Australian Bureau of Statistics
4125.0 - Gender Indicators, Australia, Jul 2011
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 26/08/2011 First Issue
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In 2009-10, 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 female employees (24%) were also employed without paid leave entitlements compared to male employees (17%) in November 2010.
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. Since 2001-02 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 12%.
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 2009-10, it increased by three 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 2009-10, 18% of employed males and 49% of employed females aged 55-64 years worked part-time, increasing to 44% and 67% respectively for 65-74 year old employed males and females.
In 2009-10, a higher proportion of employed females aged 20-44 years worked part-time compared to employed males in this age group. Within this age group, a higher proportion of employed females work part-time in the 35-44 year age group (49%) compared to younger age groups (33% of 25-34 years and 42% for 20-24 years age groups). Many females in the 35-44 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 9% of all employed males aged 35-44 years and 45-54 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 2009-10, over two-thirds (67%) 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 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 female employees aged 20-74 years worked as an employee without leave entitlements, compared to 17% of male employees. 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 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).
In November 2010, the Financial and insurance services industry group had the lowest proportions of male and female employees (aged 20-74 years) who were without paid leave entitlements (6% for both males and females). The industry with the highest proportions of male and female employees (aged 20-74 years) without paid leave entitlements was Accommodation and food services (47% for males and 64% for females).
Over half of all female employees in the Agriculture forestry and fishing industry (52%) were without paid leave entitlements, while the proportion of males without leave entitlements in this industry was 41%. Females constitute only around one third of all employees (32%) working in this industry. In contrast, the Retail trade industry had 37% of female employees without paid leave entitlements compared to 23% for males. Over half (56%) of employees 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 female employees and 27% of male employees without paid leave entitlements.
The Administrative and support services industry had a higher proportion of the male employees (38%) working without paid leave entitlements compared to females (31%).
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