Discover the ideal working hours for students in Australia to strike a balance between academics and employment. Optimize your study-work routine for success
Trying to balance a job and full-time study is an increasingly complex juggle for university students in Australia, who face rising living costs.
While many take up part-time work to cover expenses, longer working hours can detrimentally impact academic performance and well-being. This article explores appropriate working hours for students and the effects of overwork.
Also read; Australia Student Visa Requirements
Legal Working Hours for Students in Australia
The Fair Work Act 2009 currently does not limit the number of hours university students can work during semesters. However, international students on student visas confront tighter restrictions. They can only work a maximum of 48 hours per fortnight when their course is in session. However, these foreign students have no caps on their work hours during recognized vacation periods.
Average Weekly Work Hours for students in Australia
According to a Universities Australia survey, the average number of hours worked per week amidst a semester is 16.3 hours for domestic undergraduate students. Meanwhile, international students work an average of 14.2 hours. Research shows heavy workloads beyond 20 hours weekly often correlate to greater psychological distress, impaired concentration, declining grades, and reduced academic success.
Key Reasons Students Work
The primary reasons Australian students take on jobs stem from needing to pay basic living expenses, including accommodation, transport, utilities, internet, phone bills, food costs, and healthcare. Many also work to fund higher university fees or loan repayments.
Other key motivations are gaining professional experience, developing employability skills, transitioning into the workforce post-graduation, achieving financial independence, and building savings. International students often provide financial support for families back home as well.
Consequences of Working Long Hours
Though extra income is indispensable for some, excessive work demands can disrupt educational goals.
Potential ramifications encompass fatigue, burnout, increased stress and anxiety, absenteeism, lack of energy for schoolwork, sacrificing personal study and assignment time, declining academic results, and a higher likelihood of dropping out or taking longer to complete degrees.
Mental health repercussions also ensue without adequate rest and free time. Maintaining equilibrium across multiple commitments grows challenging with overwork.
Geographic variables also influence student working hours. Research by the National Centre for Student Equity in Higher Education highlights that rural university attendees are more likely to engage in longer paid work hours than urban students.
This stems from smaller labor markets and fewer employment options in rural communities. Consequently, rural students confront harsher trade-offs between jobs and study.
Recommendations for Students
While paid work finances essential student living costs, moderating hours is vital to minimize academic disruption. Students should track weekly work hours and assess whether exceeding 24 hours affects their grades, concentration, rest, and personal time.
Starting with limited initial work hours and scaling up gradually, if manageable, is advisable. Improving time management abilities, seeking financial assistance such as scholarships or educational loans, decreasing recreational expenditures or taking up tutoring roles can enable a better work-study balance.
University Support Services
Most Australian universities offer tailored services to help working students thrive.
These include academic skills programs to boost time management, financial assistance resources, mental health, counseling outlets, flexible schedules, internships with academic credit, access support, and equity initiatives. Using relevant university support channels helps buffer the negative stresses of juggling work and study.
Final note on working hours for students in Australia
Navigating part-time employment amidst intensive study is an increasingly ubiquitous challenge for Australian university students needing to fund expenses and repay debt.
While extra income is essential for many, longer working hours’ strain educational performance, health, and wellness. Developing strategies to balance study loads and manage time despite work commitments is crucial for students to achieve their academic goals.
Overall, working in moderation with enough rest, utilizing university support systems, and maintaining focus on learning continue to enable students to excel at work and school.