Work-Life Balance in Australia

Monday, January 15, 2018

It was January 1948 that the Commonwealth Arbitration Court gave official ascent to the 40 hour, five day working week in Australia.

The public push for this work-life balance often included the symbol of ‘888’ with the accompanying statement of the daily ideal: 8 hours’ work, 8 hours’ recreation and 8 hours of sleep. However, 70 years on, it seems that this balance has alluded most Australians.

When it comes to discretionary time that is not allocated to either paid or unpaid work (such as housework and caring responsibilities), working Australians are enjoying around 3.5 hours per day.

Across every age group, Australian men have more leisure time, on average per day, than women. The average adult male in Australia has 34 minutes more leisure time than the average female which equates to 4 hours per week.

The 2016 Census data shows that we are still working long hours in paid employment too. Of those with a job, 2 in 5 are working beyond the 8-hour day, and way beyond it when commute time is included.

The resulting time pressure and stress, particularly amongst women

Women feel more stressed and pressed for time than men in Australia, with 35% of Australian men and 42% of Australian women in this ABS study released in September 2017 stating that they were always or often rushed or pressed for time.

Women are almost five times more likely than men to feel this way due to demands of family.

Men are as likely to feel no time pressure as constant time pressure. Women are much more likely to often/always feel rushed and pressed for time than to never/rarely feel this.

Eight hours of sleep? Closer to seven



Women outworking men in total time spent in work

Over the last decade, women have increased their paid work hours while men have plateaued here. While men have marginally increased their unpaid weekly work hours, it has done little to close the gap with women.

Total time spent working (paid and unpaid) by women in Australia significantly exceeds that of men in couple households, regardless of whether the woman earns more, less or the same as the man.

Watch Mark McCrindle's full interview on Ten News Here

The New Australian Dream

Thursday, September 01, 2016

Owning your own four bedroom house on a decent block of land with a big backyard and outdoor swimming pool used to be the quintessential 'Great Australian Dream'. But with rising property prices and increased living costs, that dream is being redefined.

what is the Average Australian Profile?

The average full time annual income in Australia is $80,000, which is bumped up a bit because of high income earners. Even though we are living longer now than a generation ago, the average retirement age is little changed, at 61.5 years.

The cost of housing is up with average rent prices per week at $485/week and the average house price (capital city) is $765,730. In Melbourne it is well above this and in Sydney it is around $1 million. This is where the challenge is for Australians: 40 years ago the average house price was around 5 time’s average earnings and now you can see it is almost 10 times the average annual fulltime earnings.

Other than affordability, what else are Aussies looking for?

Lifestyle is key. People are opting to live in higher density areas for the sake of convenience and location- within close proximity to transport, restaurants – the café culture as it has been called. Our Urban Living Index shows a strong correlation between the most urban/densified suburbs and those with the highest liability ratings.

Australians are opting for a lifestyle of Minimalism - we are 'decluttering' our lives and putting more value on the intangibles like travel. Generation Y aren’t opting for a big home with garages to store all their stuff but more of a focus on the easy-livability of apartment living. Indeed many baby boomers are downsizing from their larger homes in the suburbs to this style of living too.

Renting, as opposed to buying, what some of the benefits?

The ability to change locations easily is well regarded – the average Australian renter stays just 1.8 years per home. Our research shows that 1 in 3 renters are actually 'choice renters' and they choose to rent for lifestyle reasons, not primarily for affordability reasons. These choice renters are twice more likely to be living in medium and high density housing than the average Australian and they are almost 10 years younger than the average Australian. The ability to upsize and downsize easily and the flexibility to travel for extended periods of time is a driver for them. ‘Rentvesting’ is also becoming a ‘thing’. This is where people choose to rent in an area they like, but buy somewhere more affordable and use this as an investment

Generation Y are struggling to attain the Great Australian Dream – are they going to be ok?

There is a challenge emerging of "generational inequity" as shown by this infographic:

Gen Y’s have the least wealth of the working generations and their proportion of Australia’s wealth is less than half their demographic share, while the Baby Boomers who are a quarter of the population, own more than half of Australia’s wealth. (More information on this topic can be found here)

This is why Gen Y is reinventing the Aussie Dream and while they do still like the idea of owning something of their own, it is not just the big home with the back yard in the suburbs. But many in this generation will be absolutely fine thanks to the massive intergenerational wealth transfer set to happen in the next 20 years as those aged over 65 transfer much of their total wealth of $2.5 trillion.

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