6333.0 - Characteristics of Employment, Australia, August 2016 Quality Declaration 
Latest ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 02/05/2017   
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INDEPENDENT CONTRACTORS

Information presented on independent contractors comprises persons who were employees, owner managers of incorporated enterprises (OMIEs) and owner managers of unincorporated enterprises (OMUEs).

There were just over 1 million persons who were independent contractors in August 2016. Almost three quarters (72%) of all independent contractors were males. More than half (55%) of all independent contractors were aged 45 years and over. (Datacube 14)

The Construction industry division had the most independent contractors (30%) followed by the Professional, scientific and technical services industry division (16%). These industry divisions also had the most male independent contractors (40% and 14% respectively). By comparison, the Professional, scientific and technical services industry division had the most female independent contractors (21%) followed by Health care and social assistance (20%). (Datacube 15)

Graph Image for Distribution of Independent Contractors by Occupation of Main Job by Sex

Source(s): Characteristics of Employment, Australia, August 2016



The occupation groups with the highest number of independent contractors were Technicians and trades workers (27%) and Professionals (24%). These occupation groups also employed the highest proportions of male independent contractors (36% and 19% respectively). In contrast, for female independent contractors, the occupation groups with the highest proportions were Professionals (38%) followed by Clerical and administrative workers (18%).

Other characteristics of independent contractors include:
  • 93% expected to be with current employer/business in 12 months;
  • 32% of those who did not expect to be with current employer/business in 12 months reported that they would be changing jobs/seeking other employment, while 22% said they would be retiring;
  • 14% had been with their current employer/business for less than one year, while 40% had been with their current employer/business for 10 years or more;
  • 31% of independent contractors reported their highest level of educational attainment was a Certificate III/IV. The most common educational attainment for males was a Certificate III/IV (38%), whilst for females the most common level of educational attainment was a Bachelors degree (26%);
  • 55% had more than one active contract in the reference week;
  • 74% were usually able to work on more than one active contract;
  • 58% were able to (sub)contract their own work; and
  • 64% did not have authority over their own work.