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The hidden crisis in the jobless numbers

The definition of employment hides the true impact of the cost of living crisis, Amelia Godbold reports.

An Increasing number of Australians are in insecure and insufficient work, with the Salvation Army warning many people are facing severe financial pressures even though they are classified as employed.

Jennifer Kirkaldy, general manager of policy and advocacy for the organisation, said a growing number of people had inadequate work hours as the cost of living crisis continues to hit hard. “If you are working casual, you have no certainty over how many hours you are going to have, you have no certainty whether you're going to be able to make your rent.” Ms Kirkaldy said. “The reality is you have a job, but you do not have any kind of economic security.” She said the rise of job insecurity made it unviable for many to go off Jobseeker as it could put them in more financial distress. “It's so hard to get back on to Jobseeker, that sometimes if you have no guarantee of sufficient funds, it's not actually a smart economic decision to go off.”

In April, Australia's unemployment rate rose from 3.5 per cent to 3.7 per cent, but underemployment was 6.1 per cent.

Casual worker and welfare recipient Juliet Sayers said she had faced increasing difficulty finding secure and sufficient work.

“It is noticeably different for me now that I'm an older woman," she said.

Juliet Sayers is finding her age is a barrier. (Photo: Juliet Sayers)

"I have a lot of skills; I have a lot of experience, but that doesn't necessarily go in my favour when it comes to applying for jobs.” Ms Sayers said she has had to accept jobs belo her skill level and with the rising cost of living it was difficult to get by on casual work and government benefits. “As soon as you start earning from your casual work it has impacts on how much they pay you so unless you're on an extremely high hourly rate it’s hard to make enough money.”


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