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Multiple job holding on the rise in Australia: A trend HR should monitor closely

By Kris Grant | |5 minute read

For the first time, Australia sees almost a million individuals working multiple jobs as they attempt to make ends meet amid escalating living costs, with projections indicating a continuation of this trend into 2024.

With an increased number of Australians – 958,600 to be precise – engaged in two or more jobs in June 2023 (a 7 per cent hike from the previous year), human resources professionals need to take note and adjust strategies accordingly.

Market dynamics


The low unemployment rate of 3.7 per cent, a nearly 50-year record, is facilitating Australians to capitalise on the favourable labour market for additional income. The abundance of jobs has made it much easier for people to find a second or third job.

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), 6.7 per cent of employed individuals held multiple jobs in June 2023, up from a stable rate of 5 per cent to 6 per cent observed from 1994 to 2019. The economic upheavals introduced by the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020 played a significant role in catalysing this trend.

The chart below shows the record-high levels of multiple job holders.

Rising living and housing costs

Elevated living expenses and rent have particularly influenced younger Australians to embrace multiple employment opportunities for financial stability.

Employee households have been the most impacted by rising mortgage interest charges, which are a larger part of their spending than other household types.

Reflecting that, mortgage interest charges increased by a whopping 91.6 per cent year over year to 30 June 2023 for employee households.

This economic pressure necessitates many individuals to seek additional employment to accommodate higher mortgage repayments.

Given interest rates look like they are still on the rise, this pressure on household budgets is unlikely to be alleviated anytime soon. This is likely to continue to pressure people to take on a second or third job.

Work landscape shifts

With the work environment evolving, more flexible employment arrangements are emerging, allowing individuals to integrate more jobs into their schedules. The rise of remote work and casual employment, notably in sectors like aged care, retail, and healthcare, further accelerates this trend.

For office workers, the ability to work from home has made it easier for some workers to have more than one job at the same time. Another factor contributing to the rise in multiple job holders is the increased casualisation of the workforce; there are more casual jobs around that need filling, especially in the hospitality and tourism sectors.

Gender and age dynamics

ABS data reveals that women and younger individuals are more likely to engage in multiple jobs, with women’s multiple-job-holding rate standing at 7.6 per cent compared to men’s 5.7 per cent. Industries like healthcare and social assistance report the highest number of workers with multiple roles.

Young workers ages 15–19 and 20–24 are more prone to holding multiple jobs, with rates of 8 per cent and 8.2 per cent, respectively.

Implications for HR professionals

As we expect the trend to persist into 2024, human resources departments should anticipate and understand the implications of employees holding multiple jobs. While preventing employees from taking additional employment isn’t feasible, employers can and should inquire about any secondary employment to pre-emptively manage conflicts of interest and compliance with non-compete clauses.

Monitoring employee performance to safeguard against potential declines due to additional employment stresses is crucial. Nonetheless, the willingness of employees to tackle multiple jobs aids in alleviating the skills shortages prevalent in various industries, presenting both challenges and opportunities for HR professionals in the current labour market.

By Kris Grant, chief executive, ASPL Group