The ABC’s 2021 Australia Talks survey shows the effect insecure work is having on the way young workers and women are thinking about their lives and their jobs, as Australia becomes a more divided society.

The survey finds that Australian workers are rightly concerned about the spiraling rate of insecure work, nervous about having a secure retirement, and concerned about what future generations will face.

  • Three-quarters of young workers and 59 per cent of Australians now believe that this generation will be worse off than their parents.
  • 50 per cent of Australians are not confident that they will have enough to retire with, the division widening between men and women, with 55 per cent of women facing an uncertain future.
  • Australians are pessimistic that being a hard worker will be rewarded, with a 12 per cent drop in Australians who believe that ‘if you work hard, you can be successful no matter what’.

The Morrison Government could act now to reduce the negative impact of insecure and unreliable work by restoring rights for casual and gig workers. Instead, they recently legislated to make it easier for employers to keep workers in unreliable and insecure casual contracts.

Quotes attributable to ACTU Secretary Sally McManus:

“These results shouldn’t come as a shock to anyone. We have witnessed consecutive coalition Governments strip workers’ rights and oversee the lowest wage growth period since the great depression.

“4 in 5 Australians know that there is a dangerous wealth gap in this country between the richest and everyone else, especially for women. Unfortunately, the Morrison Government spent more in the budget on tax cuts for the wealthy than their entire expenditure on women.

“It’s hard for Australian workers to believe hard work will pay off when they are working multiple insecure jobs with no pay rises in a decade, while the Government continues to cut taxes for big business.”