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Full-time and part-time employment
Employed people are regarded as either full-time or part-time workers depending on the number of hours worked. Full-time workers are those who:
Part-time workers are those who usually work less than 35 hours a week and either did so during the reference week, or were not at work during the reference week.
Graph 8.10 shows annual percentage changes in part-time and full-time employment since 1986-87. For most of this period, part-time employment increased at a greater rate than full-time employment. As a result, the proportion of employed people who worked part time rose from 19% in 1986-87 to 28% in 2006-07. Full-time employment grew at a faster rate than part-time employment between 2003-04 and 2004-05, the first time this has happened since the commencement of the monthly LFS in 1978. Full-time employment also grew at a faster rate than part-time employment in 2006-07 (2.9% compared with 2.1%).
Employment growth fluctuated during the strong economic growth of the late-1980s and the subsequent economic downturn of the early-1990s. In 1988-89 growth in full-time employment peaked at 3.6%. Part-time employment grew strongly in 1986-87 (8.4%) and 1989-90 (8.2%). The rate of growth of full-time and part-time employment subsequently began to slow. At the onset of the economic downturn in 1990-91, full-time employment fell by 1.6%. The impact of the downturn and its effects on the demand for labour intensified in 1991-92 when full-time employment fell more strongly (down 3.4%). At the same time, the rate of growth of part-time employment increased slightly from 3.2% in 1990-91 to 3.8% in 1991-92. A similar pattern was evident in 2001-02, when a decrease in full-time employment was accompanied by strong growth in part-time employment.
Employment by industry and occupation
The distribution of employed people across industries and occupations, and the changes over time, provide an important insight into the structure of the labour market. Graph 8.12 shows the proportion of employed people by industry, for the years 1996-97 and 2006-07.
The industry composition of the labour market has changed considerably over time. Historically, the Manufacturing industry has been the largest employing industry, but its contribution to the number of employed people has been declining. Now it is fourth after Retail trade (14%), Property and business services (12%), and Health and community services (10%). Over the past decade Manufacturing employment fell from 14% of all employed people in 1996-97 to 10% in 2006-07. The proportion of people employed in the Agriculture, forestry and fishing industry also fell over this period, from 5% to 3%. During the same period, the greatest increases in the proportion of employed people were in the Property and business services industry (from 10% to 12%) and the Construction industry (from 7% to 9%).
Table 8.13 shows the proportion of employed people in each broad occupation group by age group for 2006-07. The occupation groups with the highest proportions of employed people were Professionals (19%) and Intermediate clerical, sales and service workers (17%). The occupation group with the lowest proportion of employed people was Advanced clerical and service workers (4%).
There is a correlation between age and occupation, with a higher proportion of younger workers employed in the lower-skilled occupations, and a higher proportion of older workers employed in the more highly-skilled occupations. For example, less than 1% of workers aged 15-19 years and less than 2% of workers aged 20-24 years were employed as Managers and administrators, while at the other end of the age spectrum, in the age group 65 years and over, 25% were employed in this occupation group. In the age group 15-19 years, 37% of employed people were working as Elementary clerical, sales and service workers and a further 16% as Intermediate clerical, sales and service workers. The proportion of 20-24 year olds employed as Elementary clerical, sales and service workers (15%) was considerably lower than the proportion of 15-19 year olds employed in this occupation group. In contrast, there was a much higher proportion of 20-24 year olds than 15-19 year olds employed as Intermediate clerical, sales and service workers.
There are large gender differences in occupations. Women are more likely than men to be employed in clerical occupations groups, such as Advanced clerical and service workers, Intermediate clerical, sales and service workers, and Elementary clerical, sales and service workers. Men are more likely than women to be employed in trade occupations, such as Tradespersons and related workers, and Intermediate production and transport workers (graph 8.14). For example, 21% of men were employed as Tradespersons and related workers compared with 3% of women, while 26% of women were employed as Intermediate clerical, sales and service workers compared with 8% of men. In the more highly-skilled occupations, proportionally more men were employed as Managers and administrators (11% compared with 5% of women), while proportionally more women were employed as Professionals (22% compared with 17% of men).
Characteristics of employment
Working life in Australia continues to change. There are more diverse employment arrangements, greater flexibility in work patterns, and more people working part time. This section looks at the types of arrangements people are employed under, and the hours they work.
The ABS has developed a series of data that reflects changes in employment type over time. The series combines data from two ABS sources, the LFS and the Survey of Employee Earnings, Benefits and Trade Union Membership. Employed people are classified as one of five employment types on the basis of their main job, that is, the job in which they usually work the most hours. When classifying people by employment type, employees excludes owner managers of incorporated enterprises. The employment types are: employees with paid leave entitlements; employees without paid leave entitlements (a proxy for casual employment); owner managers of incorporated enterprises; owner managers of unincorporated enterprises; and contributing family workers. For more details see the article 'Changes in types of employment', Australian Labour Market Statistics, October 2004 (6105.0).
Table 8.15 shows the proportions of employed people by employment type. Of the 10.2 million employed people at August 2006, over three-fifths (61%) were employees with paid leave entitlements, 20% were employees without paid leave entitlements and 13% were owner managers of unincorporated enterprises.
The proportion of employed people who worked as employees with paid leave entitlements was similar for men and women (60% and 61% respectively). However, a higher proportion of women were employees without paid leave entitlements than men (25% compared with 16% respectively) reflecting the fact that women are more likely to work part time than men, and that part-time work is more closely associated with casual employment. A higher proportion of men worked in their own business compared with women (24% and 14% respectively).
Employees without paid leave entitlements rose as a proportion of total employment from 1992 to 1998 (from 17% to 20%) (graph 8.16). Since 1998 the proportion has remained relatively stable. As a proportion of total employment, owner managers have remained stable between 1992 and 2006. However, the proportions of owner managers of incorporated and unincorporated enterprises have changed. Of total employment, the proportion of owner managers of incorporated enterprises increased from 5% in 1992 to 7% in 2006, while over the same period owner managers of unincorporated enterprises fell from 15% to 13%.
Hours worked statistics have a wide range of uses, including the calculation of labour productivity and monitoring of working conditions. Information on hours worked allows the ABS to classify employed people as full time or part time, and also to identify underemployed people (in conjunction with information about wanting to work more hours).
The LFS collects weekly hours worked data for employed people on three different bases:
Graph 8.17 shows average weekly hours worked for employed people for each of the three measures. Average weekly hours worked is defined as aggregate hours worked by employed people during the reference week divided by the number of employed people.
The two average weekly hours actually worked measures are influenced by seasonal factors (e.g. customs in taking leave at particular times of the year), economic factors (e.g. workplace-related influences such as seasonal employment), and absences from work due to public holidays, sickness, irregular shifts, etc. Large movements occur around the months of January, April and October. The average weekly hours worked in main job series closely follows the average weekly hours worked in all job series, but at a slightly lower level. This indicates that the number of hours worked in second and subsequent jobs, averaged across all employed people, is relatively small.
Average weekly hours usually worked in all jobs exhibits much lower levels of variability (graph 8.17). This is because the usual hours worked series is not affected by seasonal factors and absences from work that lead to fluctuations in the actual hours worked series.
In June 2007, more than a third (34%) of employed men actually worked between 35 and 44 hours per week, and a further 29% actually worked 45 hours or more per week (graph 8.18). In contrast, women were most likely to have worked between 16 and 34 hours per week (38%), or between 35 and 44 hours (26%). Women who actually worked 45 hours or more per week made up 11% of all employed women.
Average weekly hours actually worked by full-time employed people rose from 39.7 hours in 1986-87 to a peak of 41.4 hours in 1999-2000, an increase of 4% (graph 8.19). In 2006-07, full-time employed people worked an average of 39.4 hours per week, down from the 40.0 hours per week recorded in 2005-06. Full-time employed males worked an average of 40.7 hours per week in 2006-07 while full-time employed females worked an average of 36.8 hours per week.
From 1986-87 to 2006-07 there was a steady increase in the number of hours actually worked by part-time workers as a proportion of the total number of hours actually worked (graph 8.20). In 1986-87, 8% of all hours actually worked were in part-time employment; by 2006-07 this proportion had risen to 14%. For men, 7% of the total number of hours actually worked were in part-time employment in 2006-07, whereas for women the proportion was 26%.
Table 8.21 shows the overall average weekly hours usually worked for men was ten hours greater than for women (41.2 hours and 31.2 hours respectively). This was partly due to men working longer average weekly hours in full-time employment than women (45.4 hours and 41.4 hours respectively), and also because women were more likely to work part time than men. The usual hours worked in all jobs by full-time employed people declined slightly from 2002-03 to 2006-07, from 44.4 hours per week to 44.0 hours per week. Graph 8.22 shows average weekly hours usually worked in all jobs, by occupation, for full-time employed people.
In 2006-07, Managers and administrators had the highest average weekly usual hours worked for full-time employed people (50.9 hours per week for men and 46.3 hours per week for women), followed by Associate professionals (47.4 hours and 43.4 hours respectively). The occupations with the lowest average weekly hours usually worked for full-time employed people were Elementary clerical, sales and service workers (42.0 hours per week for men and 39.0 hours per week for women) and Intermediate clerical, sales and service workers (42.7 hours and 39.5 hours respectively).