Polywork on 3AW 693 AM Radio Melbourne with Tony Moclair

Polywork on 3AW 693 AM Radio Melbourne with Tony Moclair and Sue Ellson

Polywork on 3AW 693 AM Radio Melbourne with Tony Moclair

By Sue Ellson

Topic: Polywork and more than one job

Date: 13 February 2024

Media Outlet: 3AW 693AM Melbourne https://www.3aw.com.au

Broadcaster / Interviewer: Tony Moclair

Producer: Bianca Johnston

Duration: 00:04:42

Time of show: 13:39

Audio Recording:

YouTube Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O-r3NPq5rPs

Polywork on 3AW 693AM Radio Melbourne with Tony Moclair and Sue Ellson


The article uh that I had uh came across in the in the Sydney Morning Herald how cost of living pressures made the poly employment trend explode. Yes, if you needed another word to add to your vocab uh let me introduce you to poly employment more Australian hospitality workers are taking up multiple jobs than ever with many looking to quit for better paying gigs to cope with cost of living pressures as cafe and restaurant owners contend with mounting operating costs so says Jessica Yun uh to speak with great expertise about this, Sue Ellson career expert. Good afternoon Sue.

Hi Tony.

So is any other factor driving it apart from the insane inflation we’ve experienced over the last couple of years?

Yes well obviously a lot of people are suffering with the cost of living but also there’s been a huge shift in that area of hospitality where a lot of people are not spending their money on travel, luxury goods furniture and so on. They’re actually not going into the city so they’re spending more of their money in the local area so they might say look, I can afford to go out for coffee maybe not dinner but I can at least do something fun and they’re spending that and you know another really interesting statistic is people are spending less on things like bars, gyms even animal health


And someone I know said that the number of animal adoptions is going down and the number of animal surrenders is going up so you know people are trying to cut costs wherever they can and and so even animals are are facing issues there too.

That’s an interesting economic barometer that I’ve never heard of the animal surrender. I’m not making fun of it


But that’s there’s always these all these subtle signs of economic distress and I guess that’s one of them.


If you’re running a cafe you’ve had a brutal couple of years


Does this compound the problems it was referenced in the article but it’s hard enough to run a cafe if you don’t have the staff to do it


What do you say to people struggling to keep good staff?

Well the people in the hospitality industry are the ones most likely to have multiple jobs but interestingly there’s some data from Seek that says if you put the salary rate down on any job advertisement you’re likely to get a 34% increase in applications and one of the sectors of people who are not doing as much of the polywork is the older generation so I imagine if you put those two things together and you advertise locally for some people who just want to get out of the house and have some communication you could actually get some affordable workers who live close by who may actually be able to help you out and get you through that time and be socially engaged with their community so I think there’s a way around these things as well.

How does it affect um people starting out in their job careers? My wife and I have a 17-year-old he’s at McDonald’s.


But um uh so he’s not going to the city for that he’s he’s doing it locally but I know it was referenced that phenomenon was referenced in the article but are we seeing people entering the job markets with two jobs rather than one?

Well the actual number of people having more than one job is at its highest level since records started in 1994 at 6.7% Now interestingly what your son’s doing is a very traditional way.


Of going into a fast food restaurant and getting the training and so on but what the stats are also showing is that more of these young people are going into cafes and you know other places like that so people are now actually spending more on food that’s prepared for them and that’s an interesting trend. So if they’re not going traveling and spending in that area they’re going in these others so a lot of those are coming in that and the other thing that I think that they’re called the alpha generation the latest one coming through is they’re going to have the cost of their studies they’re going to have the cost of buying a new home, getting a car all those sorts of things so if they’re really keen to get ahead in life and start saving from day one they’re probably going to have to have multiple jobs to even be able to afford that and interestingly they’re still getting those social skills which is fantastic.


Uh but yeah I I imagine more of those young people will be doing more of those sort of hospitality type jobs locally but they could also consider where there’s a skills shortage. Now health care is desperately short of people um nursing, education um so if they also, community services, if they consider some of those roles they might actually be able to get some additional experience in those areas as well.

Great work Sue thank you for that Sue Ellson Career Expert uh 13 3693 if you’re working two jobs tell us why tell us how it’s working for you uh on the line

Social Share

POLYWORK // Do you have more than one job right now? By choice, necessity or circumstance? Polywork assumes you choose to do more than one job, but there are a lot of people taking on polywork to make ends meet as a result of the increase in the cost of living or because a flexible or part time role is not available to them.

Tony Moclair and I discussed this topic on Nine‘s 3AW 693AM Radio Melbourne yesterday as a result of an article in the Sydney Morning Herald by Jessica Yun 📻

✅ less people spending money on travel, luxury goods, furniture
✅ more people spending money locally in suburbs according to Deputy research
✅ more hospitality workers in cafes
✅ people spending less on things like bars, gyms even animal health
✅ animal adoptions down and surrenders up
✅ 34% increase in job applications according to Seek if you include the salary figure
✅ people having more than one job is at its highest level since records started in 1994 at 6.7%
✅ alpha generation needing more than one job to make ends meet and save
✅ consider jobs where there is a skills shortage nursing, education, community services

Enjoy the show online at https://sueellson.com/blog/polywork-on-3aw-693-am-radio-melbourne-with-tony-moclair

This link also includes the full interview transcript, references, links and other information you may find helpful.

Thanks to Producer Bianca Johnston for reaching out!

➡️ Are you a polyworker by choice, necessity or circumstance?

➡️ What do you see as the benefits of polywork?

I would love to continue this discussion and hear your perspectives.

#3awmelbourne #polywork #careers #sueellson #tonymoclair

Further information

How cost-of-living pressures made the ‘poly-employment’ trend explode By Jessica Yun The Sydney Morning Herald

The Big Shift: Navigating Australia’s Evolving Employment Landscape (Australia) provided by Deputy with Data Analysis by Dr. Shashi Karunanethy, Labor Economist
https://www.deputy.com/au/insights/the-big-shift-2024 (requires registration to download)


  • polywork rate 6.7% middle 2023, highest since records began 1994 with Hospitality at 7.8%, Healthcare at 7.2%, Retail at 5.6% and Services at 5%
  • most polyworkers are young and female – 58%
  • 65% are Generation Z and 27% are Millenials
  • 48% across multiple industries
  • Millenials joined the workforce during the Global Financial Crisis GFC and Generation Z during COVID
  • most people believe artificial intelligence will change jobs but the increase in our population and the ageing population will see an increase in jobs, particularly in healthcare and nursing
  • jobs that have seen a decline include tour guides, service station attendants and telemarketers
  • job scheduling can reduce the hours that people are needed (just hired for high demand times) but algorithms may also help match people and their life schedules more accurately and provide opportunities for people with other responsibilities (like caring for children or seniors)
  • the night time economy in the central business district is being stimulated by cities to generate more jobs back in the CBD after hours
  • Hospitality has had a 60% increase in shift work hours since 2021
  • Services and Healthcare has seen a 30% rise in shift work
  • spending in supermarkets is down but hospitality has increased by 7.5%
  • less money being spent on furniture, luxury purchases, travel (travel is still not back to pre-pandemic levels) but people are prepared to spend more on small treats that are affordable and available locally and opting for staycations)
  • spending more on essentials including dentists, pharmacists, doctors, disability support but less on childcare, gyms, bars, animal health
  • more women are in shift work overall with 56% in retail, 79% in healthcare, 50% in hospitality and 44% in services
  • 23% of shift workers are considering quitting, especially Generation Z and Baby Boomers
  • 32% of millenials are looking for wellbeing programs as part of a job and 28% would find counselling services appealing

Gigsters Book – for people wanting to use technology to attract aligned gigs

Podcast Recording of the Show – starts at 00:59:33 – 01:05:39
https://omny.fm/shows/3aw-afternoons/3aw-afternoons-with-tony-moclair-13th-february-202 (includes Callers afterwards)

Apple Podcast Full Show

Spotify Full Show

Additional Comments and Links by Sue Ellson

Working Multiple Jobs: 5 Considerations For The Promise And Peril Of Polywork

Trends of 2024 (From employment site Seek)

Salary or work-life balance: which matters more in your industry?
Quote: “SEEK data also shows a 33.9% increase in applications when visible salary is shown on a job ad, so it pays to be transparent.”

Seek Laws Of Attraction Tool – Find out what Australian candidates want (by industry, location, gender and more)

Seek Employment Dashboard January 2024
Job ads up 1.3% and Job applications up 2.1% – Most job ads in Retail 9.6%, Hospitality and Tourism 4.9% and Community Services 4.4%

Labour Force Statistics from Australian Bureau of Statistics December 2023
Unemployment 3.8%
Participation rate 67%
Underemployment 6.5% (not changing)
Youth unemployment 9.4% (increasing)

A few other comments I would like to add…

  • Polywork could be seen as two full time jobs, multiple jobs by choice or multiple jobs by necessity – so the factors influencing could be variety, managing uncertainty and earning more
  • When I wrote Gigsters in 2019, I mentioned that the future of work is work, not jobs – and this trend towards multiple jobs is a step in this direction – especially for people who choose jobs in different industries. It also reduces the risk of going from an income one day to no income the next if a job role ends
  • it would still be nice to see more jobs as ‘part-time’ rather than ‘casual shifts’ to provide some level of economic stability for employees – and to see part-time roles outside of the above industries and right through to senior leadership roles
  • I see polywork as a great opportunity for people to subsidise their passions and interests and to manage specific contexts and situations where they may not be able to take on a traditional role over full time hours
  • polywork is also suitable for people seeking variety and potentially a transition into a new industry without giving up the security of a role where they already have skills so that they can maintain a percentage of their regular income
  • polywork could also be extended to the concept of a voluntary position

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