More mums working and studying to stay out of financial stress


Mark Bristow

Mark Bristow

( 2 min read )

This Mother’s Day, there are 114,800 mums who work, study and care for their children under the age of 15 at the same time, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS). The number of Australian mums in paid employment is reportedly on the rise, making a big difference to the likelihood of their households ending up in financial stress.

The proportion of mothers who are active in the workforce has grown from 46.1% to 53.4% since the 1996 census, with mums being increasingly likely to be employers or self-employed, with this percentage rising from 3.9% to 6.7% over the past 20 years. Mothers working full time were found to be most commonly employed in primary or secondary education, hospitals, and aged care, according to the 2016 census, with the most common occupation for full-time working mothers being a general clerk performing administrative duties.

The employment status of an Australian household has been found to strongly influence the level of financial stress the household experiences. According to the 2014 General Social Survey (GSS) from the ABS, households where the responding person was unemployed or not in the labour force for other reasons were more likely to experience symptoms of financial stress, such as:

  • Cash flow problems preventing bills from being paid on time;
  • Being unable to raise $2000 within a week for important expenses, or;
  • Undertaking dissaving actions, such as drawing on savings, increasing a credit card balance by $1000 or more, or taking out a personal loan.

The ABS also found that the proportion of mothers with post-school qualifications has greatly increased from 23.2% to 51.5% since 1996, with qualifications in accounting and business management becoming more popular and qualifications in nursing and hairdressing becoming less common. According to the GSS, parents with high educational attainment may serve as role models for their children, and may be more likely to have the financial resources to provide support for their children while they are studying.

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