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Report cover

Feeling the pinch

How low wage growth and rising prices are impacting private sector clerical and administrative workers
Wages Wages growth Work insecurity Labour market disruption Cost and standard of living Australia
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Feeling the pinch 1.15 MB

Workers in clerical and administrative roles in Australia have a particular set of vulnerabilities in relation to changing wage and work conditions. 74% of these workers are women and they make up 28% of all female workers in Australia. Clerical and administrative workers have become increasingly vulnerable to unemployment, precarious employment and underemployment. These workers are also less likely to have access to the types of wage increases and labour mobility opportunities available to technical and managerial workers.

This report provides evidence from a survey of private sector clerical and administrative workers drawn from the Australian Service Union (ASU) membership to provide a snapshot of how this cohort is experiencing financial pressures and changing working conditions in 2022.

The survey included workers who identified as professional administrators as well as workers who identified as call centre workers. The report additionally reviews ABS data and other existing sources to highlight the current national landscape in relation to wage growth, cost of living and working conditions for clerical and administrative workers in Australia. An online methodology was employed for the survey and participants recruited via the ASU membership database.

Overall, the survey data reveals that this group of workers feel significantly impacted by wage and cost of living pressures. Very few feel they are living comfortably on their current income. The survey reports significant concerns about the affordability of basics like food, fuel and healthcare as well as evidence of constrained consumer spending, with respondents reporting reluctance to spend limited income on leisure and entertainment.

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