More Australian men are finding themselves in precarious work, study finds


More Australian men are finding themselves in precarious work, study finds

Workers on a residential building site.

An increasing number of Australian men are worried about losing their jobs, a new report has found.

The Curtin University Bankwest Economics Centre paper said what is known as “precarious work” was on the rise in Australia.

Women are still more susceptible to it, but men are rapidly catching up.

While inadequate hours and benefits, as well as insecurity and lack of rights, is still more of an issue faced by women in the workforce, the situation is getting worse for men.

One of the authors of the report, Alan Duncan from Curtin University, said there were several reasons behind Australian men feeling less secure in their jobs.

“Fewer hours available, especially for men,” he said.

“The increasing push towards part-time work and casualisation, the greater use of independent contractors by businesses, which lends itself … to a greater degree of insecurity in employment.”

In particular his research found labourers were among those in the most precarious jobs.

That is something carpenter Dean Burns, 29, said he had witnessed on the worksite.

“They’re always the first to go, on a building site anyway,” he said.

“They take skilled workers over unskilled workers.”

Sign on a notice board saying: Employment applications not being accepted

Although Mr Burns has always been in work himself, he has returned to TAFE to study a Diploma of Building and Construction.

“I think in general, in WA at the moment, the workforce is pretty bare for jobs as it is,” he said.

“If I can’t find a job in my trade then I’ll go do something else, because you need to work, you need to pay the bills, you need to pay off your house loan.”

Contractor can’t afford sick days, superannuation

Alan Price will be 65 next week, but the Perth courier does not have a retirement plan.

“I’m not retiring, well, until I turn my toes up, that’s when it will be [retiring],” he said.

As a contractor he said he never takes sick days because if he does not work then he would not get paid, and he has no superannuation.

“Because I can’t afford to pay that either,” Mr Price said.

He was not surprised to hear that a growing number of Australian men are finding themselves in precarious work.

“No, not with the economy the way it is, with businesses closing down, they’re having to find work that’s going to bring the wage home,” he said.

What jobs should men look for?

A middle-aged man sitting between two elderly people at a table, looking at a medicine container

Professor Duncan suggested men should look for work in the growing services sector — in jobs currently dominated by women.

“I think roles in the healthcare sector, in education, care services, either aged care, childcare,” he said.

“All of these roles I think will offer great opportunities for careers into the future and for career progression.”

The researchers also looked at attitudes as to whether men have more right to a job than women.

According to the report, roughly 90 per cent think not, and Mr Burns and Mr Price concur.

“No, honest to God, if they’re doing a similar job they should get similar pay, and I’ve always thought that,” Mr Price said.

Mr Burns said it should not be a “female or male” thing.

“If a woman or female can do the same job, it’s who does it better [that]should get the job,” he said.






Contact Eliza Borrello


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