Australian Bureau of Statistics
4125.0 - Gender Indicators, Australia, Jan 2013
Latest ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 30/01/2013
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In 2011-12, 43% of employed females aged 20-74 years worked part-time compared to 14% of employed males in the same age group. A higher proportion of employed females (23%) were also employees without paid leave entitlements compared to employed males (17%) in November 2011. In 2011-12, full-time employed females worked fewer hours, on average, per week than males who worked full-time (36.4 hours compared to 40.6 hours). However, there was a smaller difference for those who worked part-time (16.8 hours for females compared to 17.3 hours for males).
The 20-74 year age group has been chosen as the key broad population of interest for a number of reasons. Those in the 15-19 year age group are more likely to be working part-time and/or studying, and not yet in the labour force on a full-time basis. During the last decade life expectancy has increased for all Australians and those aged over 64 years can expect to live longer and are more likely to be employed. Between 2002-03 and 2011-12 the labour force participation rate for men aged 65 -74 years has increased from 15% to 26%, while for women it has doubled from 6% to 13%.
There has been a gradual, long-term trend away from 'standard' full-time jobs to part-time work. The increase in participation of females in employment is strongly associated with an increase in part-time work. The increased availability of part-time work has expanded opportunities to balance work and family responsibilities, to participate in education, or to make the transition to retirement. A more detailed analysis of labour force participation is included in the Labour Force commentary.
While the proportion of employed females who were working part time has remained relatively stable at 42% or 43% between 2002-03 and 2011-12, it increased by around 2 percentage points for males (from 12% to 14%).
The proportion of employed males and females working part-time varies over the life course, and this is particularly apparent during the transition phase to retirement. In 2011-12, 17% of employed males and 48% of employed females aged 55-64 years worked part-time, increasing to 43% and 68% respectively for 65-74 year old employed males and females.
In 2011-12, while a higher proportion of employed females were working part-time in all age groups than men, the difference was greatest in the middle age groups. A higher proportion of employed females were working part-time in the 35-44 year age group (49%) compared to younger female age groups (34% of 25-34 year olds and 42% for 20-24 years olds). Many females in the 35-44 year age group have children under 15 years and are likely to be combining caring duties with part-time work.
The proportions of employed females working part-time were above 40% for females in all age groups over 34 years, and were higher than their respective male counterparts. Only 8% of all employed males aged 35-44 years were employed in a part-time capacity in 2011-12.
Part-time employment for parents
According to Census data, between 1996 and 2011 the labour force participation rate of mothers with children aged 0-14 years rose from 59% to 67%. In 2011, employed mothers with children aged 0-14 years were much more likely to be working part-time (55% of employed lone mothers and 57% of employed mothers in couple families) than were employed females overall (44%).
In recent years, Federal Government policy has focussed on lifting the labour force participation rate of females with young children, and maintaining their connection with the labour market. The Child Care Tax Rebate, which was first introduced in 2004-05, aimed to encourage the labour force participation of mothers with young children by increasing the affordability of child care. The introduction of a national Paid Parental Leave scheme in 2011 encourages women to maintain this connection with the workforce and their careers following the birth of their child. (Endnote 1) However employed mothers with children aged 0-14 years are still much more likely to be working part-time to balance their paid work and child care responsibilities. On the other hand, part-time employment levels among their male counterparts have remained particularly low.
The proportion of females working part-time is also impacted by the age of the youngest dependent child. In 2011-12, around two-thirds (65%) of employed females aged 20-74 years with a child aged 5 years or under were in paid part-time work, and this declined to 55% for females whose youngest child was aged 6-14 years. Only 7% of employed males aged 20-74 years with a child aged 14 years and under, worked part-time.
AVERAGE HOURS WORKED PER WEEK
In 2011-12, men aged 20-74 years who were employed full-time worked, on average, more hours per week than women (40.6 hours compared to 36.4 hours). These average hours worked by full-time males and females were lower than in 2002-03 by 2.0 and 1.8 hours per week respectively.
Average hours worked per week for both males and females who were employed part-time in 2011-12 were similar compared to 2002-03 (17.3 and 16.8 hours respectively).
In all age groups, males employed full-time worked more hours per week, on average than their female counterparts.
For those who were employed part-time, the average weekly hours worked by males were significantly higher than females for all age groups except the 20-24 year and 55-64 year age group.
Regardless of whether employed full-time or part-time, male parents with a youngest child aged under 15 years living in the household worked more hours (on average) than their female counterparts. Male parents in full-time employment spent marginally more hours per week, on average, in employment than all men who were employed full-time.
In 2011-12, male parents employed full-time whose youngest child was aged 0-5 years, worked on average, 41.1 hours per week compared to 32.3 hours for female parents. Women's hours increased where the youngest child was aged 6-14 years to 36.4 hours, while men's hours were about the same (around 41 to 42 hours).
EMPLOYEES WITHOUT PAID LEAVE ENTITLEMENTS
In November 2011, almost a quarter (23%) of female employees aged 20-74 years worked without leave entitlements in their main job, compared to 17% of male employees. The data, from the Forms of Employment Survey, provides information about the employment arrangement of employees - those who work for a public or private employer and receive remuneration in wages and salary. Employees are engaged under a contract of service and take directions from their employer, supervisor, manager or foreman on how they perform their work (note that this definition differs to other ABS labour force and employer surveys).
Employees who are not entitled to paid holiday or sick leave, might receive a higher rate of pay in compensation. While many employees without leave entitlements value the flexibility of arrangements which enable them to balance paid work with family, study or other activities, others may find themselves in less than favourable employment arrangements.
In November 2011, the proportion of employees without paid leave entitlements was significantly higher for females than for males in all age groups except for the 65-74 year age group, which had similar proportions of male and female employees without paid leave entitlements (35% and 41% respectively).
For males the Accommodation and food services industry had the highest proportion of employees without paid leave entitlements (49%). However, this rate was lower than for females employees working in the same industry (59%). Over half (55%) of all employees in the Accommodation and food services industry were without leave entitlements. Females made up 57% of employees working in this industry.
For females, the Agriculture, forestry and fishing industry had the highest proportion of employees without leave entitlements (60%). Rates were higher than those for male employees working in this industry (40%). Nearly half (45%) of all employees in the Agriculture, forestry and fishing industry were without paid leave entitlements. Females constituted only one-quarter of all employees working in this industry.
The Arts and recreation services industry (made up of 53% male employees) had the largest proportional difference between males and female employees without leave entitlements in November 2011 (21% of males and 46% females). The industry with the next highest difference was Other services (13% of males and 34% of females) (see Endnote 2 for more information on the Other services industry).
The industry with the highest proportion of females, where there was a significant difference between males and females employees without leave entitlement, was retail trade. The retail trade industry employed 58% females - of these 35% were without leave entitlements, compared to 22% of the males in this industry.
INDEPENDENT CONTRACTORS OR OTHER BUSINESS OPERATORS
In November 2011, 13% of employed males and 6% of employed females worked as independent contractors. A further 11% of employed males and 8% of employed females worked as other business operators. Employed males across all age groups were more likely to be independent contractors or other business operators than females, except for males and females aged 65-74 years where there was no significant difference for other business operators (29% of males, 24% of females).
Independent contractors are people who operate their own business and who contract to perform services for others, without having the legal status of an employee. They spend most of their time providing a labour service directly to a client. Other business operators are distinguished from independent contractors in that they tend to generate their income from managing their staff or from selling goods or services to the public. Other business operators spend little time working on client tasks with most of their time spent on managing their employees and/or business. (Endnote 3)
People who work as independent contractors or other business operators may choose to do so to have a greater say in their employment conditions than employees. Most independent contractors and other business operators report having some say in their start or finish times. Compared to employees, independent contractors and other business operators are also more likely to vary the days that they usually work. (Endnote 3)
For employed parents with dependent children, male parents were more likely than female parents to work as independent contractors. A higher proportion of fathers with a partner worked as an independent contractor (13%) compared to mothers with a partner (7%). Similarly, a higher proportion of employed lone fathers worked as an independent contractor (15%) compared to lone mothers (6%).
More lone employed fathers (11%) than lone mothers (5%) also worked as other business operators. However, similar proportions of employed mothers and fathers with dependent children, who had a partner living with them, worked as other business operators (13% of fathers, 12% of mothers).
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This page last updated 16 May 2013