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Time over money: Australian workers would rather have more flexible hours than more pay


Airtasker’s third Future of Work study has revealed that up to 38 per cent of Australians intend to outsource their chores to free up time in 2016. As a benchmark, around 30 per cent of Australians currently employ others to complete their housework.

Meanwhile, for the first time in the study series, the majority of workers (38 per cent) indicated that flexibility was more important to them than pay when looking for work.

The study serves as the first key piece of research tying together several workplace trends hinted at in 2015.  Last year it was revealed that Sydney barrister Bridie Nolan spends up to $6500 a week outsourcing chores.

Meanwhile, tales of incredibly flexible work situations are also becoming increasingly common. KPMG management consultant Katie Drover reduced her workload down to four days a week in order to DJ on weekends.

The findings comes as part of Airtasker and Pureprofile’s third Future of Work study, which surveyed representative sample of 1002 Australians on work and life trends.

What do these findings mean?

“The figures note a distinct shift in the mindset of the Australian worker. The idea of attaining a work-life balance is no longer about the amount of hours worked,” Airtasker CEO Tim Fung said.

“It’s is now all about getting the most out of your free time, and maximising your earning potential by working smarter.”

“Now that Australian workers can earn a sizeable, reliable income whilst maintaining a flexible lifestyle by working on sharing economy platforms, traditional employers will need to think about  how they create an equally enticing work environment.

“Meanwhile, Aussie consumers are learning that they can get even more done by outsourcing their chores to locals in their neighbourhood – they’re creating free time whilst getting more done.”

Tim Fung
Tim Fung

What else did the Airtasker find out?

The study also revealed that:

  • Approximately 40 per cent of those surveyed indicated they would be looking for a new job in 2016, while around 80 per cent of people want to supplement their regular income in 2016.
  • Around 81.5 per cent agree that the the traditional employment model of the 9-5 office job is inflexible for workers in 2016 and into the future. Only 76.4 per cent agreed with this statement in 2015.
  • Of those that intend to outsource chores, the majority (52 per cent) said they would rid themselves of five hours or less of housework per week. Up to 8 per cent indicated they would outsource over 20 hours worth of chores.
  • Almost half (49.2 per cent) indicated that they are aware of Australia’s growing sharing economy movement. The figure represents a 4.4 per cent jump in awareness since the last Sharing Economy monitor in June 2015.
  • An increase in the number of Australians who have used a sharing economy service or app to earn extra income. This rose from 4.1 per cent in 2015 to 6.1 per cent in 2016.

Airtasker’s findings resonate with those of a recent anonymous Press Gazette journalism survey filled in by more than 200 freelancers which found that freelance journalists are concerned about falling pay rates and insecurity – but enjoy the freedom their work offers, with 94 per cent saying they enjoy their jobs.