4125.0 - Gender Indicators, Australia, Sep 2017  
Latest ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 21/11/2017   
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ECONOMIC SECURITY

The Economic Security section contains the following sub-topics:
  • Working population (labour force participation, employment conditions, underutilised labour, persons not in the labour force)
  • Earnings, income and economic situation (earnings, retirement income, superannuation, economic resources, financial stress)
  • Housing (Housing circumstances, including tenure and rental stress)

Detailed data for these sub-topics is available from the Downloads tab, above (see Table 1).


INSIGHTS

Working population

Labour force participation

In 2016-17, the labour force participation rate of people aged 20-74 years was 66% for women and 78% for men. While young women aged 15-19 were slightly more likely than young men the same age to be working or looking for work, proportions of men participating in the labour force outstripped those for women in every age group from 20 years and over.

In the decade between 2006-07 and 2016-17, the participation rate for women aged 60-64 increased from 34% to 50%, an increase of 16%: the highest increase in all age groups for both men and women over this time (see Figure 1 below, and Table 1.1 via the Downloads tab for more detail).

Graph Image for Figure 1 - Women's labour force participation by age groups, 2006-07 to 2016-17 (a)

Footnote(s): (a) Data averaged using 12 months in the financial year.

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



Employment conditions

Women are much more likely than men to be working part-time. In 2016-17, almost half of employed women worked part time (45%), compared with 16% of employed men (see Table 1.9). This proportion rose to three in five (61%) of employed women with a child under 5, while less than one in ten fathers of young children worked part-time (8.4%).

Women are also a little more likely to work in casual jobs than men. In 2016, 27% of female employees aged 15 years and over did not have paid leave entitlements, compared with 23% of male employees. Almost one in five employed parents of dependent children in couple families did not have paid leave entitlements, and this proportion rose to over one in five lone parents: 17% of partnered fathers and 21% of lone fathers, compared with 19% of partnered mothers, and 26% of lone mothers (see Table 1.12).

Underutilised labour

In 2016-17, 6.0% of men and 9.7% of women aged 20-74 in the labour force were underemployed; that is they wanted, and were available for, more hours of work than they currently had (see Table 1.15).

Underemployment rates tend to rise for mothers of dependent children, but not for fathers. The underemployment rates for women with school aged children (6-14 years) and non-school aged children (0-5 year olds) were 12% and 9.1% respectively in 2016-17. These proportions have been reasonably consistent over the past decade, as have those of fathers: 3.5% of fathers of dependent children were underemployed in 2016-17.

In 2016-17, the average unemployment rate for 20-74 year olds was 4.8% of men and 5.1% of women (see table 1.14).

Adding people who are either unemployed or underemployed together creates an underutilised labour force population, from which an underutilisation rate can be derived. While the highest underutilisation rate in 2016-17 was for young people aged 15-19 years (40% and 42% respectively of young men and women this age), the biggest gender difference across age groups was for men and women aged 35-44 (a 7.3% percentage point difference, making women in this age group twice as likely as their male counterparts to be looking for more work). Overall, the labour force underutilisation rate in Australia in 2016-17 was 11% for men and 15% for women aged 20-74. See Table 1.16 for more detail.

People not in the labour force

Just over one in five (22%) Australian men aged 20-74 years was not in the labour force in 2016-17, compared with one in three women in this age group (34%). Proportions of people not in the labour force rise dramatically from the age of 55, while the largest gender differences are for people aged 30-34 years. Reflecting the age when women are likely to be having children (and taking a major role in child care), women aged 25-44 years are more than two and a half times as likely as men in this age group to be out of the labour force. See Table 1.17 for more detail.



Footnote(s): (a) Data averaged using 12 months in the financial year.

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


Proportions of men and women who are not in the labour force are quite stable over time, for all age groups.


Earnings, Income and Economic situation

Earnings

In 2016 the average female wage was 89% of the average male wage (non-managerial adult hourly ordinary time cash earnings). The median female wage was 92% of the median male wage. This gap has remained relatively steady over the past decade (see Table 2.1).

The difference in earnings of men and women may be analysed in different ways. It is possible to analyse total income earned from all sources, rather than just wages as shown here. It is also possible to analyse differences in earnings for various industry and occupation groups. The Workplace Gender Equality Agency provides further analyses of the gender pay gap (see their Factsheet for more detail).


Retirement income and Superannuation

In 2015-16, a superannuation pension or annuity was the main source of income for 22% of men and 14% of women aged 65 years and over who were not in the labour force. This is a notable change from a decade earlier, where a superannuation pension or annuity was the main source of income for 17% and 8% respectively of these men and women. Government pensions and allowances were the main source of income for 70% of men and 76% of women aged 65 years and over who were no longer in the labour force in 2015-16 (see Table 2.5).

Men aged 55-64 in 2015-16 had a much higher average superannuation balance than women the same age: $310,145 compared with $196,409. There was less discrepancy between men and women aged under 45 years, but male superannuation balances were still higher in every age group (see Table 2.6).

Both men and women who were in a couple relationship (with a partner in the same household) had higher personal superannuation balances than those not in a couple relationship with a partner in the same household. The median superannuation balance for women in a couple relationship household was $48,000, compared with $20,000 for those who were not in a couple relationship household. (The median value is the middle value if balances for all women aged 15 years and over were arranged from smallest to largest.) The median balance for men aged 15 years and over in a couple relationship household was $85,000, compared with $18,000 for men who were not in a couple relationship household.

Just under a quarter (24%) of working aged women (15-64 years) had no superannuation coverage at all, compared with 20% of men in this group. Proportions of people with no superannuation coverage have started to drop over recent years, as has the gap between men and women with no coverage (from a 8.2 percentage point gap in 2005-06 to a 4.2 percentage point gap a decade later). This trend was particularly noticeable for people aged 55-64 years, where proportions of women with no coverage dropped from 43% to 26%, while those of men dropped from 24% to 16% (see graph below, and Table 2.7 for more detail).

Graph Image for Figure 3 - Persons aged 55-64, no superannuation coverage, by sex, 2005-06 to 2015-16

Source(s): ABS Survey of Income and Housing, 2005-06 to 2015-16



People with no superannuation coverage may be more financially insecure in other areas as well. In 2015-16, over a quarter (26%) of working aged men and women with no superannuation coverage lived in areas of most socioeconomic disadvantage, compared with 18% of both men and women in this age group overall. They were less likely to have the financial security of home ownership, with 41% each living in rented accommodation (compared with 32% and 31% of men and women in this age group overall). And they tended to have lower incomes: 33% and 34% respectively of working aged men and women with no superannuation coverage were in the lowest quintile of equivalised household income, compared with 15% of men and 16% of women in this age group overall.

In 2013-14, people aged 15-64 years with a disability were more likely to have no superannuation coverage (28% of men and 34% of women) than those with no disability (18% and 23% respectively). Around 32% of women aged 15-64 who were born overseas had no superannuation coverage, compared with 22% of those born in Australia (see Table 3.2.7 Expanded).

Low economic resource households

Low economic resource households are those in the bottom two quintiles for both income and wealth (this includes imputed rent, which represents the economic benefit to those people who own their own home or who are paying subsidised rent). For most Australians, income is the most important resource they have to meet their living costs. However, reserves of wealth (such as equity in a house) can be drawn upon to maintain living standards in periods of reduced income or substantial unexpected expenses. Considering income and wealth together helps to better understand the economic well-being or vulnerability of households.

In 2015-16, proportions of men and women living in low economic resource households were similar (20% compared with 21%), however, this was quite a different story for lone parents, at 34% of lone fathers and 47% of lone mothers respectively (see Table 2.8 for more detail).


Housing

In 2015-16, women were a little more likely than men to live in a home they owned or were buying (60% compared with 56%). While rates of men and women living in a home with a mortgage were similar (33% and 34% respectively), women were slightly more likely own a home outright (26% compared with 23% of men). See Figure 5 below, and Table 2.14 via the Downloads tab for more detail. Young women were slightly more likely to be buying a house than young men: around 20% of men and 26% of women aged 15 to 35 years had a mortgage. People most likely to have a mortgage were aged 45 to 54 years, with just under 54% still paying off their home. Not surprisingly, those aged 75 years and over were the most likely to own their home outright: 78% of men and 75% of women in this age group (see Table 2.15).

Home ownership rates for men and women have dropped slightly since 2007-08. In 2015-16, 56% of men and 60% of women owned or were buying their homes, a drop of 2.8 and 2.3 percentage points respectively from 2007-08 (see Table 2.14).

Graph Image for Figure 4 - Persons who own their own home (with and without a mortgage), by age and sex, 2015-16 (a)

Footnote(s): (a) Excludes dependent students aged 15-24 years

Source(s): ABS Survey of Income and Housing (cat. no. 6523.0)

    For context regarding the slightly higher proportions of women in houses without a mortgage, 2014 General Social Survey data shows that a higher proportion of women who owned their homes were widows (14%). Around 58% of women living in houses that were owned outright were married, while 11% were divorced or separated, and 17% had never been married. In contrast, 3% of women who did not own their houses were widows, 46% were married, 12% were divorced or separated, and 39% had never been married. Around 5% of men who owned their homes outright were widowers.

    Around three quarters of women who lived in homes that were owned outright were aged 50 years and over (74%). The vast majority of widows living in homes owned outright were aged 65 years and over (86%).