up importing fully qualified nurses, surveyors, teachers, pilots, and so-on. And then the populists have a point when they say that foreigners are taking our jobs.
    Governments have a choice to intervene but they don’t. Let them struggle with all the wage restraint and crap taxation receipts.

    1. Norm

      “importing fully qualified nurses”? Hmm? A fake doctor slipped past the bean counters that now run NSW Health, and got away with it for 11 years. From rumblings I have heard, the bean counters may have been even less rigorous in checking the claimed qualifications and skill levels of mere nurses.

  4. Lee Tinson

    Birmingham’s satisfaction is right up there with Tudge’s. Maybe it’s just very simply that neither one can organise a P in the O.

  5. klewso

    A disposable, throw-away society – dependent on crumbs from the employers table to get by.
    Is there such a thing as a “casual home-loan” – to go with their casual work-force?

  6. Dog's Breakfast

    I work part-time, 4 days a week, have for ages, but …………..

    Not surprised at rise in productivity, 4 days a week basically means you cram a full-time job into 4 days, so productivity should be good.

    40 years ago a part-time future was considered one of the benefits of growth, with leisure time being where some of our wealth went. Now we go backwards if we aren’t going forwards fast enough, and house prices mean that is not an option.

    The continuing war on the younger generation ……………………

    I’d love to see us nearly all working part-time, except for those deluded souls who think their work is the meaning of life. That has to be calibrated against house prices though, and one goes way up while wages go down.

    Universal Basic Wage is going to require closer inspection as this develops.

  7. Gavin Moodie

    Academia has indeed picked up the institutionalisation of casual work, not the least in academe itself, and has been analysing it for at least a decade.

    1. alan austin

      Academia picked up the shift in the early 1990s, Gavin. That is true.
      Then things stayed constant for more than 20 years.
      But the dramatic slide since 2014? Any published papers?

  8. Norm

    I think the divide has already reached 15% entitled, 85% GFYs.

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