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1301.0 - Year Book Australia, 2008  
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 07/02/2008   
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Contents >> Labour >> Labour mobility (Article)

FEATURE ARTICLE 2: LABOUR MOBILITY

The labour market is dynamic in nature. In an environment that has seen a move away from a 'job for life', competition for skilled workers, and an increasing need to accommodate people's work and family lives, there is considerable interest in measuring the extent of labour mobility.

The 2006 Labour Mobility Survey (LMS) was conducted by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) in February 2006, as a supplement to the ABS monthly Labour Force Survey. The LMS collects data on a number of aspects of mobility within the labour market. It describes the extent to which people change their employer/business throughout the year. It also collects information on those people who have been with their employer for one year or more and who have experienced a change in work, such as a promotion, transfer, change in occupation or a change in usual hours, with that employer. These measures give an overall view of the extent of labour mobility within the labour market.

This article focuses on employees (excluding owner managers of incorporated enterprises) who have been with their current employer for one year or more and have experienced a change in work with that employer in the 12 months prior to February 2006.


Overview

At February 2006 there were six million employees (excluding owner managers of incorporated enterprises) who had been with their employer for one year or more. Of these, more than a quarter (27%) had experienced some change in work in the 12 months prior to February 2006. Some employees may have experienced more than one type of change in work over the period. The most commonly reported change was in the number of usual hours worked (13%), followed by promotion (12%), transfer (11%) and a change in occupation (6%).

For women, the most commonly reported change was in usual hours worked (17%), followed by promotion (12%), transfer (11%), and change of occupation (6%). In contrast, the most commonly reported changes for men were promotion (13%), transfer (10%), change in usual hours worked (10%), and change in occupation (5%) (graph 8.26).


8.26 Employees(a) who experienced some change in work(b)(c)
Graph: 8.26 Employees(a) who experienced some change in work(b)(c)


Age and sex

Younger people were more likely to experience a change in work than older people. Just over a third (34%) of employees aged 25-34 years had experienced a change in work in the 12 months prior to February 2006, compared with just over a sixth (17%) of people aged 55 years and over.

Women were more likely to experience a change in work than men (30% of female employees compared with 24% of male employees). This was consistent across all age groups. For women, the age group in which most change occurred was 25-34 years, with 38% of female employees in this age group experiencing a change in work in the 12 months prior to February 2006 (graph 8.27).

8.27 Employees(a) who experienced some change in work(b)(c), by age
Graph: 8.27 Employees(a) who experienced some change in work(b)(c), by age

Employees aged 15-19 years were most likely to change their usual hours (23% of women and 13% of men), possibly reflecting the need for young people to make adjustments to their hours of work to balance work and education. Thereafter, the rate at which women changed their usual hours increased again for those aged 25-44 years, perhaps reflecting adjustments made in order to balance work and family responsibilities. Promotion and transfer rates for both sexes were highest for those aged 25-34 years and dropped quite markedly thereafter (table 8.28).
8.28 EMPLOYEES(a) WHO EXPERIENCED SOME CHANGE IN WORK(b)(c), By category of change

Age group (years)
15-19
20-24
25-34
35-44
45-54
55-59
60 and over
%
%
%
%
%
%
%

MALES

Changed usual hours worked
13.5
13.5
10.7
9.3
8.2
8.0
9.1
Promoted
10.5
17.5
19.6
12.7
8.5
6.1
2.6
Transferred
7.8
11.8
13.7
11.5
8.2
7.3
3.6
Changed occupation
4.6
5.7
7.3
5.9
4.4
3.5
1.8

FEMALES

Changed usual hours worked
22.8
15.4
19.6
19.3
15.2
13.7
13.1
Promoted
10.5
18.6
18.8
12.3
7.3
5.1
2.8
Transferred
7.6
14.6
16.3
11.9
8.6
4.8
2.7
Changed occupation
4.4
9.2
9.3
7.3
4.2
2.6
1.5

PERSONS

Changed usual hours worked
18.1
14.4
14.7
14.0
11.7
10.8
10.7
Promoted
10.5
18.1
19.2
12.5
7.9
5.6
2.7
Transferred
7.7
13.1
14.9
11.7
8.4
6.1
3.3
Changed occupation
4.5
7.4
8.2
6.6
4.3
3.0
1.7

(a) Employees (excluding owner managers of incorporated enterprises) who had been with their current employer for one year or more.
(b) In the 12 months to February 2006.
(c) People may have experienced more than one change in work during the year.
Source: Labour Mobility, Australia (6209.0).



Full-time or part-time status

People who were full-time employees at February 2006 were more likely to have been promoted, transferred to a different position or changed occupation in the previous 12 months than those who worked part time. In contrast, the proportion of part-time employees who changed the number of usual hours worked was more than double that of full-time employees (23% and 10% respectively). Women employed part time at February 2006 were more likely to have changed their number of usual hours worked than men (24% compared with 20%). At February 2006, the most common change experienced by full-time employees was promotion (15%). The majority (89%) of employees who were promoted were full-time employees (58% men and 42% women) (graph 8.29).

8.29 Employees(a) who experienced some change in work(b)(c), by full-time or part-time status at February 2006
Graph: 8.29 Employees(a) who experienced some change in work(b)(c), ^by full-time or part-time status at February 2006

Occupation

Almost a third (32%) of the employees who experienced some change in work were Associate professionals at February 2006. The most common change in work for Associate professionals was promotion (19%). Employees who were Elementary clerical, sales and service workers were most likely to have changed their number of usual hours worked in the previous 12 months.


Industry

The industries with the highest proportions of employees who experienced some change in work in the 12 months prior to February 2006 were Government administration and defence (33%), Finance and insurance (33%) and Personal and other services (31%). The industries with the lowest rates of change in work were Agriculture, forestry and fishing (17%) and Construction (19%) (graph 8.30).

8.30 Employees(a) who experienced some change in work(b)(c), by industry(d)
Graph: 8.30 Employees(a) who experienced some change in work(b)(c), ^by industry(d)


Duration with employer

Employees who had been with their current employer for between two and five years were most likely to have experienced some change in work. Almost a third (31%) of employees who had been with their current employer for between two and five years experienced some change in work in the 12 months prior to February 2006, compared with less than a fifth (19%) of employees who had worked with their current employer for 20 years or more. For employees who had been with their employer for 20 years or more, the most common change in work was in the number of usual hours worked (10%). This may be partly due to older people starting to reduce their hours in preparation for retirement (graph 8.31).

8.31 Employees(a) who experienced some change in work(b)(c), by duration with employer
Graph: 8.31 Employees(a) who experienced some change in work(b)(c), ^by duration with employer

States and territories

Employees in the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) were most likely to have experienced some change in work (37%) in the 12 months prior to February 2006, followed by Queensland and the Northern Territory (both 30%). Female employees in the ACT had the highest overall rates of change in work (40%), with the rate particularly high for those aged 25-34 years (50%). New South Wales (NSW) and Tasmania had the lowest overall rates of change in work among employees (24% and 25% respectively). Less than a tenth (9%) of employees in NSW transferred to a different position compared with almost a fifth (18%) of employees in the ACT. Similarly, employees in NSW had a relatively low rate of promotion (11%), and were less likely to have changed their usual hours (12%) or their occupation (5%) than employees in other states and territories (table 8.32).

8.32 EMPLOYEES(a) WHO EXPERIENCED SOME CHANGE IN WORK(b)(c), By state and territory

Promoted
Transferred
Changed usual hours worked
Changed occupation
Total
%
%
%
%
'000

New South Wales
11.1
9.2
12.1
5.1
2 008.8
Victoria
12.1
9.8
13.2
5.3
1 539.5
Queensland
14.0
13.1
14.9
7.2
1 124.7
South Australia
12.4
10.3
14.5
6.3
478.1
Western Australia
13.1
11.5
14.5
5.8
580.0
Tasmania
10.7
9.9
13.5
7.2
139.9
Northern Territory
15.4
16.6
14.3
*7.7
48.0
Australian Capital Territory
17.1
18.0
15.8
8.0
123.1
Australia
12.3
10.7
13.5
5.8
6 042.1

* estimate has a relative standard error of 25% to 50% and should be used with caution
(a) Employees (excluding owner managers of incorporated enterprises) who had been with their current employer for one year or more.
(b) In the 12 months to February 2006.
(c) People may have experienced more than one change in work during the year.
Source: Labour Mobility, Australia (6209.0).


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