6333.0 - Characteristics of Employment, Australia, August 2014 Quality Declaration 
Latest ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 27/10/2015  First Issue
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INTRODUCTION

The Characteristics of Employment Survey presents information on all employed persons according to their status of employment. The framework below classifies jobholders to a status of employment on the basis of their main job that is, the job in which they usually worked the most hours. The status of employment category groups are:
  • Employees;
  • Owner managers of incorporated enterprises (OMIEs); and
  • Owner managers of unincorporated enterprises (OMUEs).
Employees are then further classified according to whether they had paid leave entitlements, that is whether they had paid sick and/or paid holiday leave, while OMIEs and OMUEs are further classified according to whether they had employees.

Diagram: Conceptual framework Status of employment


Information is also presented on independent contractors who may be in the Employees, OMIE or OMUE groups. They are identified through a series of questions about their work and remuneration arrangements.

To minimise the risk of identifying individuals in aggregate statistics, perturbation is used in this release to randomly adjust estimates. Perturbation involves small random adjustment of the statistics and is considered the most satisfactory technique for avoiding the release of identifiable. These adjustments have a negligible impact on the underlying pattern of the statistics. After perturbation, a published estimate will be consistent across all tables. However, adding up estimates to derive a total will not necessarily give the same result as published totals.

OVERVIEW

Employed Persons
  • In August 2014 there were 11.6 million employed persons aged 15 years and over, of which 54% were males.
  • An estimated 7.9 million (68%) of the employed persons worked full-time in their main job. (Data Cube 1)
  • Almost half (46%) of all employed persons usually worked 35–44 hours per week. Males comprised 60% of these persons. (Data Cube 3)
Trade Union Members in their Main Job
  • Trade union membership of employees and owner mangers of incorporated enterprises (OMIEs) has steadily declined over recent years, with 2014 having the lowest proportion in the history of the series (15%). (Data Cube 16)
  • In August 2014, 14% of all employed persons (1.6 million) were trade union members in connection with their main job. (Data Cube 10)
  • The Education and training industry Division had the highest proportion of persons who were trade union members (34%). (Data Cube 11)
Employees and Owner Managers of Incorporated Enterprises (OMIEs)
  • In August 2014, the mean weekly earnings of employees and OMIEs in all jobs was $1,189 compared to $1,156 in 2013.
  • For males the mean weekly earnings in all jobs was $1,410 and for females it was $948. (Data Cube 17)
  • The median weekly earnings in all jobs in 2014 was $1,000 ($1,185 for males and $838 for females). (Data Cube 18)
Employees in Main Job
  • Of the 9.6 million persons who were employees in their main job, 51% were males.
  • 7.3 million employees had paid leave entitlements, of which 53% were males.
  • The age group with the highest proportion of male employees with paid leave entitlements was 35–54 years (87%). For female employees the age groups with the highest proportion with paid leave entitlements were 25–34 years and 45–59 years (both 81%). (Data Cube 3)
  • An estimated 6.5 million (68%) employees worked full-time in their main job. (Data Cube 2)
Independent Contractors
  • There were approximately 1 million persons who were independent contractors in their main job in August 2014.
  • Independent contractors made up 9% of all employed persons, and almost three quarters (74%) of all independent contractors were males.
  • More than half (54%) of independent contractors were aged 45 years and over. (Data Cube 35)
Persons Who Found Their Job Through a Labour Hire Firm/Employment Agency
  • In August 2014, there were 599,800 persons (5% of all employed persons) who had found their job through a labour hire firm/employment agency, of which 59% were males.
  • Of those persons who had found their main job through a labour hire firm/employment agency, 28% were in the 35–44 year age group and 27% were in the 25–34 year age group. (Data Cube 40)

EMPLOYED PERSONS

Younger persons were more likely to be employees rather than OMIEs or owner managers of unincorporated enterprises (OMUEs). As age increases, generally the proportion of employees decreases, while the proportion of OMIEs and OMUEs increase. However, being an employee was the most common form of employment for all employed persons for all age ranges.

Graph Image for Employed Persons, Status of employment by Age Group (years)

  • 97% of employed persons aged 15–24 were employees, 1% were OMIEs and 3% were OMUEs;
  • 80% of employed persons aged 35–54 were employees, 9% were OMIEs and 12% were OMUEs;
  • 56% of employed persons aged 65 and over were employees, 17% were OMIEs and 27% were OMUEs; and
  • almost half of employed males (49%) aged 65 years and over were either OMIEs or OMUEs. (Data Cube 3)
The industry Division with the most employed persons was Health care and social assistance (1.4 million or 12%) followed by Retail trade (1.3 million or 11%). Approximately one in five (21%) employed females worked in the Health care and social assistance industry Division. In contrast, the industry Division with the most employed males was Construction (923,100 or 15% of males). (Data Cube 3)

The industry Division Health care and social assistance contained the highest proportion of females (78%) followed by the Education and training industry Division (69%). The industry Division with the highest proportion of males was Construction (89%) followed by the Mining industry Division (86%). (Data Cube 3)

Employed males were more likely to be in the occupation group Technicians and trades workers (24%) followed by Professionals (20%). In contrast, employed females were more likely to be in the occupation group Professionals (26%) and Clerical and administrative workers (23%). (Data Cube 3)

The occupation group with the highest proportion of males was Machinery operators and drivers (91%) followed by Technicians and trades workers (86%). In contrast, the occupation group with the highest proportion of females was Clerical and administrative workers (76%) followed by Community and personal service workers (68%). (Data Cube 3)

Other characteristics of employed persons include:
  • 74% of full-time workers' earnings or income did not vary from one period to the next and 71% usually worked the same number of hours each week;
  • 55% of part-time workers' earnings or income did not vary and 68% usually worked the same number of hours each week; (Data Cube 4)
  • 87% of all employed persons worked in the private sector of whom 56% were male;
  • 19% of all employed persons had been with their current employer/business for less than 1 year, 41% had been with their current employer/business for 1–5 years and 11% had been with their current employer/business for 20 years or more; and
  • 10% of all employed persons did not expect to be with their current employer/business in 12 months time. Of these, 47% reported that they were Changing jobs/seeking other employment, 15% reported Seasonal job/temporary job/fixed-term contract/casual work, while 10% reported that they would be retiring. (Data Cube 2)
TRADE UNION MEMBERSHIP IN THEIR MAIN JOB1

Employees and OMIEs in main job

Trade union membership for employees and OMIEs has generally declined since 1992. From August 1992 to August 2014, the proportion of those who were trade union members in their main job has fallen from 40% to 15% in August 2014 (43% to 14% for males and 35% to 16% for females). (Data Cube 16)

Graph Image for Trade Union Membership in main job, Employees and OMIEs in main job by Sex

In August 2014, of employees and OMIEs in their main job;
  • There were 1.6 million persons who were trade union members in their main job;
  • 17% of full-time workers and 12% of part-time workers were trade union members in their main job; and
  • Tasmania had the highest proportion (24%) of employed persons who were trade union members in connection with their main job, while Western Australia had the lowest proportion (13%). (Data Cube 16)
Employed persons in main job

Persons employed in the Education and training industry Division had the highest proportion of trade union membership in their main job (34%) followed by Public administration and safety and Electricity, gas, water and waste services industry Divisions (both 31%). The industry Divisions with the lowest proportion of trade union membership in their main job were Agriculture, forestry and fishing, and Accommodation and food services (both 2%). (Data Cube 11)

The occupation groups Professionals and Machinery operators and drivers had the highest proportion of trade union members in their main job (both 20%). (Data Cube 11)

There were 1.7 million employed persons who were currently a trade union member but not necessarily in connection to their main job. Of these, 67% had been a trade union member for five years or more. Only 11% had been a trade union member for less than one year. There were 1.5 million employed persons who were not currently members of a trade union but had been one in the past. 8.4 million employed persons (72%) had never been a trade union member. (Data Cube 8)

Other characteristics of the 1.6 million employed persons who were trade union members in their main job include:
  • 51% were males;
  • 91% had paid leave entitlements;
  • 39% of public sector workers were members of a trade union in their main job, compared to only 10% of private sector workers; (Data Cube 11)
  • The mean weekly earnings in main job for employed persons who were a trade union member in their main job was $1,295 compared to $1,162 for employed persons who were not trade union members;
  • The median weekly earnings in main job for employed persons who were a trade union member in their main job was $1,200 compared to $960 for employed persons who were not trade union members; (Data Cube 12)
  • 94% of 15–19 year olds have never been a trade union member; and
  • 23% of employed persons aged 55–59 years are currently a trade union member and of those 85% have been for over five years. (Data Cube 15)
EMPLOYEES AND OWNER MANAGERS OF INCORPORATED ENTERPRISES (OMIEs) IN MAIN JOB

Mean weekly earnings in all jobs

Mean weekly earnings for full-time workers in all jobs was $1,448 ($1,592 for males and $1,264 for females). This increased 55% from August 2004 when earnings were $932. By comparison mean weekly earnings for part-time workers was $545 ($491 for males and $567 for females). This increased 57% from August 2004 when earnings were $348. (Data Cube 17)

Mean weekly earnings in all jobs for those who were employees and OMIEs in their main job increased 55% during the 10 years to August 2014, from $766 in August 2004 to $1,189 in August 2014. (Data Cube 17) Changes in mean weekly earnings are affected not only by changes in the rate of pay and inflation, but also by any changes in the composition of the Australian workforce, including:
  • diversity of employment arrangements;
  • number of males and females in the workforce;
  • number of hours worked;
  • the extent of part-time and casual employment; and
  • mix of industries and occupations.
Mean weekly earnings in main job

Mean weekly earnings for full-time workers in all jobs was $1,469 ($1,592 for males and $1,264 for females). This increased 58% from August 2004 when earnings were $932. By comparison mean weekly earnings for part-time workers was $545 ($491 for males and $567 for females). This increased 57% from August 2004 when earnings were $348. (Data Cube 17)

Graph Image for Mean weekly earnings in main job, By Age and Sex

The mean weekly earnings in main job was higher for males than for females in every age group. In the 60–64 year age group the mean weekly earnings for females was 59% of that for males. In the 20–24 year age group - female average weekly earnings were 80% of male earnings. The greatest difference in mean weekly earnings between males and females was for those aged 35–44 (a difference of $642 per week), while the smallest difference, $106, was for those aged 15–19 years. (Data Cube 21)

The greatest difference in mean weekly earnings between males and females for full-time workers was for those aged 55–59 (a difference of $398 per week) while the smallest difference, $16, was for those aged 15–19 years. By comparison the greatest difference in mean weekly earnings between males and females for part-time workers was for those aged 35–44 (a difference of $118 per week) while the smallest difference, $13, was for those aged 65 and over. (Data Cube 21)

Distribution of earnings

At August 2014, the mean weekly earnings of employees and OMIEs was higher than median weekly earnings. This difference demonstrates the asymmetric distribution of earnings, where a relatively small number of employees and OMIEs have comparatively very high earnings. This is illustrated in the graph below.



While median and mean earnings provide useful information about earnings distributions, they do not capture all the information about the distribution. It is also useful to consider percentiles, which measure the spread of earnings across the population. For example, the 10th percentile, P10, separates the population into the bottom 10% (lowest earners) and top 90%, while P90 separates the population into the bottom 90% and the top 10% (highest earners). At August 2014, P10 for weekly earnings in main job was $300, while P90 for weekly earnings in main job was $2,143 (Data Cube 24).

As would be expected, the distribution of weekly earnings of part-time employees and OMIEs was concentrated in lower earning groups with 62% earning under $600 per week. For full-time employees and OMIEs, 66% earned $1,000 or more per week. For male full-time employees and OMIEs, the mean weekly earnings in main job was $1,587 and the median weekly earnings in main job was $1,300. For female full-time employees and OMIEs, the mean weekly earnings in main job was $1,265 and the median weekly earnings in main job was $1,100. Conversely, for part-time employees and OMIEs, the mean weekly earnings in main job for males was $504 and the median weekly earnings was $400 and for females it was $565 and $500 for mean and median weekly earnings, respectively. (Data Cube 24)

Median weekly earnings in main job

In August 2014, the median weekly earnings in main job for all employees and OMIEs was $1,000, compared to a mean of $1,179. The difference between the mean and median shows that the high earnings of some employees and OMIEs increases the mean weekly earnings relative to median earnings. More than 10% of employees and OMIEs in their main job earned at least twice the median - $2,143 or more per week in their main job (Data Cube 22).

Median weekly earnings was highest for employees who worked in the Mining industry Division ($2,100) while the lowest median weekly earnings was for employees who worked in the Accommodation and food services industry Division ($461) (Data Cube 23). By occupation group, the highest median earnings was for Managers ($1,438) while the lowest was for Sales workers ($518) (Data Cube 24).

Median weekly earnings for full-time workers was $1,200 compared to $467 for part-time workers. Median weekly earnings in main job for male full-time workers was $1,300 compared to $1,100 for females. For part-time workers though, median weekly earnings was higher for females than males ($500 compared to $400 respectively). (Data Cube 22)

Other characteristics of Employees and OMIEs

At August 2014, 17% of male employees and OMIEs worked part-time in their main job, whereas 47% of female employees and OMIEs worked part-time in their main job. (Data Cube 24)

Employees and OMIEs in the Machinery operators and drivers occupation group were most likely to be male (91%) followed by Technicians and trades workers (86%). In contrast, the Clerical and administrative workers occupation group contained the highest proportion of female employees and OMIEs (77%) followed by Community and personal service workers (69%). (Data Cube 24)

The occupation group with the highest proportion of all employees and OMIEs was Professionals (23%). This occupation group also employed the highest proportion of females (26%). The Technicians and trade workers occupation group contained the highest proportion of male employees and OMIEs (22%). (Data Cube 24)

Most employees and OMIEs working in the Construction industry Division were males (88%) followed by Mining (85%). In comparison, the industry Division with the highest proportion of females was Health care and social assistance followed by Education and training (78% and 69% respectively). (Data Cube 25)

The industry Division with the highest proportion of all employees and OMIEs was Health care and social assistance (13%) followed by Retail trade (11%). The industry Division with the highest proportion of males was Construction (12%), but only 2% of females. The industry Division with the highest proportion of females was the Health care and social assistance industry Division (21%). This compared to only 5% of males working in this industry Division. (Data Cube 25)

The Mining industry Division contained the highest proportion of employees and OMIEs who worked full-time in their main job (96%) while Accommodation and food services had the lowest proportion (39%). (Data Cube 20)

The Construction industry Division had the highest proportion of all males who worked full-time in their main job (14%), followed by Manufacturing (13%). The Health care and social assistance industry Division had the highest proportion of all females who worked full-time in their main job (19%) followed by Education and training (13%). The industry Division with the most part-time workers was Health care and social assistance (19%). (Data Cube 20)

The Managers occupation group had the highest proportion of employees and OMIEs who worked full-time in their main job (89%), while Sales workers had the lowest proportion (41%). (Data Cube 20)

The Technicians and trades workers occupation group had the highest proportion of males who worked full-time in their main job (24%) followed by Professionals (21%). The Professionals occupation group had the highest proportion of females who worked full-time in their main job (30%) followed by Clerical and administrative workers (26%). The occupation groups with the most part-time workers were Sales workers and Professionals (both 19%). (Data Cube 20)EMPLOYEES IN MAIN JOB

Of the 9.6 million persons who were employees in their main job, 51% were males. Of the 7.3 million employees with paid leave entitlements, 53% were males. Nearly four out of five (79%) male employees had paid leave entitlements in their main job, compared to almost three out of four female employees (73%). (Data Cube 33)

There were 72% of employees aged 15–19 years who did not have paid leave entitlements compared to those aged 20–24 years (40%). Female employees made up 55% of those without paid leave entitlements. (Data Cube 3)

The industry Division with the highest proportion of employees without paid leave entitlements was Accommodation and food services (63%). This was the case for both males and females in this industry Division (59% and 67% respectively). (Data Cube 3).

The occupation group with the highest proportion of employees without paid leave entitlements was Labourers (48%) followed by Sales workers (45%). The occupation group Labourers also had the highest proportion of males and females without paid leave entitlements (46% and 51% respectively). Occupation groups with the lowest proportion of employees without paid leave entitlements were Managers (7%) and Professionals (13%). (Data Cube 3)

The industry Division with the highest proportion of employees in their main job was Health care and social assistance (13%). Of male employees, the highest proportion worked in the Manufacturing (12%) and Construction (11%) industry Divisions. In contrast, of female employees only 5% and 2% worked in these industry Divisions respectively. The industry Division with the most female employees was Health care and social assistance (22%). (Data Cube 3)

The industry Division Health care and social assistance had the highest proportion of female employees (80%) followed by Education and training (70%). The industry Division Construction had the highest proportion of male employees (89%) followed by Mining (86%). (Data Cube 3)

Male employees made up 91% and 85% of those in the occupation groups Machinery operators and drivers and Technicians and trades workers respectively. In contrast, a higher proportion of female employees were in the Clerical and administrative workers (76%) and Community and personal service workers (69%) occupation groups. (Data Cube 3)

Other characteristics of employees in main job include:
    • 18% were aged 15–24 years, and 16% were aged 55 years and over; (Data Cube 32)
    • 21% had been with their current employer for less than one year, while 22% had been with their current employer for 10 years or more;
    • only 4% worked on a fixed-term contract, of whom 51% were in the occupation group Professionals, and 36% worked in the Education and training industry Division; (Data Cube 33) and
    • 11% of workers on a fixed-term contract were not guaranteed a minimum number of hours each week. (Data Cube 32)
INDEPENDENT CONTRACTORS

The highest proportion of independent contractors were in the occupation groups Technicians and trades workers (30%) and Professionals (25%). These occupation groups also employed the highest proportions of male independent contractors (39% and 20% respectively). In contrast, of all female independent contractors the highest proportion were Professionals (36%), followed by Clerical and administrative workers (19%). (Data Cube 36)

Graph Image for Distribution of Independent Contractors, Occupation of main job - By sex

There were just over 1 million persons who were independent contractors in August 2014. Almost three quarters (74%) of all independent contractors were males. More than half (54%) of the independent contractors were aged 45 years and over. (Data Cube 35)

The Construction industry Division had the most independent contractors (31%) followed by the Professional, scientific and technical services industry Division (16%). These industry Divisions also had the most male independent contractors (40% and 15% respectively). By comparison, the Professional, scientific and technical services industry Division had the most female independent contractors (20%) followed by Health care and social assistance (18%). (Data Cube 36)

More than three quarters (76%) of independent contractors were usually able to work on more than one active contract at a time, however, under half (44%) of all independent contractors had only one active contract in August 2014. (Data Cube 37)

Other characteristics of independent contractors include:
    • 93% expected to be with current employer/business in 12 months;
    • 20% of persons not expecting to be with current employer/business in 12 months reported that they would be retiring;
    • 13% had been with their current employer/business for less than one year, while 42% had been with their current employer/business for 10 years or more; (Data Cube 36) and
    • 57% were able to (sub)contract their own work. (Data Cube 37)
    PERSONS WHO FOUND THEIR JOB THROUGH A LABOUR HIRE FIRM/EMPLOYMENT AGENCY

    In August 2014, there were approximately 599,800 persons who had found their job through a labour hire firm/employment agency of which 59% were males. (Data Cube 40)

    The highest proportion of males who had found their job through a labour hire firm/employment agency were in the Manufacturing (21%) and Construction (10%) industry Divisions. For females, the most common industry Divisions were Health care and social assistance (16%) followed by Manufacturing and Financial and insurance services (both 9%). (Data Cube 41)

    Graph Image for Persons who found their job through a labour hire firm or employment agency, By Industry of main job - By Sex

    Of those persons who had found their job through a labour hire firm/employment agency, the age groups with the highest proportion were in the 35–44 and 25–34 year age groups (28% and 27% respectively). (Data Cube 40)

    The most common occupation groups for males who had found their job through a labour hire firm/employment agency were Machinery operators and drivers, Professionals and Technicians and Trades workers (each 19%). For females, the most common occupation groups were Clerical and administrative workers (35%) and Professionals (22%). (Data Cube 41)

    There were approximately 124,400 persons (21% of those who had found their job through a labour hire firm/employment agency) who were paid by a labour hire firm/employment agency (labour hire workers). Of these, the Manufacturing (19%) and Administrative and support services (16%) industry Divisions contained the highest proportion of those who were labour hire workers. (Data Cube 42)

    Labourers (21%) and Technicians and trades workers (19%) were the most common occupation groups for those who were labour hire workers. (Data Cube 42)

    1 From 2014, all employed people were asked about whether they were members of a trade union, In previous years, only employees and owner managers of incorporated enterprises were asked if they were members of a trade union,