How did you find getting up this morning? Was a bit of a struggle?
All around Australia, each morning, and perhaps at night, millions of Australians get out of bed and head to work.
The Bureau of Statistics records this data, and if its numbers are anything to go by, every month, until recently, more Australians each day have found themselves in employment.
So, while it’s hard to get out of bed, having regular income, and contributing to society – or doing your bit – comes with enormous mental and physical benefits.
That’s why two figures I’m going to throw at you are, well, a little depressing.
The latest data from the Bureau show, the underemployment rate — the number of underemployed workers expressed as a percentage of total employed persons – was 8.4 per cent; while the underutilisation rate — the sum of the number of persons unemployed and the number of persons in underemployment, expressed as a proportion of the labour force – was 13.9 per cent.
That’s right, nearly 14 per cent of the labour force ain’t real happy. They want or need more work.
So while policy makers may crow about the hundreds of thousand of jobs created over the past couple of years, many Australians are simply not part of the jobs boom.
It’s helped keep wage growth at bay, and it’s contributing to many Australians feeling constant financial pressure.
If you are stuck in the unemployment or underemployment mud, here are 5 tips to pull yourself out.
This is incredibly embarrassing to admit but I only recently made use of both Uber and Deliveroo. I was overseas holidaying and was stuck in an apartment. It was either “Uber eats” or go hungry.
Back home, and looking after a new born, I was in a similar situation, and so downloaded “Deliveroo”.
Now while these apps represent only a fraction of the gig economy, I was impressed by how well they worked. They also open up unprecedented access to ‘survival work’ – that’s the work available to people in desperate need of cash or who want to keep busy.
I have an awkward relationship with many parts of the gig economy: it arguably contributes to low wage growth, and I’m convinced quite poor working conditions. However, it does open up real job opportunities to people who would otherwise be frictionally or seasonally employed.
The bottom line? You have a far better chance of re-entering the workforce full time if you remain employed at some level when you would otherwise be out of work. The Gig economy facilitates this.
Pitch an idea
Now, you’re a smart person. How do I know that? Well you’re reading Yahoo7 Finance for a start!
So if you have an idea for how to improve an organisation, or you see a role that would help to add value to a company, arrange a coffee and pitch the idea to the boss.
I can hear you saying, ’Oh come on, as if that would work’. I’m here to tell you I’ve tried it three times in my career and it’s worked twice. Managers generally love your initiative, they’re flattered by the interest you’ve taken in their company, and they want to help you out.
The worst thing that can happen is that you make a good contact.
There’s also nothing stopping you from starting up your own small business. Of course you need a good idea and money – but, I can tell you, if your idea is good enough, you should be able to find finance.
The one aspect of small business though I can’t stand is that you can’t walk away from it. No matter how annoying your boss is, at least you can go home at the end of the day and try to switch off. When you’re running a business, its success or failure is always in the back of your mind.
It’s worth remembering though that you can start a small business while working full time or part time. It will mean less time for sleep, recreation, or relaxation, but it’s one way to boost your income by as much as $10,000 a year by working 6 days a week (by devoting your Saturday to your business, for example). You don’t even need to register for GST if your business is pulling in less than $75,000.
Yes, I know, most people would rather visit a proctologist than negotiate a wage increase. Here’s the thing: find out how to measure your own performance. Or maybe it’s done for you by your manager. Work out how you’re doing. Then make steps to improve your performance. If you can demonstrate you are making $X more for your company, you’re entitled to ask for a percentage of that.
Frankly, if you’re not working for the government, and your boss still gives you a hard time, it might be worth taking your obviously valuable skill set somewhere else.
Speaking of switching jobs, please also consider changing careers. While many sectors – especially retail, are taking a battering at present, sectors like healthcare are outperforming, and score well when it comes to employment opportunities and wage increases.
The public sector also regularly beats the private sector when it comes to wage increases. I personally also value the care the government takes in its workers.
Big week for data
For the latest on how wage growth is doing, and whether or not underemployment is improving, check out the latest data from the Bureau – it’s out this week!
Decide for yourself if you think you could do better. Australia’s always been about a fair go. It’s harder to get a fair go these days, but it’s still entirely possible.