Women are struggling more than men to pay for family expenses as wage growth remains at a record low and pay rises have barely kept up with the cost of living.
A new Galaxy Research poll of 1,014 people nationwide, found that 15 per cent of Australian women and 14 per cent of men said they often struggle to support their families.
It’s estimated that the average Australian woman earns about 16 per cent less than the average man. But what affects this data, is not only a pay gap in certain sectors, but the fact that more women work part-time than men.
Wages growth has been at record lows for some time. This has only added to expectations that interest rates will have to be cut again this year to further stimulate the business sector.
The study, which was commissioned by debt solutions provider Fox Symes, also found that 16 per cent equally of both men and women, said they haven’t had a wage increase for several years.
Some 24 per cent of men and 20 per cent of women also say they have considered changing jobs to seek out a higher wage.
“If wages remain flat and costs increase, this obviously places pressures on households,” says Deborah Southon director of Fox Symes, which commissioned the research.
In particular, wage stagnation is placing immense strain on several sectors, specifically, the ‘working poor’ with household incomes of less than $50,000.
Households earning between $50,000 – $100,000 were found to be only slightly better off with 19 per cent scrambling to pay for day to day costs and 16 per cent doing it tough with rents and mortgages.
Only 7 per cent of workers from households earning over $100,000 said they struggle with basic necessities and 6 per cent with housing costs.
“The impact of wage stagnation is particularly noticeable for those in low income households,” says Ms Southon.
“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.”
Wage stagnation and the pressure of everyday expenses has led to increasing debt levels throughout the nation.
One in every 10 workers said they have been forced to rely on their credit card due to their wages inadequately covering expenses.
“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,” says Ms Southon.
“The primary reason people end up in debt is because they spend more than they earn. Budgeting is the key to managing money. It is smart to create a budget and even smarter if you stick to it,” she said.