Australian Bureau of Statistics
4102.0 - Australian Social Trends, 2005
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 12/07/2005
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Underutilised labour: Labour Force Transitions
Proportion of people changing labour force status - 2004
Source: Labour Force, Australia, Detailed - Electronic Delivery, monthly (ABS cat. no. 6291.0.55.001).
...moving from unemployment
Over half of all people aged 15-64 years who were unemployed in one month remained unemployed in the next month (59% of men and 51% of women). A smaller proportion (53%) of young men remained unemployed from one month to the next than men aged 25-44 years (61%) or men aged 45-64 years (64%). This may reflect younger people being more likely to find casual jobs that require low skill levels (see Australian Social Trends 2005, Casual employees). For some young people, these jobs may provide short-term employment while they are studying.
In 2004, the rate of unemployment for mature aged men (annual average of 3.6%) was less than for young men (12.0%). However, older unemployed people often have more difficulty in obtaining work than younger job seekers and are therefore more at risk of remaining unemployed for a long time. (endnote 1)
A greater proportion of unemployed men moved to full-time or part-time employment (23%), while a greater proportion of women withdrew from the labour force (27%) than moved to employment (22%). Some of these women may have temporarily withdrawn from the labour force because they were unavailable or not actively looking for work for a brief period or may have been discouraged from seeking work. Other people may move from being unemployed to not in the labour force for longer-term reasons (for example, undertaking study or retirement).
A greater proportion of unemployed young men entered part-time employment (13%) than did prime working age and mature aged men (9% and 7% respectively). More prime working aged men (15%) gained full-time employment than did young and mature aged men (both 11%). Unemployed women had a greater tendency to gain part-time work (16%) than full-time work (7%).
Three-quarters (75%) of men and almost two-thirds (63%) of women who had been unemployed long-term (52 weeks and over) remained unemployed from one month to the next. Conversely, smaller proportions of shorter-term (less than 52 weeks) unemployed people remained unemployed in the following month (54% of men and 48% of women unemployed in the first month). Many of the moves for long-term unemployed people are between unemployment and being not in the labour force, possibly reflecting discouragement about obtaining a job.
WHETHER MOVED FROM UNEMPLOYMENT - 2004
WHETHER MOVED FROM FULL-TIME EMPLOYMENT - 2004
...moving from full-time employment
Compared to the 1960s, full-time permanent jobs have declined relative to various non-standard types of employment such as part-time or casual employment which have increased. (endnote 2) In 2004, the vast majority of both men (96%) and women (90%) aged 15-64 years who were employed full-time in one month remained in full-time employment in the next month.
It was less common for young men to remain in full-time employment (91%) than prime working aged (97%) and mature aged (96%) men. This reflects the greater labour force mobility of younger men.
The majority of people who did move from full-time employment moved to part-time employment (3% of men and 8% of women who were in full-time employment). A greater proportion of younger men moved to part-time employment (5%) than prime working (2%) or mature aged (3%) men.
WHETHER MOVED FROM PART-TIME EMPLOYMENT - 2004
...moving from part-time employment
For some people seeking to balance work and non-work activities, part-time employment is desirable. Both men and women mature age workers are more likely to work part-time as they approach retirement age, and this appears to be largely by choice. On average in 2004, almost fourth-fifths (79%) of mature aged part-time workers did not want to work more hours.
For others, part-time employment may be seen as a stepping stone to full-time employment with, in some cases, a part-time job easier to find than a full-time job. Financial pressure may induce people to take up casual employment rather than wait for a full-time permanent position. (endnote 3) Other people may work multiple part-time jobs to make up full-time hours (see Australian Social Trends 2005, Casual employees). In 2004, over one-quarter (27%) of part-time workers wanted to work more hours, with a higher proportion of men (35%) wanting more hours than women (24%).
In 2004, most men (73%) and women (83%) who were employed part-time in one month remained in part-time employment in the next month. A greater proportion of women across all three age groups stayed in part-time employment (83%) than men (between 66% and 78%). Over one-quarter (26%) of prime working aged men and one-fifth (20%) of mature aged men who were employed part-time moved from part-time employment to full-time employment. By comparison, around one-tenth (10% and 11%) of both prime working and mature aged women moved from part-time to full-time employment.
...moving from not in the labour force
In 2004, on average there were 3.4 million people aged 15-64 years who were not in the labour force. Interest in these people in this article centres on their potential to participate in the labour force.
On average in 2004, a greater proportion of women were outside the labour force than were men (33% of women and 18% of men aged 15-64 years). Some people not in the labour force are marginally attached to the labour force and want to work, but do not meet the criteria to be unemployed (for example, they may not be available for work in the reference week). In September 2004, over one-fifth (22%) of people not in the labour force were marginally attached to the labour force. (Endnote 4) A small proportion of these marginally attached people were discouraged jobseekers, almost two-thirds (65% in September 2004) of whom were female.
In 2004, the vast majority of people not in the labour force in one month remained outside the labour force in the next month (86% of men and 90% of women). A greater proportion of mature aged men (93%) and women (94%) remained outside the labour force than prime working aged (81% of men and 89% of women) or young people (81% of men and 83% of women). Some mature aged workers might choose to retire, while others, having lost a job, may face difficulties in finding work. Older workers are more likely to become discouraged and drop out of the labour force altogether than people in younger age groups. (endnote 1) Some older discouraged jobseekers may decide to retire rather than to continue to seek employment. Government policies have been introduced to encourage retention of mature age workers in the workforce. These policies have increased the age at which women can access the Age Pension as well as providing incentives for workers to stay on beyond age pension age. (endnote 1)
In 2004, slightly more men than women made themselves available for work by moving from being outside the labour force to being unemployed (6% of men and 4% of women not in the labour force in the first month). The proportion of both men and women moving to unemployment declined with age from levels for young people of 9% of men and 8% of women, to 3% and 2% respectively of mature aged people.
A greater proportion of people outside the labour force moved to employment than to unemployment, with a slightly higher proportion of men moving to full-time employment than women (3% and 1% respectively).
WHETHER MOVED FROM NOT IN THE LABOUR FORCE - 2004
1 Australian Bureau of Statistics 2005, Year Book Australia, cat. no. 1301.0, ABS, Canberra.
2 Watson, I, Buchanan, J, Campbell, et al. 2003, Fragmented Futures, The Federation Press, Australia.
3 Chalmers, J, and Kalb, G. 2000, The transition from unemployment to work. Are casual jobs a short cut to permanent employment?, Discussion paper no. 109, Social Policy Research Centre, Sydney.
4 Australian Bureau of Statistics 2005, Persons Not in the Labour Force, Australia, September 2004, cat. no. 6220.0, ABS Canberra.
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