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The distribution of employed persons across industries and occupations, and the changes over time, provide an important insight into the structure of the labour market. Graph 6.15 provides information on the proportion of employed persons, by industry, for the years 1986-87 and 2001-02.
Table 6.16 shows the number of employed persons in each occupation by age. In 2001-02, the most common occupation was Professionals (18.5%), followed by Intermediate clerical, sales and service workers (17.1%). Advanced clerical and service workers was the least prevalent occupation (4.3%).
There is a correlation between age and occupation, with a higher proportion of employed persons in the younger age groups employed in the lower skilled occupations, and older age groups employed in the more highly skilled occupations.
This is particularly evident in the lower age groups. Of all employed persons aged 15-19, 39.9% were employed as Elementary clerical, sales and service workers, and a further 18.3% as Labourers and related workers. However, in the 20-24 year age group, the proportions in these occupations were lower (15.9% and 10.0% respectively), with 23.8% employed as Intermediate clerical, sales and related workers and 13.7% employed as Professionals (compared to 16.5% and 1.7% in the 15-19 year age group respectively).
In contrast, less than 1% of 15-19 year olds and 2% of 20-24 year olds were Managers and administrators, while at the other end of the age spectrum, in the age group 65 years and over, the highest proportion were Managers and administrators (28.0%).
There are large gender differences in occupations, with females dominating clerical occupations, for example, Advanced clerical and service workers, Intermediate clerical, sales and service workers, and Elementary clerical, sales and service workers; and males dominating the trades, for example, Tradespersons and related workers and Intermediate production and transport workers (graph 6.17). For example, a higher proportion of males were employed as Tradespersons and related workers (21% compared to 3% for females), while a higher proportion of females were employed as Intermediate clerical, sales and service workers (28% compared to 8% for males).