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$3,536 reason why Aussies are working multiple jobs: ‘Slap in the face’

Mikaela Copland is currently working multiple jobs to keep up with rising HECS debt and the cost of living.

Millions of Aussie workers are picking up second (and even third) jobs to keep up with rising cost-of-living pressures. And one young Aussie says it’s now become her new normal.

Mikaela Copland is currently working 45 hours a week to cover rising costs. She splits her time between a job in music marketing, an influencer and talent agency, and gig-economy work.

The 25-year-old Melbourne resident said last year’s 7.1 per cent increase to HECS debts was the “slap in the face” that triggered her to take on the extra work.

Mikaela Copland and Aussie workers. Multiple jobs.
Aussies like Mikaela Copland are taking on second jobs as cost-of-living pressures mount. (Source: Supplied/AAP)

Are you working multiple jobs to make ends meet? Share your story with tamika.seeto@yahooinc.com

“When the indexation happened it was my instigation to pick something else up so I can slowly pay it off,” Copland told Yahoo Finance.

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The young Aussie is now facing a $29,000 HECS bill for her Media and Communications degree. While she thinks the government's changes to how the debt is indexed is a “step in the right direction”, she said it won’t make a material difference in her life until she gets her tax return back.

Along with her increasing HECS debt, Copland said rising rent prices, electricity and grocery bills were adding pressure to her budget.

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One in five Aussie workers are taking on second jobs and increasing their hours with their current employer to cope with cost-of-living pressures, new research by Randstad found.

Annual inflation lifted to 3.6 per cent in the 12 months to March, which was higher than many had expected. Canstar calculated that Aussie workers earning an average annual income of $98,218 would have needed a $3,536 pay rise to keep pace with inflation over the past year.

Randstad’s data found the large majority (88 per cent) of workers were not being compensated for inflation, however unfavourable market conditions were stopping workers from looking for better pay elsewhere.

The unemployment rate rose to 4.1 per cent in April, with employers adding 38,500 jobs and the number of unemployed people jumping to 30,000. Competition for jobs is also fierce at the moment, with SEEK finding the number of applications per job was up 8.6 per cent last month.

“While we know from our research that a decent salary is one of the top motivators for 59 per cent of Aussie workers, it’s not surprising, given daily headlines about redundancies, that Aussies are feeling too risk averse to seek new employment to secure better pay,” Randstad director of professional talent solutions Jo Jakobs said.

“Employers are in a tight spot, with employees putting the pressure on to improve pay to help with the cost of living, yet needing to balance those demands with the reality of keeping their businesses viable in an uncertain economic climate.”

Copland hopes working multiple jobs will allow her to cover her everyday essentials and give her more breathing room to save up for future goals like a holiday and a new car.

“[I’m] wanting to save up for things that make life worth living rather than just the essentials - like entertainment, holidays and a new car. That used to be within the realm of just one job," she said.

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