Sarah Ramantanis on Gen Z cost of living pressures in Australia

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Australian Youth Affairs Coalition (AYAC) co-chair Sarah Ramantanis, has seen many young people juggling multiple jobs due to increased cost of living pressures over the past five years.

Now, with the rise in living costs for employees – up 9.6 percent over the year to June – young people have been impacted both emotionally and financially and left with no choice but to seek out more work, Ms Ramantanis told ABC News in an interview.

The AYAC serves as the national voice for young people, advocating for their rights and addressing specific issues they face. In addition to her work as the co-chair of AYAC, Ms Ramantanis works in communications and marketing at Philanthropy Australia, is involved with Nexus Australia and Kids in Philanthropy, and is passionate about youth and social change.

Ms Ramantanis emphasises the multiple jobs trend started before the pandemic and “it’s only been progressing” with Gen Z Australians putting off career moves in exchange for taking on any kind of work to meet their financial responsibilities.

“They just need to find anything, anywhere to make an income,” she explains.

“It’s hard for young people to even have stable employment in just one role, so they’re always needing to seek more than one or two avenues of revenue so that they can live day-to-day lives.”

It has been widely reported that it is a challenging time for Australian consumers as they face the impact of inflation on their daily expenses.

Recent data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) highlights the significant increases in various sectors. Food and non-alcoholic beverages have risen by 8%, travel and accommodation by 25%, medical services by 6.7%, and electricity by a substantial 15.5%.

The ripple affect means young people between the age of 20 to 24 are not feeling that “strive and ambition” to go out and “follow their ambitions” instead opting for jobs, sometimes more than one, to stay on top of their bills.

Sarah Ramantanis has seen many young people juggling multiple jobs due to the rise in living costs in Australia.

Ms Ramantanis adds this has also cultivated resilience in the young generation to take on more work and “hustle”.

“They’re willing to do what they need to do to get to where they need to be,” Ms Ramantanis said. “They’re hungry to have a positive future, and they’ll do what they can to get there.”

In the past financial year, Australia’s mortgage interest bill doubled to $83bn, with one of the biggest causes of financial stress being housing affordability, reported The Australian.

As young people and students face unique challenges when it comes to employment and wages due to lower qualifications and limited work experience, living costs and stresses are heightened. Workers under 21 years are likely to receive lower wages and pay rates.

A senior economist at the Centre for Future Work, Eliza Littleton, explained, “Professions don’t necessarily offer as viable a career path as they once did [for the younger generation]; the pay is much lower.”

Ms Littleton added, “There’s less security in jobs – those things that workers might go and pursue a career for.”

Source: ABC News

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