Australian Bureau of Statistics

Rate the ABS website
ABS Home > Statistics > By Release Date
6105.0 - Australian Labour Market Statistics, Oct 2006  
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 06/10/2006   
   Page tools: Print Print Page Print all pages in this productPrint All RSS Feed RSS Bookmark and Share Search this Product

CHANGES IN WHERE PEOPLE WORK OVER TIME


INTRODUCTION

The employment opportunities available to Australians, and the choices they make, vary throughout the life cycle. Most younger people in the workforce (15-19 years) are employed in relatively low skilled occupations (e.g. Elementary clerical, sales and service workers) in a limited range of industries (e.g. Retail trade). This situation changes as people get older. The industry profile of people aged 25 years and over is less concentrated compared with the younger age groups. The proportion of both men and women employed in higher skilled occupations increases with age, although this effect is more pronounced among men.


The industry and occupation profiles of women are generally more concentrated than that of men, particularly among the 15-19 and 20-24 year age groups. Gender differences in both industry and occupation profile increase with age, however the industry profile of men and women tends to converge for those aged 65 years and over.


Structural changes to the Australian economy over recent decades are reflected in changes in the composition of employment by industry. In 1985-86, one-third (33%) of all employed people were employed in goods producing industries,(end note 1) but this had dropped to one-quarter (25%) in 2005-06 (with the remaining 75% of employed people working in service industries).(end note 2) While most jobs in goods producing industries were held by men (approximately 78% in both 1985-86 and 2005-06), the jobs in service industries were more evenly distributed between men and women. Men held 53% of service jobs in 1985-86, decreasing to 47% in 2005-06.


This article analyses industry and occupation profiles of employed people aged 15 years and over. Workers are grouped into four age ranges: 15-19 years, 20-24 years, 25-64 years, and 65 years and over. Analysis of the 25-34, 35-44, 45-54, 55-59 and 60-64 year age groups showed that the industry and occupation profiles of these groups were quite similar. These age ranges have therefore been grouped together for the purposes of this article.


The article uses Labour Force Survey data from 1985-86 to 2005-06. Due to changes in the classification of occupations, the time series for occupation data covers the period from 1996-97 to 2005-06.



YOUNG WORKERS (AGED 15-19 YEARS)

Many young people who enter the work force for the first time in their late teens do so either in combination with or after completing study or training. In 2005-06, more than half of all employed men aged 15-19 years (56%) and more than three quarters of employed women in the same age group (78%) worked part-time. Of these, more than three quarters combined their part-time work with full-time study (79% of men and 78% of women).


Industry

In 2005-06, more than two-thirds of employed men aged 15-19 years worked in the Retail trade (42%), Construction (15%) or Manufacturing (11%) industries. Most of those working in Retail trade were employed part-time (77%), though part-time workers were much less prevalent in the Construction (14%) and Manufacturing (20%) industries. While these three industries have traditionally been among the highest employers of young men, there have been some changes in the past two decades. The proportion of employed men aged 15-19 years working in Retail trade has increased markedly (from 29%) since 1985-86. The proportion employed in the Construction industry has also increased (by five percentage points since 1985-86). The structural changes in the Australian economy are reflected in the proportion of employed males aged 15-19 years working in the Manufacturing industry. This has halved over the past 20 years (from 22% in 1985-86).


As with young men, the industry profile of young women has seen increased employment in the service industries over the last two decades. In 2005-06, the most common industry of employed women aged 15-19 years was Retail trade (up 14 percentage points, to 57%, from 1985-86), while 13% were employed in the Accommodation, cafes and restaurants industry (up almost nine percentage points from 1985-86). The overwhelming majority of employed women aged 15-19 years working in the Retail trade and Accommodation, cafes and restaurants industries were employed part-time (87% and 85% respectively). This reflects the fact that industries such as Retail trade are the first entry point into the workforce for many young people, especially those who combine part-time work with education.


Occupation

A considerable proportion of young people in the early stages of their working lives, particularly those combining part-time work with study, are employed in relatively low skilled occupations. While more than 26% of employed men aged 15-19 years in 2005-06 worked as Tradespersons and related workers (11% of them part-time), almost half of the men in this age group were employed in low skilled occupations such as Elementary clerical, sales and service workers (24% - with 87% of these employed part-time) and Labourers and related workers (23% - with 67% of these employed part-time). The most notable change in the occupation profile of men in this age group over the past decade has been the decline in the proportion employed as Labourers and related workers (down eight percentage points from 31% in 1996-97). There has also been an increase in the proportion employed as Tradespersons and related workers (up three percentage points from 23% in 1996-97).

1. Proportion of employed aged 15-19 years, occupation groups - 2005-06
Graph: 1. Proportion of employed aged 15–19 years, occupation groups—2005–06



In 2005-06, almost four in every five employed women aged 15-19 years were employed in low-skilled occupations such as Elementary clerical, sales and service workers (55% - 89% of whom were employed part-time), and Intermediate clerical, sales and service workers (24% - 67% of whom were employed part-time). The proportion employed in these two occupations has remained stable over the past two decades with little change across the occupations for women in this age group.


While most employed people aged 15-19 years tend to work in lower skilled occupations, the occupation profile of women is more heavily concentrated, especially among Elementary clerical, sales and service workers. The occupation profile of young men is more evenly distributed. This may reflect the different preferences of young men and women.



YOUNG WORKERS (AGED 20-24 YEARS)

In 2005-06, the proportion of employed people aged 20-24 years who worked part-time was much lower than that of the 15-19 year age group. Just over 23% of employed men and 38% of employed women aged 20-24 years were employed part-time, compared with 56% of employed men and 78% of employed women in the 15-19 year age group. However, as with the younger age group, a considerable proportion of men (54%) and women (52%) aged 20-24 years who worked part-time did so in combination with full-time study.


Industry

Retail trade, Construction and Manufacturing were the most common industries for men aged 20-24 years. Just over half (51%) of employed men aged 20-24 years worked in these three industries in 2005-06. Over the past two decades there have been increases in the proportions of men aged 20-24 years employed in the Retail trade and Construction industries, and a decline in the proportion employed in Manufacturing, a pattern similar to that for 15-19 year old men. As shown in graph 2, the industry profile of employed men in the 20-24 year age group is less concentrated than that of the younger group. The proportion of employed men aged 20-24 years working in Retail trade, for example, is half that of 15-19 year olds, while a larger proportion of 20-24 year olds were employed in other industries such as the Property and business services industry, compared with younger men.

2. Proportion of employed 15-24 year old men, selected industries - 2005-06
Graph: 2. Proportion of employed 15–24 year old men, selected industries—2005–06



As with men, the industry profile of women aged 20-24 years in 2005-06 was less concentrated than for those aged 15-19 years. Less than a quarter of employed women aged 20-24 years were employed in the Retail trade industry (compared with 57% of 15-19 year olds). There was also a substantial proportion of employed women aged 20-24 years in other industries such as Property and business services (14% compared with 5% of 15-19 year olds) and Health and community services (13% compared with 5% of 15-19 year olds).

3. Proportion of employed 15-24 year old women, selected industries - 2005-06
Graph: 3. Proportion of employed 15–24 year old women, selected industries—2005–06



A comparison of the industry profiles of men and women aged 20-24 years shows that a higher proportion of men are employed in the goods producing industries such as Manufacturing and Construction, while a higher proportion of women are employed in the service industries including Retail trade and Health and community services.

4. Proportion of employed aged 20-24 years, selected industries - 2005-06
Graph: 4. Proportion of employed aged 20–24 years, selected industries—2005–06



Occupation

As has been the case over the last decade, Tradespersons and related workers was the most common occupation group among employed men aged 20-24 years in 2005-06 (28%). Another 15% of employed men in this age group were employed as Labourers and related workers, while almost one in five were employed in the higher skilled occupations of Professionals (10%) and Associate professionals (9%). The fact that there are higher proportions of men aged 20-24 years in the higher skilled professions compared to the 15-19 year age group reflects the tendency for people to move into higher skilled occupations as they acquire skills either through workforce experience or study.

5. Proportion of employed 15-24 year old men, occupation groups - 2005-06
Graph: 5. Proportion of employed 15–24 year old men, occupation groups—2005–06



More than half of employed women aged 20-24 years in 2005-06 were employed as Intermediate clerical, sales and service workers (36%) or Elementary clerical, sales and service workers (21%). The tendency for people to move into higher skilled occupations with age is also evident among women. As shown in graph 6, the proportion of women employed as Elementary clerical, sales and service workers in the 20-24 age group (21%) was less than half that of the 15-19 year age group (55%). A greater proportion of those aged 20-24 years were employed as Professionals (16% compared with 2% of 15-19 year olds) and Intermediate clerical, sales and service workers (36% compared with 24%).

6. Proportion of employed 15-24 year old women, occupation groups - 2005-06
Graph: 6. Proportion of employed 15–24 year old women, occupation groups—2005–06




25-64 YEARS

Industry

The industry profile of both men and women becomes more evenly distributed with age. There is only limited variation in the industry profile of both men and women from the 25-34 year age group through to the 60-64 year age group. There are, however, marked differences between the industries of men and women of this age group. The most common industries for employed men were goods producing industries, while employed women of this age group were more likely to be working in service industries.

7. Proportion of employed aged 25-64, selected industries - 2005-06
Graph: 7. Proportion of employed aged 25–64, selected industries—2005–06



Despite the decline in the proportion of employed men aged 25-64 years who worked in the Manufacturing industry (from 19% in 1985-86 to 15% in 2005-06), it remained the most common industry among 25-64 year old men in 2005-06. At 14%, Construction was the next most common industry among employed men aged 25-64 years, followed by Property and business services (12%).

8. Proportion of employed 25-64 year old men, selected industries
Graph: 8. Proportion of employed 25–64 year old men, selected industries



As with the younger age groups, the impact of structural change and the housing boom of recent years may be responsible for the increasing proportion of employed men aged 25-64 years working in both the Construction industry (up four percentage points between 1985-86 and 2005-06) and the Property and business services industry (up six percentage points between 1985-86 and 2005-06).


Although the industry profile of employed men in 2005-06 was generally stable across the age groups from 25-64 years (i.e. 25-34, 35-44, 45-54, 55-59 and 60-64 years), the proportion of employed men working in the Agriculture, forestry and fishing industry increases considerably with age (from 2.9% of 25-34 year olds to 7.8% of 60-64 year olds). However, the proportion of employed men working in the Agriculture, forestry and fishing industry has declined across the age groups over the last two decades.


The industry profile of employed women aged 25-64 years in 2005-06 was quite different to their male counterparts. One in five employed women aged 25-64 years were employed in Health and community services in 2005-06, with a further quarter employed in Retail trade (13%) and Education (13%). Like men, there has been an increase in the proportion of employed women aged between 25 and 64 years working in the Property and business services industry over the past two decades (from 7% in 1985-86 to 12% in 2005-06), while the proportion employed in the Manufacturing industry declined by five percentage points (to 7%) in the two decades to 2005-06.

9. Proportion of employed 25-64 year old women, selected industries
Graph: 9. Proportion of employed 25–64 year old women, selected industries



Occupation

The occupation profile of employed men in 2005-06 was characterised by an increasing proportion working in higher skilled occupations in the older age groups. Tradespersons and related workers was the most common occupation group among employed men in the 25-34 year age group (22%) and the 35-44 year age group (20%) and continued to be one of the most common occupations through to the 60-64 year group. Professionals was the most common occupation group of employed men across the 45-54, 55-59 and 60-64 year age groups in 2005-06.


The proportion of employed men working as Managers and administrators increases with age. In 2005-06, the proportion of employed men working as Managers and administrators increased from 8% in the 25-34 year age group to 16% in the 60-64 year age group.


A substantial proportion of men aged 25-64 years were working in lower skilled occupations. In 2005-06, 13% worked as Intermediate production and transport workers, while a further 9% were employed as Labourers and related workers. These trends have remained stable over the last decade.


In 2005-06, a quarter of employed women aged 25-64 years worked as Professionals (25%), while a further quarter worked as Intermediate clerical, sales and service workers (25%). There are only slight differences between the occupation profiles of employed women throughout the age groups 25-34 to 60-64 years. However, there have been changes in the employment profile of employed women aged 25-64 years over time. In the decade to 2005-06 there was an increase in the proportion of employed women aged 25-64 years working in higher skilled occupations, such as Managers and administrators, Professionals and Associate professionals and a corresponding decrease in the proportion employed in lower skilled jobs, such as Elementary clerical, sales and service workers and Labourers and related workers. This same trend is apparent, to a lesser degree, among men.

10. Proportion of employed 25-64 year old women, occupation groups
Graph: 10. Proportion of employed 25–64 year old women, occupation groups




65 YEARS AND OVER

Industry

The industry profile of both men and women aged 65 years and over is quite different to that of younger age groups. This may be due to the fact that many people retire before age 65 and to the comparatively high proportion of part-time workers (53% compared with 25% of employed people aged 25-64 years). In 2005-06, the most common industry for employed men aged 65 years and over was Agriculture, forestry and fishing (21%), while the proportions employed in other industries such as Construction and Manufacturing were smaller than the younger age groups.


An equally high proportion of employed women aged 65 years and over were employed in the Agriculture, forestry and fishing industry (21%) in 2005-06. The high proportion of employed men and women aged 65 years and over working in Agriculture, forestry and fishing may be due to the fact that farmers are generally self-employed.(end note 3) Another factor may be that farmers live on their land as well as work there.


While Agriculture, forestry and fishing remained the most common industry for both employed men and employed women aged 65 years and over in 2005-06, graph 11 shows that the proportions have declined considerably over the last two decades. This decline has been more pronounced among men (down 19 percentage points since 1985-86) than among women (down 5 percentage points since 1985-86). Numerous fluctuations over the years make it difficult to attribute the reduction to any one factor, though technological advances, changes in consumer demand and the drought experienced in many parts of Australia may have contributed.

11. Proportion of employed workers aged 65 years and over, Agriculture, forestry and fishing industry
Graph: 11. Proportion of employed workers aged 65 years and over, Agriculture, forestry and fishing industry



The equal proportion of employed men and women aged 65 years and over working in the Agriculture, forestry and fishing industry highlights the convergence of the industry profiles of men and women of this age group, particularly compared with those in the 25-64 year age group. This is further reflected in the similar proportions of employed men and women aged 65 years and over working in the Property and business services industry (13% of women and 16% of men). This convergence may be due to certain industries being more likely to retain older, part-time workers.


Occupation

In 2005-06, the occupation profile of employed men and women aged 65 years and over was also quite different to that of their younger counterparts. Almost 60% of employed men aged 65 years and over in 2005-06 worked in the higher skilled occupation groups such as Managers and administrators (26%), Professionals (21%) and Associate professionals (12%). In comparison, 45% of employed men aged 25-64 years were working in these three occupations.


This same pattern is evident among employed women aged 65 years and over, with most of the difference due to the higher proportion of those aged 65 years and over employed as Managers and administrators (18% compared with 6% of 25-64 year olds). The differences between the age groups may suggest that people in lower skilled occupations tend to retire at an earlier age, on average, than those in higher skilled occupations. However, another factor may be the tendency for people to move into higher skilled jobs as they acquire relevant skills and experience throughout the course of a career.

12. Proportion of workers aged 65 years and over, occupation groups - 2005-06
Graph: 12. Proportion of workers aged 65 years and over, occupation groups—2005–06



The occupation profile of employed women aged 65 years and over was more evenly distributed than men of the same age. Lower skilled occupations such as Intermediate clerical sales and service workers were much more prevalent among employed women aged 65 years and over (17%), than employed men of the same age (5%). There was a greater proportion of employed women aged 65 years and over working part-time (73% compared with 45% of men).



FURTHER INFORMATION

For further information, please contact the Assistant Director, Labour Market, on Canberra (02) 6252 7206.


END NOTES

1. In this article, goods producing industries are defined as Construction; Agriculture, forestry and fishing; Manufacturing; Mining; and Electricity, gas and water.

2. In this article, service industries are defined as Property and business services; Accommodation, cafes and restaurants; Cultural and recreational services; Personal and other services; Health and community services; Retail trade; Education; Wholesale trade; Government administration and defence; Finance and insurance; Transport and storage; and Communication services.3. In 2005-06, 52.7% of employed men aged 65 years and over working in the Agriculture, forestry and fishing industry were self-employed, compared with 31.6% of men aged 65 years and over across all industries.

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.