4125.0 - Gender Indicators, Australia, Sep 2017  
Latest ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 19/09/2017   
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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, 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.

Graph Image for Figure 2 - Persons not in the labour force, by age and sex, 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)



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 2013-14, a superannuation pension or annuity was the main source of income for 11% of women and 18% of men aged 65 years and over who were not in the labour force. Government pensions and allowances were the main source of income for 78% of women and 72% of men (see Table 2.5).

Men aged 55-64 in 2013-14 had a much higher average superannuation balance than women the same age: $321,993 compared with $180,013. There was less discrepancy between men and women aged 44 years and younger, but male superannuation balances were still higher in every age group (see Table 2.6).

A quarter (25%) of women aged 15-64 years had no superannuation coverage, compared with 20% of men in this age group (see Table 2.7). Proportions of people with no superannuation coverage have been dropping over the last decade, as has the gap between men and women with no coverage (from a 9.3 percentage point gap in 2003-04 to a 5.2 percentage point gap a decade later). This trend is particularly noticeable for people aged 55-64 years, where proportions of women with no coverage have dropped from 51% to 27%, while those of men have dropped from 29% to 17%.

Graph Image for Figure 3 - Persons aged 55-64, no superannuation coverage, by sex, 2003-04 to 2013-14

Source(s): Source: ABS Survey of Income and Housing, 2003-04 to 2013-14



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

In 2013-14, women were slightly more likely overall to live in low economic resource households (20.5% compared with 19.5%), in line with the long term trend. However, the proportion of men aged 35-44 living in low economic resource households increased from 19.8% in 2011-12 to 24.3% in 2013-14, the highest increase across all age groups for both males and females since 2003-04 (see Figure 4 below, and Table 2.8 for more detail).

Graph Image for Figure 4 - Persons in low economic resource households 35-44 and all persons, by sex, 2003-04 to 2013-14

Footnote(s): (a) Income estimates from 2009–10, 2011–12 and 2013-14 are not directly comparable with estimates for 2003–04 and 2005–06 due to improvements made to measuring income.

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



Housing

In 2013-14, women were a little more likely than men to live in a home they owned or were buying (62% compared with 59%). While rates of men and women living in a home with a mortgage were similar (34%), women were slightly more likely to live in a home without a mortgage (28% compared with 25% of men). See Figure 5 below, and Table 2.14 via the Downloads tab for more detail.

Graph Image for Figure 5 - Persons who own their own home (with and without a mortgage), by age and sex, 2013-14 (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 who lived in houses that were owned outright, 2014 General Social Survey data shows that 58% of women living in houses that were owned outright were married, while 11% were divorced or separated, 15% were widows, and 17% had never been married. 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%).