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Job security & the future of work: Australian workers’ views

Data collected for the Australian National University (ANU) annual ANUpoll series shows Australians are comfortable with their job security, however they are less optimistic about finding a different job for the same or better wage. ANUpoll data shows about 88 per cent of Australians think it is ‘not at all likely’ or ‘not too likely’ they will lose their job, or in the case of business owners, lay off employees or close the business. The data also shows more than half of all Australians say it would be ‘not easy at all’ to find a job with another employer with approximately the same income and fringe benefits. Lead researcher on the ANUpoll series Dr Jill Sheppard said while Australians appear secure in their current job, they are pessimistic about their future employment prospects. “These findings are interesting in the context of the current wage growth debate. People may be confident in their job security at their current employer but think they won’t get better conditions elsewhere. They might be tempted to remain in their current job to maintain the conditions they have now,” Dr Sheppard said. “The biggest concern relating to job security is that an employer finds someone overseas will to do their job for less money, with nearly 20 per cent of Australians feeling ‘very concerned’ about this.” The industries most concerned about losing their job to an overseas worker willing to work for less are retail trade, accommodation/food services and agriculture, fishing and forestry (all between 20 and 30 per cent ‘very concerned’). ANUpoll also regularly measures Australians satisfaction with the way the country is heading. In the six months between ANUpolls, satisfaction with the direction of Australia dropped nearly 10 per cent, and dissatisfaction rose nearly 10 per cent. “This ANUpoll suggests Australia is facing a crisis of public dissatisfaction,” Dr Sheppard said.