The majority of Australian workers are struggling to afford everyday expenses on their annual wage, a recent survey has revealed.
Conducted on behalf of Fox Symes, the Galaxy Research poll of 1,014 people nationwide found that 59 per cent of respondents are not able to afford their daily expenses, with 16 per cent stating that they have not received a wage increase for several years.
Twenty-four per cent of men and 20 per cent of women surveyed also said they have considered changing jobs in pursuit of a higher wage.
Fox Symes highlighted that the underlying issue is that wage growth is currently at a “record low” and incremental pay rises are not matching the escalating cost of living.
“If wages remain flat and costs increase, this obviously places pressures on households,” Fox Symes director Deborah Southon commented. “People are forced to get by with less purchasing power.”
According to Fox Symes, wage stagnation is particularly affecting the ‘working poor’ with household incomes of less than $50,000.
One in four (25 per cent) in this category admitted struggling to cope with everyday costs such as electricity, health insurance and groceries on their yearly wage, with 19 per cent also under strain to pay for housing.
“The impact of wage stagnation is particularly noticeable for those in low income households,” Ms Southon remarked. “Any increases in everyday items such as utilities, food, petrol or rent are universally applied and little consideration is given to the repercussions on household incomes.”
The survey also found that those aged 18-34 (20 per cent) are struggling with general costs on low wages. The 18-24 segment recorded the highest level of willingness to change jobs to try and make ends meet, with almost half (43 per cent) keen to do so. In fact, 22 per cent in this category said they have already left jobs for better paid employment.
Fox Symes highlighted that wage stagnation, combined with the pressure of everyday expenses has resulted in increasing debt levels throughout the country.
One in every 10 workers (10 per cent), or 1.2 million people, said that they have been forced to rely on their credit card due to their wages inadequately covering expenses.
Ms Southon commented: “What few people consider when they use credit is that it is not their money and eventually they have to repay it plus the interest applied.”
“If you are struggling with debt don’t ignore it and let it spiral out of control. Talk to someone who can help. Budgeting is the key to managing money. It is smart to create a budget and even smarter if you stick to it,” she concluded.
[Related: Rising cost of living triggers ‘Thriftmas’]