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1301.0 - Year Book Australia, 2004  
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 27/02/2004   
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Labour mobility

Each year in Australia many people change their employer or business or the locality of their employment. Often this change is also accompanied by changes in industry and/or occupation, or change between full-time and part-time work. This article is based on data from the ABS Labour Mobility Survey which was last conducted in February 2002. The survey provides information about labour force mobility over a 12-month period. It is useful in analysing the dynamic nature of the labour force, job turnover and the ability of people to move between occupation and industry in response to changing demands for skills and labour.

Job mobility and age

In February 2002, 15.1% of people who had worked at some time in the previous 12 months either changed employer/business or changed locality during the previous 12 months. Across all age groups, 11.8% of people changed employer/business without changing their locality. Only a small proportion of people changed their employer/business and locality (0.5%) or stayed with their same employer but changed locality (2.8%) (table 6.21).

The most mobile age group were the 20-24 year olds. In this age group, 25.8% changed employer/business or locality during the year. The least mobile age group were the 55-69 year olds with just 5.6% changing employer/business or locality during the year.

6.21 JOB MOBILITY(a), By age group - February 2002

Changed employer/business or locality

Changed employer/ business(a)
Changed
locality
only
Changed
employer/
business
or locality
Did not change employer/
business or
locality(b)
Total
Total
%
%
%
%
%
'000

15-19
18.3
1.0
19.3
80.7
100.0
792.1
20-24
22.9
3.0
25.8
74.2
100.0
1,125.4
25-34
15.9
3.7
19.6
80.4
100.0
2,347.8
35-44
10.1
3.0
13.1
86.9
100.0
2,386.6
45-54
7.2
2.7
9.9
90.1
100.0
2,094.9
55-69
4.0
1.6
5.6
94.4
100.0
1,109.6
All age groups
12.3
2.8
15.1
84.9
100.0
9,856.4

(a) Persons who worked at some time during the year ending February 2002.
(b) Comprises persons who changed employer/business only and persons who changed employer/business and locality.
Source: Labour Mobility, Australia, February 2002 (6209.0).

Industry

Table 6.22 shows the number and proportion of people leaving and entering industries during the year ended February 2002. While the net movement in the size of most industries was not large, some industries experienced more significant gross movements with a high proportion of people leaving and arriving in the industry during the year. Overall, 14.8% of persons employed at February 2002 arrived in the industry in which they were working during the year. The majority of these (61%) were not working at February 2001 and the remainder had changed jobs to enter the industry. Of persons employed at February 2001, 12.4% left the industry in which they were employed during the year. A little over half of these were not working at February 2002, and the remainder had left the industry when changing jobs during the year.

Accommodation, cafes and restaurants had the highest movements in both people entering and leaving the industry. Over one-quarter (26.6%) of persons working in the industry in February 2002 were new to the industry. Conversely, 20.0% of persons working in the industry in February 2001 were no longer working in the industry in February 2002. Retail trade also had high gross movements in people entering and leaving the industry during the year (19.7% and 15.7%, respectively).

The industries with the lowest proportion of people entering the industry during the year were Agriculture, forestry and fishing (9.4%), Education (9.9%) and Government administration (10.8%). Education also had one of the smallest proportions of people leaving the industry during the year (9.2%). Other industries which had only a low proportion of people leaving the industry during the year were Health and community services (8.0%), and Construction (9.2%).

6.22 CHANGES IN EMPLOYMENT(a), By industry

Persons employed at February 2001
Persons employed at February 2002


Left industry during the year
Entered industry during the year
Total

Total

'000
'000
%
'000
'000
%

Agriculture, forestry and fishing
379.0
37.8
10.0
376.6
35.5
9.4
Mining
77.5
11.1
14.3
76.0
9.5
12.5
Manufacturing
1,098.4
131.1
11.9
1,098.6
131.2
11.9
Electricity, gas and water supply
63.8
7.2
11.2
65.1
8.4
12.9
Construction
704.6
64.8
9.2
722.5
82.8
11.5
Wholesale trade
428.0
56.7
13.2
442.1
70.8
16.0
Retail trade
1,312.9
205.8
15.7
1,379.4
272.3
19.7
Accommodation, cafes and restaurants
430.5
85.9
20.0
469.7
125.1
26.6
Transport and storage
413.4
58.1
14.1
402.9
47.6
11.8
Communication services
178.5
26.7
14.9
177.3
25.5
14.4
Finance and insurance
343.2
48.2
14.0
343.2
48.2
14.1
Property and business services
995.1
127.8
12.8
1,040.0
172.7
16.6
Government administration and defence
375.9
38.2
10.2
378.5
40.8
10.8
Education
612.0
56.3
9.2
617.0
61.3
9.9
Health and community services
837.3
67.3
8.0
884.8
114.7
13.0
Cultural and recreational services
229.0
34.1
14.9
236.4
41.8
17.6
Personal and other services
334.7
38.1
11.4
350.5
53.9
15.4
All industries
8,813.9
1,095.1
12.4
9,060.7
1,341.9
14.8

(a) During the year ending February 2002.
Source: Labour Mobility, Australia (6209.0).

Duration of current job

Nearly one-quarter (24.0%) of persons working at February 2002 had been in their current job for 10 years or more, and 22.9% had worked in their current job for less than one year. The remaining 53% had been in their job for between one and ten years.

The period of strong economic growth in the late 1980s was accompanied by strong growth in employment and corresponding increases in the proportion of people working in their current jobs for shorter durations (under two years). At the onset of recession in the early-1990s, the proportion of people who were in their jobs for short durations fell significantly. Between 1990 and 1992 the proportion of people who had been in their job for less than one year fell by 6.9 percentage points to 19.6%. Corresponding to this, the proportion of people who had been in their current job for 2-5 years increased by 5.1 percentage points and the proportion employed in their current job for 5-10 years increased by 2.3 percentage points.

Since 1992, the proportion of people who have been in their current job for less than one year has increased, but has not reached the same proportions as experienced in 1988 and 1990. The proportion of people who have been in their current job for 10 years or more has remained fairly constant, ranging between 23.6% and 24.0% (graph 6.23).



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