The proportion of employed people working more than one job increased to 6.5 percent in the June quarter 2021, according to figures released today (8 September) by the Australian Bureau of Statistics.
This was 0.6 percent above the figure at the start of the pandemic and the highest since the ABS started recording these figures in 1994.
Bjorn Jarvis, Head of Labour Statistics at the ABS, said: “The multiple job holding rate of 6.5 percent in the June quarter was the highest seen across the 27-year series, and continued the rebound from the record low of 4.9 percent in the June quarter of 2020.”
Largest increase in administrative and support services jobs
The largest increases in the multiple job-holding rate were in administrative and support services, arts and recreation services, and education and training. Across all industries, the rate of multiple job holding was higher than pre-pandemic levels.
“The growth in multiple job holding coincided with a faster increase in secondary jobs, which increased by 1.4 percent during the June quarter, compared with 1.2 percent for main jobs,” he stated.
“Secondary jobs increased by 33 percent over the 2020-21 financial year, from a low in the early stages of the pandemic in the June quarter of 2020. By June quarter 2021, they were 9 percent above pre-pandemic levels.”
Average hours people worked in secondary jobs has decreased
Interestingly, the average hours people worked in their secondary jobs has decreased over the Covid period. Average hours worked by multiple job holders in their secondary jobs was 9.5 hours per week in June quarter 2019, 9.3 hours in June quarter 2020, and 9.1 hours in June quarter 2021.
Commenting on the latest figures, CommSec’s senior economist, Ryan Felsman, said lockdowns and restrictions on movement had affected the ability of some occupations and regions to get the workers they needed, contributing to the increase in multiple job holders.
“The pandemic’s impact on supply chains and varied demand for goods and services across the economy could also be a key factor. Of course, the rise of the ‘gig’ economy and a preference for younger, and even older, Australians to work more flexibly may mean they work multiple jobs at once,” he noted.