UTS Journalism, Social and Political Science, Creative Intelligence and Innovation student with a keen interest in sport and social justice
Sarah Hardie is in her twenties and has been working as a personal trainer for the last three years.
“I wake up at 4 a.m., get to the gym by 5 a.m. and often don’t finish until 9 p.m. - at least five days a week,” she said.
“Get home, eat, sleep, repeat.”
Her day reflects a shift in the way Australians live and work.
“Everyone is becoming more aware of what’s healthy and what isn’t, and people... want to get fitter and healthier."
The number of fitness instructors in Australia has doubled in the past 10 years. There are now 27,200 in Australia, while there's also been a massive increase in baristas, who now total 37,200.
Ian Neville, Head of the Department of Labour Market Research and Analysis Branch, says this number is set to rise even further. The department is predicting more than 983,000 new jobs will be created in service-based industries, over the next four years.
“Our increased appetite for specialised services has transformed the labour market," he said. "Jobs that did not exist or employed very few people decades ago, now employ many people.
We would much rather pick up a better quality and more convenient cup of coffee than make it ourselves.
However, as the number of jobs in service-based industries increases, so too does the casualisation of full-time workers.
According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, the rate of casualisation over the last 20 years to 2017, has remained around 25 per cent of all employees.
Dr David Peetz, an economist at Griffith University, said this increasing casualisation is a consequence of our changing economy.
“The way Australians are living is a direct function of the technology that’s available, the incomes they have, and the level of economic development,” he said.
“This often makes it very hard for low-income earners to get a loan for a house for example, while the rich are doing very well out of housing and the poor are doing very badly.”
Casual employment is generally regarded as employment in which there is no entitlement to paid leave such as annual leave, sick leave or carer’s leave.
In Australia, the hourly pay of casual workers is strengthened by a ‘casual loading’ to compensate for the lack of such leave entitlements and usually amounts to an additional 25 per cent.
Mr Peetz said casual employment leaves people open to underpayment and the exploitation of their entitlements.
If people are being paid according to the law, then even casuals [should be] getting superannuation. But this is not always the case.
“Women... work fewer hours per week on average than men and have lower pay on average than men. They often have more interrupted working lives and periods where they are not in employment at all.
“As a consequence of that, they are coming back into the workforce in casual or part-time work and [that] is often used as an excuse to pay them less as well.”
Ms Hardie believes this is generally not a concern for women working in personal training.
“I’ve come across many trainers who have worked right up until their due date... because they’re fit anyway, they can work longer,” she said.
“It’s whether you want it to affect you. If you want to stop working early, it’s up to you. As long as you get straight back into it, it’s not an issue.”
The Australian Council of Trade Unions is the largest peak body representing workers in Australia. It recently launched the Change the Rules movement, campaigning for industrial relations reforms.
Union members volunteered to go on a national door knock, to speak to Australians about the desperate need for pay rises.
ACTU Secretary Sally McManus, said these conversations give people a chance to talk about what the wage crisis means for them.
“The Abbott/Turnbull/Morrison Government has not only watched on as wage growth slowed to nothing and then actually started going backwards," she said. "They have cut penalty rates, capped public sector pay, clung to outdated rules on pay negotiations and refused to prioritise using local providers of goods and services.
“The Morrison Government is the biggest advocate of trickle-down economics Australia has ever seen, it’s extremely out of touch and [there is] no plan to get working people the pay rises they need.”
With the Australian population reaching 25 million this year, Sarah Kaine from the UTS Business School refers to the subsequent increase in the consumption of specialised services.
“Whether that means Australians are becoming more wealthy and time poor, I don’t know.
“It raises the question of what will career paths look like when it comes to saving for a house and later, retirement, when they have been living off a minimum wage or even underpaid for a long period of time.”
Sarah Hardie however, says she is excited about the opportunities ahead.
“It’s hard to find good trainers these days. More people becoming trainers means there’s going to be more good trainers out there… so as long as people are benefiting from it, then it’s a good thing for me and my future work.”