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One-quarter of ANZ shift workers unable to cover living expenses with their pay

One-quarter of ANZ shift workers unable to cover living expenses with their pay

Deputy’s State of Shift Work Survey explores shift workers' experiences and job satisfaction across Australia and New Zealand.

SYDNEY, 4 SEPTEMBER 2023 — As the cost of living crisis continues to rise, shift workers across Australia and New Zealand are feeling the pinch, with roughly one-quarter (22%) saying that they are unable to cover their living expenses on their current salary, according to a new survey by shift work management company, Deputy.

Another 53% of shift workers surveyed said that while they are able to cover their living expenses, they do not have any money left to put towards savings, while only 25% have money left after paying living expenses. 

The State of Shift Work Survey was commissioned by Deputy to explore the experiences and job satisfaction of shift workers across Australia and New Zealand. Deputy surveyed a total of 1,597 ANZ respondents, made up of both customer and non-customer responses. 

A fifth of shift workers believe they are not being paid fairly 

Since mid-2021, inflation has been on the rise in both Australia and New Zealand. While (26%) of shift workers said their pay rate increased in line with inflation, 24% said they saw an increase, but it was not in line with inflation. A mere 15% were fortunate to see their salaries rise faster than inflation.

The size of a business plays a major role in wage increases shift workers receive in relation to inflation. For example, only 5% of those working in small companies (less than 100 employees) said their pay rate increased faster than inflation, while 30% of those working in large companies (more than 1,000 employees) said the same.

Overall, a fifth of respondents in ANZ said they do not believe they are being paid fairly for their jobs (20%), and 44% want their employers to offer better pay.

In fact, many are taking matters into their own hands, with 24% of respondents saying they are working more than one job with more than one employer. Gen Z was the most likely to change jobs if offered more pay (70%), while 52% of millennials, 50% of Gen X and 39% of baby boomers said the same.

A quarter of Gen Z want to leave shift work for another industry

When asked what their future plans are for their current job, Gen Z was significantly more likely to want to switch to a new industry. 26% of Gen Z was keen to switch to a new industry, while only 12% of millennials, 7% of Gen X and 8% of baby boomers said the same. In fact, 44% of millennials, 59% of Gen X and 69% of baby boomers said they wanted to stay in their current position compared to 29% of Gen Z. 

To delve further into how they perceived shift work, respondents were asked what they liked and disliked about shift work.

40% of Gen Z respondents and 25% of millennial respondents selected difficulty in managing their fluctuating incomes as their biggest dislike. 33% of Gen Z selected unpredictable schedules, which make it impossible to plan and 29% of Gen Z also selected health impacts such as a poor sleep schedule, while 28% of millennials selected less job security. Baby boomers had an overwhelmingly positive attitude, with 32% saying they did not dislike anything about shift work. 

59% of Gen Z, 53% of millennials and 50% of Gen X selected schedule flexibility as what they liked about shift work, while another 50% of Gen X and 58% of baby boomers selected the ability to fit in other commitments.

ANZ shift workers are required to work more shifts due to labour shortages

During the pandemic, migrant workers and international students returned home and many businesses still continue to feel the impacts of this exodus of labour, with 45% of ANZ shift workers stating their employer had difficulty hiring in the last 12 months.

When asked how shift workers were impacted by their employer’s inability to hire, 41% said they are required to work more shifts, 27% said they have new responsibilities and a mere 15% said they received a promotion. Another 15% of respondents said their pay had increased as a result, but 18% expressed worry they are putting themselves at risk by working.

“If there’s one thing these survey findings have uncovered, it is that shift workers are incredibly resilient, and many are putting in extra hours and overextending themselves in order to help their workplaces stay afloat amid rising costs. This is an opportunity for business owners to consider how they recognise the contribution of these employees, as the desire for feeling valued and recognised stood out as a top motivator for shift workers who love their workplace at 50% in ANZ,” said Emma Seymour, Chief Financial Officer at Deputy.

“The survey also found that 61% of respondents believe that their job will change significantly over the next two years due to new technology and the use of artificial intelligence. While this is likely an inevitable development of the industry, business leaders should consider how they can use these technologies as a tool for improving productivity rather than replacing shift workers, who make up the heart and soul of the businesses we interact with on a daily basis,” she added.

To check out the State of Shift Work Survey, click here or download the report below.

State of Shift Work Report 2023 (Australia).pdf 7 MB

About Deputy

Deputy is building technology to address global challenges experienced by scheduled employees and the industries they work in. Deputy’s platform bridges technology and communications gaps between frontline teams and decision-makers, enabling people to control their schedules, collaborate intuitively, and plan their lives outside work. 

Deputy strengthens employer-employee relations and revolutionises how scheduled workers and businesses operate together, creating thriving workplaces in every community. Over 330,000 workplaces use Deputy to improve work-life experiences for more than 1.4 million scheduled workers globally. Visit, or find us on Twitter, Facebook, the App Store or Google Play for more information.

State of Shift Work Survey

Deputy partners with market research firm Dimensional Research to conduct its global State of Shift Work Survey annually. This survey was conducted between May 26 – June 26, 2023. Half of the respondents were Deputy users, and the other half were not. 

Participants were invited to participate in an online survey. Various questions were asked on topics including job satisfaction, scheduling practices, wages, well-being, and technology in the workplace. Certain questions were repeated from similar 2020 and 2021 surveys to enable trend analysis.​

Mat Beeche
Mat Beeche Global Strategic Communications Director



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