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1301.0 - Year Book Australia, 2009–10  
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Contents >> Labour >> Employed people

EMPLOYED PEOPLE

People are considered to be employed if they were in paid work or worked without pay in a family business, for one hour or more in the reference week of the ABS monthly LFS. People who were absent from work in the reference week of the survey were also considered to be employed, unless they had been on unpaid leave for more than four weeks. This section contains information on people who are employed, including whether they worked full time or part time, their industry and occupation, and the characteristics of their employment arrangements.

Measuring changes between employment levels and population levels enables evaluation of the strength of employment growth compared with population growth. The measure relating these two levels is the employment to population ratio. This ratio reflects net changes in the number of people employed relative to changes in the size of the population, whereas movements in the employment level reflect net changes in the number of people holding jobs.

The employment to population ratio rose from 60.6% in 2004-05 to 62.2% in 2008-09 (table 8.9). As in previous years, in 2008-09 the employment to population ratio was higher for men than for women (68.8% compared with 55.7%), which reflects the higher participation of men in the labour force.

8.9 EMPLOYED PERSONS, Employment to population ratio(a)

2004-05
2005-06
2006-07
2007-08
2008-09
%
%
%
%
%

Males
68.1
68.6
69.3
69.8
68.8
Females
53.3
54.3
55.1
55.7
55.7
Persons
60.6
61.4
62.1
62.6
62.2

(a) The employment to population ratio for any group is the annual average number of employed persons expressed as a percentage of the annual average civilian population aged 15 years and over in the same group.
Source: ABS Labour Force, Australia (6202.0).



Full-time and part-time employment

Employed people are regarded as either full-time or part-time workers depending on the number of hours worked. Full-time workers are those who usually work 35 hours or more per week in all jobs, or usually work less than 35 hours a week but actually worked 35 hours or more during the reference week of the LFS. Part-time workers are those who usually work less than 35 hours a week and either did so during the reference week, or were not at work during the reference week.

Graph 8.10 shows annual percentage changes in part-time and full-time employment from 1988-89 to 2008-09. Both full-time and part-time employment increased each year throughout the period except between 1990-91 and 1992-93 and in 2001-02, when full-time employment decreased. Part-time employment has generally increased at a faster rate than full-time employment over the period. However, in recent years (2003-04, 2004-05, 2006-07 and 2007-08) full-time employment grew at a faster rate.

The proportion of employed people who were working part-time was affected by these different rates of change, rising from 20% in 1988-89 to 29% in 2008-09.


Employment growth fluctuated during the strong economic growth of the late 1980s and the subsequent economic downturn of the early 1990s. In 1988-89, growth in full-time employment peaked at 3.6%. Part-time employment grew strongly in 1989-90 (8.2%). The rate of growth of full-time and part-time employment subsequently began to slow. At the onset of the economic downturn in 1990-91, full-time employment fell by 1.6%. The impact of the downturn and its effects on the demand for labour intensified in 1991-92 when full-time employment fell more strongly (down 3.4%). At the same time, the rate of growth of part-time employment increased, from 3.2% in 1990-91 to 3.8% in 1991-92. A similar pattern was evident in 2001-02, when a decrease in full-time employment was accompanied by strong growth in part-time employment. After 2001-02, full-time employment grew to a peak of 3.1% in 2006-07 and slowed from 2.7% to 0.6% between 2007-08 and 2008-09. Part-time employment growth has remained steady at about 2.4% for the last three years.

8.10 EMPLOYED PERSONS, Change in annual average employment
Graph: 8.10 EMPLOYED PERSONS, Change in annual average employment


In 2008-09 there were 10.8 million employed people, with almost three-quarters (71%) working full time (table 8.11). Men were more likely than women to work full time (85% compared with 55%). Part-time work was most prevalent among the younger (15-19 years) and older (65 years and over) age groups (67% and 54% respectively).

8.11 EMPLOYED PERSONS(a), Full-time and part-time workers - 2008-09

Age group (years)
15-19
20-24
25-34
35-44
45-54
55-59
60-64
65 and over
Total

MALES

Full-time workers '000
157.7
444.4
1 187.8
1 262.3
1 160.7
414.4
257.0
100.8
4 985.1
Part-time workers '000
206.7
152.9
119.1
96.5
101.1
64.7
71.1
86.8
899.0
Total '000
364.4
597.3
1 306.9
1 358.9
1 261.8
479.1
328.1
187.6
5 884.1
Proportion of part-time workers %
56.7
25.6
9.1
7.1
8.0
13.5
21.7
46.3
15.3

FEMALES

Full-time workers '000
79.6
330.0
711.1
580.7
657.2
220.8
100.4
25.8
2 705.6
Part-time workers '000
284.1
211.6
334.1
547.6
469.4
176.4
120.1
60.5
2 203.8
Total '000
363.7
541.5
1 045.2
1 128.4
1 126.6
397.2
220.5
86.3
4 909.4
Proportion of part-time workers %
78.1
39.1
32.0
48.5
41.7
44.4
54.5
70.1
44.9

PERSONS

Full-time workers '000
237.3
774.3
1 898.9
1 843.1
1 817.9
635.1
357.4
126.6
7 690.7
Part-time workers '000
490.8
364.5
453.2
644.2
570.5
241.2
191.2
147.3
3 102.8
Total '000
728.1
1 138.9
2 352.1
2 487.2
2 388.4
876.3
548.6
273.9
10 793.5
Proportion of part-time workers %
67.4
32.0
19.3
25.9
23.9
27.5
34.9
53.8
28.7

(a) Annual averages.
Source: ABS Labour Force, Australia, Detailed - Electronic Delivery (6291.0.55.001).


Employment by industry and occupation

The distribution of employed people across industries and occupations, and the changes over time, provide an important insight into the structure of the labour market. Graph 8.12 shows the proportion of employed people by industry, for the years 1998-99 and 2008-09.

The industry composition of the labour market has changed considerably over time. Historically, the Manufacturing industry has been the largest employing industry, but its contribution to the number of employed people has been declining. Over the past decade Manufacturing employment fell from 12% of all employed people in 1998-99 to 9% in 2008-09. The proportion of people employed in the Agriculture, forestry and fishing industry also fell over this period, from 5% to 3%. During the same period, the greatest increase in the proportion of employed people was in the Construction industry (from 7% to 9%).

8.12 Employed persons(a), By industry(b)
Graph: 8.12 Employed persons(a), By industry(b)


Table 8.13 shows the proportion of employed people in each broad occupation group by age group for 2008-09. The occupation groups with the highest proportions of employed people were Professionals (21%) and Clerical and administrative workers (15%). The occupation group with the lowest proportion of employed people was Machinery operators and drivers (7%).

There is a correlation between age and occupation, with a higher proportion of younger workers employed in the lower-skilled occupations, and a higher proportion of older workers employed in the more highly-skilled occupations. For example, 1% of 15-19 year old workers were employed as Managers and 2% as Professionals, while at the other end of the age spectrum, for those aged 65 years and over, 28% were employed as Managers and 22% as Professionals. In the 15-19 year age group, 34% of employed people were employed as Sales workers and a further 23% as Labourers. The proportion of 20-24 year olds employed as Sales workers (15%) was considerably lower than the proportion of 15-19 year olds employed in this occupation group. In contrast, there was a much higher proportion of 20-24 year olds than 15-19 year olds employed as Clerical and administrative workers (16% compared with 7%).
8.13 EMPLOYED PERSONS(a), By occupation - 2008-09

AGE GROUP (YEARS)
Occupation group(b)
15-19
20-24
25-34
35-44
45-54
55-59
60-64
65 and over
Total

Managers %
1.4
4.8
11.1
14.8
15.9
16.0
17.2
27.5
12.9
Professionals %
1.9
13.3
26.2
23.0
21.5
22.1
21.6
21.5
20.8
Technicians and trades workers %
17.1
19.9
16.7
14.9
13.2
12.9
12.9
11.3
15.2
Community and personal service workers %
12.7
13.8
8.3
8.1
8.4
8.0
6.3
4.9
8.9
Clerical and administrative workers %
7.2
16.1
15.3
16.1
17.0
16.3
15.3
11.4
15.4
Sales workers %
34.4
15.0
7.7
6.5
6.2
6.1
6.5
5.9
9.4
Machinery operators and drivers %
2.5
4.6
5.9
7.3
8.1
8.0
8.6
5.7
6.7
Labourers %
22.7
12.5
8.8
9.2
9.7
10.6
11.5
11.7
10.7
Persons `000
715.1
1 129.3
2 348.5
2 486.4
2 390.6
875.7
552.1
269.1
10 766.6

(a) Annual average of quarterly data.
(b) Classified according to the Australian and New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations (ANZSCO), First Edition (1220.0).
Source: ABS Labour Force, Australia, Detailed, Quarterly (6291.0.55.003).


There are large gender differences in occupations. Women were more likely than men to be employed as Clerical and administrative workers, Community and personal service workers, and Sales workers. In contrast, men were more likely than women to be employed as Technicians and trades workers, Labourers, and Machinery operators and drivers (graph 8.14). For example, in 2008-09, 24% of men were employed as Technicians and trades workers compared with 5% of women, while 26% of women were employed as Clerical and administrative workers compared with 7% of men. In the more highly-skilled occupations, proportionally more men were employed as Managers (15% compared with 10% of women), while proportionally more women were employed as Professionals (24% compared with 19% of men).

8.14 EMPLOYED PERSONS(a), By occupation(b) - 2008-09
Graph: 8.14 EMPLOYED PERSONS(a), By occupation(b)—2008-09

Characteristics of employment

Working life in Australia continues to change. There are more diverse employment arrangements, greater flexibility in work patterns, and more people working part time. This section looks at the types of arrangements people are employed under, and the hours they work.

Employment type

Employed people are classified to one of five employment categories on the basis of their main job, that is, the job in which they usually work the most hours. When classifying people by employment type, owner managers of incorporated enterprises are distinguished from other employees. The employment types are:
  • employees (excluding owner managers of incorporated enterprises) with paid leave entitlements;
  • employees (excluding owner managers of incorporated enterprises) without paid leave entitlements (a proxy for casual employment);
  • owner managers of incorporated enterprises;
  • owner managers of unincorporated enterprises; and
  • contributing family workers.

For more details see the article 'Changes in types of employment' in Australian Labour Market Statistics, October 2004 ( 6105.0).

Table 8.15 shows the proportion of employed people by employment type. Of the 10.5 million employed people at August 2008, over three-fifths (63%) were employees with paid leave entitlements and 20% were employees without paid leave entitlements. A further 11% were owner managers of unincorporated enterprises and 6% were owner managers of incorporated enterprises.

The proportion of employed people who worked as employees with paid leave entitlements was similar for men and women (64% and 63% respectively). However, a higher proportion of women were employees without paid leave entitlements than men (25% and 16% respectively) reflecting the fact that women are more likely to work part time than men, and that part-time work is more closely associated with casual employment. A higher proportion of men were owner managers compared with women (20% and 12% respectively).

8.15 EMPLOYED PERSONS, By employment type - August 2008

Employees with paid leave entitlements(a)
Employees without paid leave entitlements(a)
Owner managers of incorporated enterprises
Owner managers of unincorporated enterprises
Contributing family workers
Total
%
%
%
%
%
'000

Males
63.6
16.0
7.2
13.0
0.2
5 705.0
Females
62.7
24.8
4.0
8.3
0.3
4 767.5
Persons
63.2
20.0
5.7
10.9
0.2
10 472.5

(a) Excluding owner managers of incorporated enterprises.
Source: ABS Australian Labour Market Statistics, Datacubes, Table 2 (6105.0).


The proportion of employees with paid leave entitlements declined slightly between 1994 and 2004 (from 61% to 59% of employed persons). However, since 2004 the proportion of employees with paid leave entitlements increased by four percentage points, to stand at 63% at August 2008 (graph 8.16). Employees without paid leave entitlements rose as a proportion of total employment from 1994 to 1998 (from 18% to 20%). Since 1998 the proportion has remained relatively stable. As a proportion of total employment, owner managers remained stable between 1994 and 2007, but fell slightly in 2008. Of total employment, the proportion of owner managers of incorporated enterprises increased from 5% in 1994 to 7% in 2006 and back to 6% in 2008, while over the same period owner managers of unincorporated enterprises fell from 15% to 11%. Owner managers of incorporated enterprises as a proportion of all owner managers increased from 25% in 1994 to 34% in 2008.

8.16 Types of employment, Proportion of employed
Graph: 8.16 Types of employment, Proportion of employed


Hours worked

Hours worked statistics have a wide range of uses, including the calculation of labour productivity and monitoring of working conditions. Information on hours worked allows the ABS to classify employed people as full time or part time, and also to identify underemployed people (in conjunction with information about wanting to work more hours).

The LFS collects weekly hours worked data for employed people on three different bases:
  • actual hours worked in all jobs - hours actually worked in the survey reference week, including overtime and excluding time off
  • actual hours worked in main job - hours actually worked in the survey reference week (including overtime and excluding any time off) in the job in which the most hours are usually worked
  • usual hours worked in all jobs - hours usually worked per week by an employed person.

Data for the latter two measures are available from April 2001, while the first measure has been collected since the LFS began in the 1960s.

In addition to the three reference week measures outlined above, the ABS also produces an aggregate monthly hours worked series, which measures the total number of hours worked by employed persons in a calendar month.
Graph 8.17 shows average weekly hours worked for employed people for each of the three measures. Average weekly hours worked is the hours worked by employed people during the reference week divided by the number of employed people.

The two average weekly hours actually worked measures are influenced by seasonal factors (e.g. customs in taking leave at particular times of the year), economic factors (e.g. workplace-related influences such as seasonal employment), and absences from work due to public holidays, sickness, irregular shifts, etc. Large movements occur around the months of January, April and October. The average weekly hours worked in main job series closely follows the average weekly hours worked in all job series, but at a slightly lower level. This indicates that the number of hours worked in second and subsequent jobs, averaged across all employed people, is relatively small.

Average weekly hours usually worked in all jobs exhibits much lower levels of variability (graph 8.17). This is because the usual hours worked series is not affected by seasonal factors and absences from work that lead to fluctuations in the actual hours worked series.

8.17 Employed persons, Average weekly hours worked
Graph: 8.17 Employed persons, Average weekly hours worked


In June 2009, more than a third (34%) of employed men worked between 35 and 44 hours per week, and a further 28% worked 45 hours or more per week (graph 8.18). Women were most likely to have worked between 16 and 34 hours per week (38%), or between 35 and 44 hours (26%). Women who worked 45 hours or more per week made up 11% of all employed women.

8.18 EMPLOYED PERSONS(a), Actual hours worked in all jobs - June 2009
Graph: 8.18 EMPLOYED PERSONS(a), Actual hours worked in all jobs—June 2009


Average weekly hours actually worked by full-time employed people rose from 39.7 hours in 1988-89 to a peak of 41.4 hours in 1999-2000, an increase of 4% (graph 8.19). In 2008-09, full-time employed people worked an average of 39.8 hours per week, a slight decrease from 40.3 hours per week recorded in 2007-08. Full-time employed men worked an average of 41.1 hours per week in 2008-09 while full-time employed women worked an average of 37.3 hours per week.

8.19 Average Weekly Actual Hours Worked(a), Full-time employed persons(b)
Graph: 8.19 Average Weekly Actual Hours Worked(a), Full-time employed persons(b)


From 1988-89 to 2008-09 there was a steady increase in the number of hours actually worked by part-time workers as a proportion of the total number of hours actually worked (graph 8.20). In 1988-89, 9% of all hours actually worked were in part-time employment; by 2008-09 this proportion had risen to 14%. For men, 7% of the total number of hours actually worked were in part-time employment in 2008-09, whereas for women the proportion was 26%.

8.20 Part-time hours as a proportion of total actual hours worked(a)
Graph: 8.20 Part-time hours as a proportion of total actual hours worked(a)


Table 8.21 shows the average weekly hours usually worked by men was ten hours greater than for women (41.1 hours and 31.2 hours respectively). This was partly due to men working longer usual weekly hours in full-time employment than women (45.2 hours and 41.4 hours respectively), and also because women were more likely to work part time than men. The usual hours worked in all jobs by full-time employed people declined slightly over the last number of years, from 44.5 hours per week in 2001-02 to 43.9 hours per week in 2008-09.
8.21 EMPLOYED PERSONS, Average weekly hours usually worked(a) - 2008-09

Males
Females
Persons
hours
hours
hours

Full-time workers
45.2
41.4
43.9
Part-time workers
18.2
18.7
18.6
Total
41.1
31.2
36.6

(a) Annual averages.
Source: ABS Labour Force, Australia, Detailed - Electronic Delivery (6291.0.55.001).


Graph 8.22 shows average weekly hours usually worked in all jobs, by occupation, for full-time employed people. In 2008-09, Managers had the highest average weekly usual hours worked for full-time employed people (50.7 hours per week for men and 45.6 hours per week for women), followed by Machinery operators and drivers (46.7 hours and 42.2 hours respectively). The occupation with the lowest average weekly hours usually worked for full-time employed people was Clerical and administrative workers (42.6 hours per week for men and 39.7 hours per week for women).

8.22 Average Weekly Hours Usually Worked(a), ^Full-time employed persons by occupation(b) - 2008-09
Graph: 8.22 Average Weekly Hours Usually Worked(a), ^Full-time employed persons by occupation(b)—2008–09


In 2009, the ABS released a new hours worked series, aggregate monthly hours worked, which measures the total number of hours worked by employed persons in a calendar month. This series differs from the actual and usual hours worked series above since they relate only to the hours worked in the reference week. Aggregate monthly hours worked is available as both seasonally adjusted and trend series. This allows for comparison between months, with the estimates having been adjusted for seasonality and the effects of holidays.

Actual and usual hours worked cannot be aggregated across time to produce either quarterly or annual estimates as they relate to only a single week in the month. Therefore, the annual data presented in graphs 8.19 to 8.22 are annual averages. In contrast, aggregate monthly hours worked estimates are a true monthly measure which can be aggregated across time to produce annual estimates.

The annual trend estimate of aggregate hours worked has generally increased since 1988-89. The only exceptions have been in the economic downturns in the early 1990s and 2000-01. Aggregate hours worked increased from 13,579 million hours in 1992-93 to 18,395 million hours in 2008-09. In 2008-09, men worked 11,314 million hours (62% of all hours worked), while women worked 7,081 million hours.

8.23 aggregate hours worked(a)
Graph: 8.23 aggregate hours worked(a)



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