Australian Bureau of Statistics

Rate the ABS website
ABS Home > Statistics > By Catalogue Number
ABS @ Facebook ABS @ Twitter ABS RSS ABS Email notification service
6209.5 - Labour Mobility and Intentions, Western Australia, Oct 2008  
Latest ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 10/06/2009  First Issue
   Page tools: Print Print Page Print all pages in this productPrint All RSS Feed RSS Bookmark and Share Search this Product

SUMMARY OF FINDINGS


LABOUR MOBILITY AND INTENTIONS

In the decade prior to 2008, the Western Australian economy experienced rapid growth fuelled by high commodities prices in the mining sector. It experienced sustained low levels of unemployment and a shortage of skilled workers. With rising job opportunities, there was a noticeable increase in employment mobility. This publication presents findings from the 2008 Labour Mobility and Intentions Survey. It provides information about the levels of labour mobility that occurred over the two years prior to October 2008 as well as the education and work intentions of those currently in, or intending to return to, the labour force.

Since the survey was run, the global economic downturn has had a significant effect on the labour market. The findings of this survey will serve to provide a basis for comparison with labour mobility in WA following the downturn.


WORKING POPULATION OVERVIEW

  • In October 2008, there were an estimated 1,477,800 usual residents of private dwellings in Western Australia (WA) aged 15 years and over included in the scope for this survey. Excluded were people who were permanently unable to work and people aged 65 years and over permanently not intending to work. The survey population included people who were employed, unemployed or not in the labour force. Of these, 51% were males and 49% were females.
  • An estimated 1,155,000 Western Australians were employed. Of these, 83% were working for an employer and 17% were in their own business. Of the 200,500 owner operators, 96% had fewer than 20 employees (Table 3).
  • Three quarters (76%) of employed Western Australians were living in the Perth Metropolitan area.
  • 34,000 employed Perth residents worked outside the Perth metropolitan area all or most of the time. Over half (54%) were employed in the mining industry.
  • In the three years prior to the survey, 148,900 people moved to WA from overseas and interstate. Of these 46% moved to WA for work opportunities.
  • 600,100 employed West Australians had a post school qualification and almost two thirds (65%) were working in the field of their highest qualification.
  • In the two year period before the survey, 261,400 employees had changed jobs and 105,800 persons who were not currently working had ceased a job.
  • The main reason for changing jobs was 'to obtain a better job or just wanted a change' (48%). For people who were not currently working, the main reason given for leaving their last job was family reasons (30%). This was more common among females (38%) than males (10%).
  • At the time of the survey, one in ten (115,500) employed persons intended to leave their current job within 12 months.
  • An estimated 276,800 Western Australians intended to undertake study for work related reasons.
Diagram: Working Population Overview


END NOTES

1. Excluding persons who are permanently unable to work and persons aged 65 years and over permanently not intending to work.

2. Refer to the Glossary under 'Employment type'.

3. Includes people intending to leave work permanently.


CURRENT OCCUPATION

Information about current occupation and industry was obtained by merging data from August and November Labour Force data with the Labour Mobility and Intentions Survey. For further information see Explanatory Notes.

Of the 1,155,000 employed persons in WA almost one in five (18% or 209,500) employed persons were working as Professionals. The next most common groups were Technicians and trades workers (16%) and Clerical and administrative workers (14%). Managers and Labourers represented a further 12% and 10% respectively of employed persons (Table 3).

As shown in the figure below there were differences in occupation between the sexes. The most common occupations among males were Technicians and trades workers, Professionals, Managers and Machinery operators and drivers (25%, 17% 14% and 13% respectively) while for females they were Clerical and administrative workers (25%), Professionals (20%) , Sales workers (14%) and Community and personal service workers (13%).

CURRENT OCCUPATION, By Sex
Graph: CURRENT OCCUPATION, By Sex


Differences in occupation were also found between people working for an employer and those in their own business. For example, the proportion identifying their occupation as Manager was higher among those operating their own business (23%) than those working for an employer (9%). Similarly, Technicians and trades workers represented 22% of self employed people and 15% of those working for an employer (Table 3).


INDUSTRY OF CURRENT OCCUPATION

The three most commonly reported industries of current occupation were Retail trade (11%), Construction (10%) and Health care and social assistance (10%) (Table 2).

Among males, the three most common industries were Construction (16%), Manufacturing (11%) and Mining (8%) while for females, they were Health care and social assistance (18%), Retail trade (15%) and Education and training (11%) (Table 3).

SELECTED INDUSTRIES OF CURRENT OCCUPATION, By Sex
Graph: SELECTED INDUSTRIES OF CURRENT OCCUPATION, By Sex


Among people working for an employer, Retail trade and Health care and social assistance were the most commonly reported industries (12% and 11% respectively). Almost one quarter (23%) of people working in their own business were in the Construction industry (Table 3).


WORKING IN THE MINING INDUSTRY

WA's economic boom was based on the success of the mining industry. This success was felt in other industries, where people provided support services, or were contracted to provide services. The survey also captured information on the extent of their association with the mining industry (See Explanatory Notes).

Of the 63,400 employed persons classified as working in the Mining industry, almost six in ten (59%) reported that they worked directly in a mining operation, 29% in a mining support activity and 6% were contracted to the mining industry (Table 7).

In addition, approximately one in five (19%) people in the Transport, postal and warehousing and the Professional, scientific and technical services industries and 13% of people in the Manufacturing industry reported that they were working in a mining support activity.

People contracted to the mining industry included 13% of those in Transport, postal and warehousing industry, 12% in Professional, scientific and technical services, 9% in Manufacturing and 8% of those working in the Construction industry (Table 7).


WORKING TIME SPENT AWAY FROM PERTH

One aspect of the resources boom was that many people working in the mining industry and associated industries were working as fly-in fly-out workers. Furthermore, a number of other workers in other industries (e.g. Transport, postal and warehousing) also travelled outside the Perth metropolitan area for their work.

To establish the number of people affected by this working arrangement, respondents who were usual residents of Perth were asked whether they worked outside the metropolitan area for 'all or most of the time', 'some of the time' or whether they worked exclusively in the Perth metropolitan area (Table 8).

Of the estimated 876,000 employed persons in WA who were usual residents of Perth, 21% spent some time working outside the metropolitan area (4% outside Perth all or most of the time and 17% some of the time). There was some variation in this pattern according to the metropolitan statistical region in which people lived. The South East Metropolitan Statistical Region had the lowest proportion of residents spending at least some time working outside the Perth metropolitan area (17%) while the Central Metropolitan Statistical Region had the highest (27%) (Table 8).

Among Perth residents who worked outside the Perth metropolitan area all or most of the time, 44% (15,000) had an Advanced diploma, Diploma or Certificate as their highest level of education. A further 25% had Year 12 and 19% had Year 11 as their highest qualification. Only 12% had a bachelor degree or higher.

Working time spent away from Perth, By level of qualification
Graph: Working time spent away from Perth, By level of qualification


People working outside Perth all or most of the time were concentrated in particular occupations including Machinery operators and drivers (37%), Technicians and trades workers (21%) and Professionals (16%).

Among people working outside Perth some of the time the most common occupations were Professionals (36%), Managers (25%) and Technicians and trades workers (13%).

Of the 876,000 employed persons usually resident in Perth, only 4% worked directly in the mining industry. However, of these people 72% worked outside Perth all or most of the time. By comparison, while people in the Transport, postal and warehousing industry accounted for a similar proportion (5%) of Perth's employed usual residents, only 24% spent any time working outside the Perth metropolitan area (Table 8).


WORKING IN FIELD OF HIGHEST QUALIFICATION

Over half (52%) of WA's employed population had a non-school qualification. Of this group, two thirds (65%) were working in the field of their highest qualification. The proportions working in the field of their highest qualification were greater among those whose highest qualifications were in the fields of Education (76%), Health (72%) and Information Technology (71%) (Table 9).

Working in the field of highest qualification was most common in occupational categories that required specialised training such as Professionals and Technicians and trades workers. Over one third (35%) of males and 50% of females working in the field of highest qualification were employed as Professionals. Among males, a further 36% working in the field of highest qualification were Technicians and trades workers (Table 9).

WORKING IN FIELD OF QUALIFICATION, Selected Occupations - by Sex
Graph: WORKING IN FIELD OF QUALIFICATION, Selected Occupations—by Sex



REASON FOR NOT WORKING IN FIELD OF HIGHEST QUALIFICATION

The main reasons given by the 210,900 employed people who were not working in the field of their highest qualification were that they wanted a change (28%), they sought better pay (14%), family, personal or ill health (12%), no jobs in field (12%) and dissatisfaction with current job (12%) (Table 10).

Similar proportions of men (26%) and women (29%) wanted a change. However, a higher proportion of females cited family, personal or ill health (19%) compared with 6% of males as reasons for not working in the field of their qualification. One in five males (19%) cited better pay as the main reason.


MOVED TO WESTERN AUSTRALIA WITHIN LAST 3 YEARS

In the three years prior to the survey, an estimated 148,900 people aged 15 years and over moved to WA, with almost two thirds (63%) arriving from overseas and the remainder from interstate. Overall, almost half (46%) came to WA for work opportunities. However, the proportion was higher among interstate migrants (52%) than migrants from overseas (43%) (Table 11). This difference could be explained by overseas migrants having moved here for non-work related reasons such as family reunion, change of lifestyle or as refugees.

Over two thirds (69%) of these recent arrivals indicated an intention of remaining in WA for at least another three years. Another 14% indicated that they would leave WA within three years while 17% were undecided (Table 2).

Almost two thirds (64%) of the 55,700 people who had moved to WA from interstate were living in the Perth metropolitan area while the remainder were living in regional WA. The difference in settlement patterns was more marked among the 93,100 who migrated to WA from overseas, with 84% living in the Perth metropolitan area and 17% living in regional WA (Table 2). This may be explained by interstate migrants having moved here specifically to take up employment opportunities in the mining industry in areas outside Perth, whereas overseas migrants may be more concerned with getting established in a new country and accessing resources in the metropolitan area that enable re-settlement.

Place of usual residence, By place of origin - Recent Migrants (a) and Residents
Graph: Place of usual residence, By place of origin — Recent Migrants (a) and Residents


Three quarters (77%) of the people who migrated to WA in the previous three years were employed in 2008. For people who migrated from interstate the proportion employed was 79%, compared with 76% of those from overseas (Table 11).

People who arrived from interstate tended to have higher education levels than overseas migrants. Among people from interstate, 43% had a highest education level of Advanced diploma, diploma or certificate, while among those from overseas, the corresponding proportion was 31%. Conversely, 15% of people from interstate had a highest education level of Year 12, compared with 25% of people from overseas.

At the upper and lower levels of education there was no significant difference between the two migrant groups. A bachelor degree or higher was held by 28% of interstate migrants and 27% of overseas migrants while 14% and 17% respectively had a highest education level of Year 11 or below.

A larger proportion of migrants from interstate (41%) were working in the field of their highest qualification. The comparable proportion for people who had moved to WA from overseas was 30% (Table 2). This difference could be due to a range of factors including difficulties entering the labour market because of language barriers, or overseas qualifications that were not recognized in WA.


EMPLOYEES WHO CHANGED JOBS WITHIN LAST 2 YEARS

The focus in this section is job change among WA's 954,900 employees. Excluded are people in their own incorporated businesses who are normally classified as employees, and other owner managers.

At the time of the survey, 375,700 employees (39%) had been in their current job for less than two years. Of these, 74% of males and 65% of females had ceased a previous job within the past two years.

An estimated 19,200 (7%) employees had been self employed in their previous job while 92% had remained employees (Table 13).

The proportion of 15-24 year olds who had changed jobs (55%) was substantially lower than the proportion for older age groups (over 73%). One explanation is that the 15-24 year age group includes a higher proportion of people who are entering the work force for the first time. People in the 15-24 year age group represented over half (52%) of those who had not had a previous job.

Of the employees who had had a previous job in the two years prior to the survey, the largest group were Professionals (17%) followed by Technicians and trades workers and Clerical and administrative workers (14% each) (Table 13).


OCCUPATION CHANGE

Almost half (48%) of the 261,400 employees who had changed job had moved into a different occupation. The proportion changing occupation was highest among people who were currently Managers (66%) and lowest among people who were currently Professionals (33%) (Table 14).


INDUSTRY CHANGE

Approximately 61% (159,700) of employees who changed job in the two years prior to the survey had moved to a job in a different industry (Table 14).

As shown in the figure below, change of industry was highest among people who in their current job were employed as Clerical and administrative workers, Machinery operators and drivers and Technicians and trades workers (79%, 75% and 66% respectively).

OCCUPATION AND INDUSTRY MOBILITY
Graph: OCCUPATION AND INDUSTRY MOBILITY


In the two years prior to October 2008, a large proportion of people in Construction (17%), Information media and communications (25%) and Administrative support industries (13%) had moved into the mining industry (data available on request).


MAIN REASON FOR LEAVING PREVIOUS JOB

The most common reasons given by employees for changing their job were to obtain a better job/just wanted a change (48%), unsatisfactory work arrangements (20%) and family reasons (12%). A further 7% changed jobs because they lost their job or their employer went out of business.

There were few differences between the sexes in motivations for leaving the previous job. However, more females left to obtain a better job or to have a change and for family reasons. More males left because of unsatisfactory work arrangements, loss of job, the employer going out of business or the job ended.

Main reason for leaving previous job
Graph: Main reason for leaving previous job



INTENDING TO CHANGE FROM CURRENT JOB AND MAIN REASON FOR CHANGE

Respondents were asked about their future job intentions (see Explanatory Notes). Of the 1,155,000 people who were working at the time of the survey, one in ten indicated an intention to leave their current job within the next twelve months (Table 18).

While there was no difference in the overall proportion of males and females intending to leave their current job, there were some differences by age. Almost one in five (18%) 15-24 year olds and 14% of 25-34 year olds intended to change jobs. In the older age groups (35-44 years and 45 years and over) the proportions intending to change were 7% and 6% respectively.

The proportion of people who intended to change their job was higher among people working for an employer (11%) than among those working in their own business (5%).

Over half (55%) of those intending to move were planning to move to a job within the same industry while a further 39% intended to move to a different industry. A planned change of industry was more common among younger job changers, with 58% of 15-24 year olds and 36% of 25-34 year olds intending to change industry. By contrast, 27% of 35-44 year olds and 22% of persons aged 45 years and over intended changing industry (Table 19).

The higher proportion of young people intending to change industry was probably due to more younger people being in casual employment, especially in retail. People working in the retail industry accounted for 22% of those who intended to change industry. As shown in Table 6, 15-24 year olds accounted for the same proportion (22%) of people employed in the retail industry.

People working in the field of their highest educational qualification represented almost half (48%) of those intending to move to a job in the same industry. In contrast, over half (55%) those working without a non-school qualification intended moving to a job in a different industry.

Intention to change industry, Whether working in field of highest qualification
Graph: Intention to change industry, Whether working in field of highest qualification



REASON FOR INTENDING TO LEAVE CURRENT JOB

The main reason given for intending to leave a current job was to obtain a better job or simply a change (52%). This reason was reported more often by males (57%) than females (47%). A further 11% were leaving for family reasons and 10% were leaving because of unsatisfactory work arrangements, pay or hours. Leaving for family reasons was more common among females (18%) than males (6%) (Table 20).


INTENTION TO STUDY WITHIN THE NEXT THREE YEARS

One consequence of the resources boom was a shortage of skilled labour. In response to this shortage and for the need for infrastructure planning, information was collected on study intentions.

An estimated 276,800 persons (49% males and 51% females) intended to study for a career or job related educational qualification within the next three years. Those intending to study included 23% of people who were not currently employed and 18% of people who were employed.

As shown in Table 21, age was a factor associated with study intentions. Over half (54% or 148,200) those intending to study were aged 15-24 years and of this group, 65% (96,900) were full time students.

One in five (20%) males who intended studying for work purposes were currently employed as Technicians and trades workers, 14% as Labourers and 12% as Professionals. Among females intending to study, 17% were currently employed as Sales workers, 14% as Professionals and 11% as Clerical and administrative workers.

Almost half (49%) of those intending to study indicated an intention to stay in their current job for the next twelve months while 14% said they would be leaving (Table 21).


INTENDED LEVEL OF STUDY

Over one quarter (28%) of those intending to study intended to study for a Bachelor degree, 18% intended to study for a Certificate III/IV and 14% intended to study for a Postgraduate degree.

Full time students aged 15-24 years had a higher proportion who were intending to study for a Bachelor degree (42%) than the remainder of people intending to study (34%). Lower proportions of full time students intended to do a Postgraduate degree (6%), Advanced Diploma/Diploma (8%) and Certificate III/IV (8%). This compares with 34%, 26% and 43% respectively for those who were not full time students.


INTENDED EDUCATIONAL INSTITUTION

Almost half (49%) of those intending to study for work related reasons intended to enrol at University or an other higher education institution, while 31% intended enrolling at TAFE or technical college (Table 23).


Bookmark and Share. Opens in a new window

Commonwealth of Australia 2014

Unless otherwise noted, content on this website is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 Australia Licence together with any terms, conditions and exclusions as set out in the website Copyright notice. For permission to do anything beyond the scope of this licence and copyright terms contact us.