This report follows the Higher classification/professional employee award reliance qualitative research: Interim report and consolidates the findings from data collected over a 12 month period. This report examines the nature of employment arrangements and conditions of award-reliant employees at higher classifications and the persistence of award reliance over time.
The findings depict the advantages and disadvantages of award-reliant employment as reported by participants. The findings also examine the intentions of participants to pursue an over-award arrangement, either through a change to their wage-setting arrangements in their current workplace or through seeking alternative employment. These intentions were found to be principally shaped by their need to pursue higher wages/wage increases which was related to the reliance they had on their award wage to meet their living costs. Participants with no critical need to increase their wage income were content to maintain their award-reliant arrangement. Participants who had a need to increase their wage at a faster or greater rate than the award provided for tended to be discontent with their award reliance and typically expected their tenure under their award-reliant arrangement would be relatively short.
Over the duration of the study, most participants experienced some form of change in their award-reliant employment. Only a small number of participants left their award-reliant employment over the course of the study, despite the intentions of several more to do so. The barriers to pursing and achieving over-award arrangements included perceptions that their employer would not welcome a discussion about wages and wage progression and that they would not be significantly better off if they pursued an over-award arrangement through alternative employment.