Australia’s low-paid workforce a threat to wages growth

Carers – aged care, childcare and disability care workers – have been the No.1 growth occupation in the past 10 years, with an additional 170,000 workers added between the 2006 and 2016 censuses. The majority are women. . . .

Caring roles – caring for children, the sick, the disabled and the elderly – have for the most part fallen to women and historically have largely been unpaid. . . .

Formalisation and expansion of these historically unpaid roles can be considered to be a relatively good thing – especially for women. The care workforce has opened up employment opportunities for many workers, particularly older women. It’s also removed barriers to employment, freeing women up to pursue other paid work opportunities. And it also means that finally some of the work that women have always done can now actually be counted. But there are plenty of problems with building such a large low-paid workforce, not least for the workers themselves.  . . .

Meanwhile, childcare workers continue to advocate a pay rise but earlier this year lost a five-year wage case as unions were unable to prove comparable worth to male-dominated industries.
[category Aust, workforce discrimination, inequity]

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