As the cost of living crisis continues to rise, shift workers across Australia and New Zealand are feeling the pinch, with roughly one quarter saying that they are unable to cover their living expenses on their current salary, according to a new survey by shift work management company, Deputy.
Another 53 percent of shift workers surveyed said that while they are able to cover their living expenses, they do not have any money leftover to put towards savings, while only 25 percent have money leftover after paying living expenses.
The State of Shift Work Survey was commissioned by Deputy to explore the experiences and job satisfaction of shift workers across Australia and New Zealand. Deputy surveyed a total of 1,597 ANZ respondents, made up of both customer and non-customer responses.
A fifth of shift workers believe they are not being paid fairly
Since mid-2021, inflation has been on the rise in both Australia and New Zealand. While (26 percent) of shift workers said their pay rate increased in line with inflation, 24 percent said they saw an increase, but it was not in line with inflation. A mere 15 percent were fortunate to see their salaries rise faster than inflation.
The size of a business plays a major role in wage increases shift workers receive in relation to inflation. For example, only 5 percent of those working in small companies (less than 100 employees) said their pay rate increased faster than inflation while 30 percent of those working in large companies (more than 1,000 employees) said the same.
Overall, a fifth of respondents in ANZ said they do not believe they are being paid fairly for their jobs (20 percent), and 44 percent want their employers to offer better pay.
In fact, many are taking matters into their own hands, with 24 percent of respondents saying they are working more than one job, with more than one employer. Gen Z was the most likely to change jobs if they were offered more pay (70 percent), while 52 percent of millennials, 50 percent of Gen X and 39 percent of baby boomers said the same.
A quarter of Gen Z want to leave shift work for another industry
When asked what their future plans are for their current job, Gen Z was significantly more likely to want to switch to a new industry.
26 percent of Gen Z was keen to switch to a new industry.
While only 12 percent of millennials, seven percent of Gen X, and eight percent of baby boomers said the same. In fact, 44 percent of millennials, 59 percent of Gen X, and 69 percent of baby boomers said they wanted to stay in their current position compared to 29 percent of Gen Z.
To delve further into how they perceived shift work, respondents were asked what they liked and disliked about shift work
40 percent of Gen Z respondents and 25 percent of millennials respondents selected difficulty in managing their fluctuating incomes as their biggest dislike. 33 percent of Gen Z selected unpredictable schedules which make it impossible to plan and 29 percent of Gen Z also selected health impacts such as a poor sleep schedule, while 28 percent of millennials selected less job security.
Baby boomers had an overwhelmingly positive attitude, with 32 percent saying they did not dislike anything about shift work.
59 percent of Gen Z, 53 percent of millennials, and 50 percent of Gen X selected schedule flexibility as what they most liked about shift work, while another 50 percent of Gen X and 58 percent of baby boomers selected the ability to fit in other commitments.
ANZ shift workers required to work more shifts due to labour shortages
During the pandemic, migrant workers and international students returned home and many businesses still continue to feel the impacts of this exodus of labour with 45 percent of ANZ shift workers stating their employer had difficulty hiring in the last 12 months.
When asked how shift workers were impacted by their employer’s inability to hire, 41 percent say they are required to work more shifts, 27 percent say they have new responsibilities and a mere 15 percent said they received a promotion. Another 15 percent of respondents said their pay had increased as a result but 18 percent expressed worry they are putting themselves at risk by working.
Emma Seymour, Chief Financial Officer at Deputy Said: “If there’s one thing these survey findings have uncovered, it is that shift workers are incredibly resilient, and many are putting in extra hours and overextending themselves in order to help their workplaces stay afloat amid rising costs.
“This is an opportunity for business owners to consider how they recognise the contribution of these employees, as the desire for feeling valued and recognised stood out as a top motivator for shift workers who love their workplace at 50 percent in ANZ.
“The survey also found that 61 percent of respondents believe that their job will change significantly over the next two years due to new technology and the use of artificial intelligence.
While this is likely an inevitable development of the industry, business leaders should consider how they can use these technologies as a tool for improving productivity, rather than replacing shift workers, who make up the heart and soul of the businesses we interact with on a daily basis,” she added.
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