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1370.0 - Measures of Australia's Progress, 2010  
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 15/09/2010   
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Work

Employment to population ratio(a)(b)
Graph Image for Employment to population ratio(a)(b)

Footnote(s): (a) Annual average. (b) Proportion of civilian population aged 15 years and over.

Source(s): ABS Labour Force, Australia (cat. no. 6202.0)

Employment to population ratio(a)(b) - by age
Graph Image for Employment to population ratio(a)(b) - by age

Footnote(s): (a) Annual average. (b) Proportion of civilian population.

Source(s): ABS Labour Force, Australia, Detailed - Electronic Delivery (cat. no. 6291.0.55.001)

WORKING POPULATION

While the headline and supplementary progress indicators for work focus on the underutilisation of labour, any assessment of progress also needs to consider changes in the proportion and the number of people who are actually in work.

The proportion of people (aged 15 years and over) who were working increased from 57% in 1979 to 62% in 2009, from 6.1 million people in 1979 to 10.8 million in 2009. During this period there were major changes to the industry and workforce structure, with employment growth largely concentrated in the service sector (ABS 2003).

A highly significant change over the last thirty years is the increase in the proportion of women in paid employment, increasing from 40% of women in 1979 to well over half (55%) in 2009. This reflects a change in attitude towards the traditional role of women, as well as the impact of economic deregulation which has resulted in increased opportunities for women in the labour market. Much of the growth in female employment has been in part-time and casual jobs.

Over the same period the proportion of men who are working decreased from 74% to 68%. Despite this decrease, in 2009 there was still a large gap between the proportion of women who were working compared with men (55% of women compared with 68% of men).

The increase in the proportion of women in employment between 1979 and 2009 was evident for all age groups, but was more notable in the older age groups. In 1979, the peak age group for employment among women was 20-24 years (63%). However in 2009, the peak age group was 45-54 years (75%). For men, the peak age group for employment was 35-44 years in both 1979 (93%) and 2009 (88%).

Despite an overall decrease in the proportion of men in employment, this was not evident for older men. For men aged 60-64 years, the proportion working increased from 52% to 57%, and for men aged 65 years and over from 11% to 15%.

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