Australian Bureau of Statistics
4125.0 - Gender Indicators, Australia, Jan 2012
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 07/02/2012
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In 2010-11, 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 2010. Full-time employed females worked fewer hours, on average, per week than males who worked full-time (37.2 hours compared to 41.3 hours). However, there was little difference for those who worked part-time (17.1 hours for females compared to 17.4 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 moved into the labour force on a full-time basis. The increased life expectancy of Australians, and the much longer years of life after age 64 years, is also seeing increasing rates of employment for people over 64 years of age. Between 2001-02 and 2010-11 the labour force participation rate for men aged 65 -74 years has increased from 15% to 24%, 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 2001-02 and 2010-11, it increased by around 2.5 percentage points for males (from 11% 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 2010-11, 17% of employed males and 49% of employed females aged 55-64 years worked part-time, increasing to 43% and 69% respectively for 65-74 year old employed males and females.
In 2010-11, 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 work part-time in the 35-44 year age group (48%) compared to younger female age groups (34% of 25-34 year olds and 43% 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.
Part-time employment for parents
According to Census data, between 1996 and 2006 the labour force participation rate of mothers with children aged 0-14 years rose from 59% to 64%. In 2006, employed mothers with children aged 0-14 years were much more likely to be working part-time (59% both of employed lone mothers and of employed mothers in couple families) than were employed females overall (45%).
Females with young children have been identified as a key focus for policies aimed at lifting labour force participation in recent years. The Child Care Tax Rebate, for example, first introduced in 2004-05, aimed to encourage the labour force participation of mothers with young children by increasing the affordability of child care. 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 been particularly low.
The proportion of females working part-time is also impacted by the age of the youngest dependent child. In 2010-11, two-thirds (66%) 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 5 years or under, and 8% with the youngest child aged between 6-14 years, worked part-time.
In 2010-11, 20-74 year old men who were employed full-time worked, on average, more hours per week than women (41.3 hours compared to 37.2 hours). These average hours worked by full-time males and females were lower than in 2001-02 by 1.0 and 0.6 hours per week, respectively.
Males and females aged 20-74 years who were employed part-time worked, on average, a similar number of hours (17.4 and 17.1 hours respectively) in 2010-11. For part-time males, the hours worked was similar to 2001-02, however for females increased by 0.7 of an hour.
In all age groups, males employed full-time worked more hours per week, on average than their female counterparts. The difference was lowest for 20-24 year olds (39.3 hours compared to 37.1 hours) and highest for 65-74 year olds (43.3 hours compared to 38.2 hours).
For those who were employed part-time, the average weekly hours worked by males were significantly higher than females in the 25-34 year and 35-44 year age groups (by 2.4 hours and 2.1 hours, respectively).
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 about the same number of hours in employment, on average, as all men who were employed full-time.
Male parents whose youngest child was aged 0-5 years who were full-time worked, on average, 41.9 hours per week compared to 33.3 hours for women. Women's hours increased where the youngest child was aged 6-14 years to 37.1 hours, while men's hours were about the same (42 hours).
In recent decades, there has been an increase in forms of employment other than the 'traditional' arrangement of full-time permanent ongoing wage or salary jobs, with regular hours and paid leave. One such form of employment is casual employment.
Casual employees are often characterised as those who are not entitled to paid holiday or sick leave, but who might receive a higher rate of pay in compensation. While many casual employees 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 2010, almost a quarter (24%) of employed females aged 20-74 years worked as an employee without leave entitlements, compared to 17% of employed males. The data is from the Forms of Employment Survey that collects information about the employment arrangement of the employees. Employees in this survey exclude the owner managers of incorporated enterprises (OMIEs).
In November 2010, the proportion of employed persons who were employees without paid leave entitlements was higher for females than for males in all age groups except for the 65-74 year age group, which had almost equal proportions of male and female employees without paid leave entitlements (33% and 34% respectively).
The largest proportional difference between those employed males and females who were employees without leave entitlements, was in the Other services industry (13% of males and 37% females) (see (Endnote 1) for further information on the Other services industry).
For both males and females, the Accommodation and food services industry and the Agriculture, forestry and fishing industry had the highest proportions of employed persons who were employees without paid leave entitlements (47% and 41% for males, 64% and 52% for females, respectively).
Over half of all employed females in the Agriculture forestry and fishing industry (52%) were employees without paid leave entitlements, while the proportion of employed males who were employees without paid leave entitlements in this industry was 41%. Females constitute only around one third of all employed persons (32%) working in this industry. In contrast, 37% of females employed in the Retail trade industry were employees without paid leave entitlements compared to 23% for males. Over half (56%) of all employed persons in the Retail trade industry were female. In the Arts and recreation services industry, with a workforce comprised of 52% males and 48% females, there were 43% of employed females and 27% of employed males who were employees without paid leave entitlements.
1. The Other services industry is comprised of a broad range of personal services (e.g. hair, beauty, diet and weight management services) and also includes selected repair and/or maintenance activities of equipment and machinery (excluding boats, aircraft, railway rolling stock or buildings) and industries that engage in employing workers employed in activities mainly concerned with the operation of households (e.g. gardeners, nannies and caretakers) For more information see:
Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2008, Australian and New Zealand Standard Industrial Classification (ANZSIC), 2006 (Revision1.0), cat. no. 1292.0, ABS, Canberra, <www.abs.gov.au>.
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This page last updated 2 August 2012