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Two-thirds of Australians’ employment struck by COVID

— 1 minute read

Around 67 per cent, or 10.4 million Australians have faced a change in employment due to the pandemic, according to new data from Roy Morgan.

The finding has come out of a July survey of around 3,863 individuals, which reported only 27 per cent of individuals have seen no changes to their work as a result of coronavirus. 

While 15 per cent reported their business had slowed or sopped completely, a fifth (21 per cent) experienced having their work hours reduced, while another 13 per cent saw an increase in work hours.

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Extending the representative proportions to the country’s population, Roy Morgan has estimated 3.2 million people have seen reduced work hours as a result of COVID, 2.3 million saw their business slow or stop and 2 million received an increase in hours.

The market researcher recorded 9 per cent of people had been stood down for a period of time (1.5 million), no work was available for 7 per cent (1.2 million), 6 per cent had their pay reduced for the same number of work hours (960,000) and 4 per cent (620,000) had been made redundant. 

The most common change was now working from home, as answered by 25 per cent of participants, representative of 3.9 million Australians. 

Around 3 per cent of people had taken leave to avoid loss of pay and 8 per cent cited some other change – including being put on enforced leave, changes in work rostering, social distancing measures implemented at work, split shifts, an increase in responsibility and a halt to business growth. 

New South Wales, Victoria and Tasmania copped the largest employment impacts. Around three-quarters of Tasmanians said their work had been affected, which was echoed by 71 per cent of Victorians and 70 per cent of NSW residents.

Roy Morgan noted the change had been noticeably smaller in the three states which most effectively dealt with COVID-19, as 57 per cent in South Australia cited change, and 62 per cent each in Western Australia and Queensland. 

Roy Morgan chief executive Michele Levine said COVID has continued to be the main driver of Australia’s economic situation, with renewed lockdowns and restrictions enforced in response to the second wave. 

“The latest Roy Morgan’s July unemployment estimates showed 1.8 million Australians were unemployed in July with a further 1.5 million [underemployed],” Ms Levine said. 

“Even so the 3.5 million Australians looking for work or looking for more work [are] dwarfed by the 10.4 million working Australians in July who have had their employment changed by the impact of the coronavirus crisis.”

She added the federal budget in October must provide a “clear roadmap” for the Australian economy to navigate the next few years. Ms Levine’s suggestions have included “cutting excessive regulations, providing proper incentives for businesses to invest in growth and new employees, and reducing high penalty rates that discourage businesses from opening on weekends and public holidays”.

“It’s important to understand that when the JobKeeper wage subsidy ends in April 2021 many employees that have had a changed employment situation due to the COVID-19 pandemic may well find themselves out of work as their employer adjusts to the economic reality without an ongoing wage subsidy,” Ms Levine said.

 

Two-thirds of Australians’ employment struck by COVID
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Sarah Simpkins

Sarah Simpkins

Sarah Simpkins is a journalist at Momentum Media, reporting primarily on banking, financial services and wealth. 

Prior to joining the team in 2018, Sarah worked in trade media and produced stories for a current affairs program on community radio. 

You can contact her on [email protected].

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