6239.0 - Barriers and Incentives to Labour Force Participation, Australia, July 2016 to June 2017 Quality Declaration 
Latest ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 11/12/2017   
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OVERVIEW

The 2016–17 Multipurpose Household Survey (MPHS) revealed that of the 18.3 million persons aged 18 years and over, there were 10.2 million persons who did not work full-time. This group comprised persons not in the labour force (6.1 million), unemployed persons (634,600), persons usually working fewer than 16 hours (1.1 million) and persons who usually work 16–34 hours (2.4 million) (Table 1).

Of those 10.2 million persons who did not work full-time, approximately 2.7 million (or 26%) indicated that they would like a job or to work more hours. This group comprised (Table 1):
  • 1.1 million (or 40%) persons who wanted a job but were not in the labour force;
  • 634,600 (or 23%) persons who were unemployed;
  • 368,900 (or 14%) persons who usually worked 0–15 hours per week but wanted to work more hours; and
  • 629,600 (or 23%) persons who usually worked 16–34 hours per week but wanted to work more hours.

For the remaining 7.5 million persons (74%) who did not work full-time:
  • 5.0 million persons (66%) did not want a job;
  • 719,500 persons (10%) worked 0–15 hours per week but did not want more hours; and
  • 1.8 million persons (24%) worked 16–34 hours per week but did not want to work more hours (Table 1).

Estimates are based on data collected from July 2016 to June 2017.

PERSONS WHO WANTED A JOB OR WORK WITH MORE HOURS

There were 2.7 million persons who did not work full-time and wanted a job or preferred to work more hours. Determining whether these persons wanted a job or were available to work more hours, is important because those who are available have a greater potential to participate or increase their participation in the labour force than those who are not available.

Of the 2.7 million persons who wanted a job or preferred to work more hours:
  • 2.3 million persons were available to start work within four weeks. Of these (Tables 1 and 16):
      • 1.2 million persons were looking for a job or work with more hours; and
      • 1.1 million persons were not looking for a job or work with more hours.
    • 392,200 persons were not available to start a job or work with more hours within four weeks.

    Females represented 61% of those who wanted a job or preferred more hours. This reflects the fact that, in comparison to males, more females worked less hours than they wanted to or were not in the labour force (Table 2).

    Available but not looking for a job or work with more hours

    Of the 2.3 million persons who wanted a job or work with more hours and were available to start work within four weeks, 1.1 million persons (47%) indicated that they were not looking for a job or work with more hours. Three-fifths of this group were females (664,900 or 62%) (Table 5).

    'Caring for children ' was a commonly reported main reason for not looking for a job or work with more hours (168,800 persons or 16%).
    Most persons who reported this (108,600 or 64%) were aged between 30 - 54 years (Table 6).

    Another commonly reported main reason for not looking for a job or work with more hours was 'Studying/returning to studies' (143,100 persons or 13%). Most persons who reported this (100,800 or 70%) were aged between 18 - 29 years (Table 6).


    PERSONS AVAILABLE BUT NOT LOOKING FOR A JOB OR WORK WITH MORE HOURS,
    Selected main reason for not looking for a job or work with more hours, By sex, 2016–17

    Graph Image for PERSONS AVAILABLE BUT NOT LOOKING FOR A JOB OR WORK WITH MORE HOURS

    Source(s): Barriers and Incentives to Labour Force Participation, Australia, 2016-17



    Available and looking for a job or work with more hours

    There were 1.2 million persons (57% were females) who wanted a job or work with more hours, were available and were looking of whom (Tables 1, 7 and 16):
    • 634,600 were unemployed (53%);
    • 529,600 usually worked 34 hours or less (44%); and
    • 36,000 were not in the labour force (3%) (these persons were defined as not in the labour force rather than unemployed because they were not available to start work in the reference week, but were available to start within four weeks).

    One of the main difficulties in finding a job or work with more hours reported by persons who were available and looking was 'Too many applicants for available jobs' (205,100 persons or 18%). More than a half of those who reported this (57%) were females. 'No jobs or vacancies in locality/line of work/at all' was another commonly reported difficulty (171,100 persons or 15%) (Table 7).

    PERSONS AVAILABLE AND LOOKING FOR A JOB OR WORK WITH MORE HOURS,
    Selected main difficulty finding a job or work with more hours, By sex, 2016–17

    Graph Image for PERSONS AVAILABLE AND LOOKING FOR A JOB OR WORK WITH MORE HOURS

    Source(s): Barriers and Incentives to Labour Force Participation, Australia, 2016-17



    Not available to start a job or work with more hours

    Males and females had different reasons for not being available to start a job or work with more hours within four weeks. About 104,600 (or 38%) of the 272,800 females who wanted to start a job or work with more hours but were unavailable reported that 'caring for children' was the main reason for their unavailability. Another commonly reported main reason given by females for not being available was 'long-term sickness or disability' (75,800 or 28%). Approximately 80,600 (or 30%) of females who were not available to start a job or work with more hours within four weeks reported that they would be available to start within six months (Table 4).

    Of the 124,000 males who wanted to start a job or work with more hours but were not available, just over half reported that their main reason for unavailability was 'long-term sickness or disability' (62,800 or 51%). Of the males not available to start a job or work with more hours within four weeks, 22% reported that they would be available to start within six months (Table 4).

    PERSONS WHO WANTED TO START A JOB OR WORK WITH MORE HOURS, BUT WERE NOT AVAILABLE(a),
    Selected main reason not available to start a job or work with more hours, By sex, 2016–17

    Graph Image for PERSONS WHO WANTED A JOB OR WORK WITH MORE HOURS, BUT WERE NOT AVAILABLE (a)

    Footnote(s): (a) Availability refers to the reference week or within four weeks.

    Source(s): Barriers and Incentives to Labour Force Participation, Australia, 2016-17


    Preferred weekly hours

    Of the 1.1 million persons not in the labour force who wanted a job, 69% reported that they would prefer to work part-time hours (53% of males and 79% of females). The average preferred number of hours was 22.4 hours (Table 8).

    PERSONS WHO DID NOT WANT A JOB OR WORK WITH MORE HOURS

    Approximately 7.5 million of those who were not employed or who worked fewer than 35 hours indicated that they did not want a job or to work more hours. This comprised (Tables 1 and 10):
    • 5.0 million persons (3.0 million females and 2.0 million males) who were not in the labour force;
    • 719,500 persons (507,000 females and 213,800 males) who usually worked fewer than 16 hours; and
    • 1.8 million persons (1.3 million females and 477,100 males) who usually worked 16 to 34 hours.

    Of the 719,500 persons who usually worked less than 16 hours per week (Tables 1 and 10):
    • 325,700 persons (91,000 males and 229,600 females) were 'very satisfied' with their current hours; and
    • 335,200 persons (94,300 males and 239,600 females) were 'very satisfied' with their current work arrangements.

    Of the 1.8 million persons who usually worked 16 to 34 hours per week (Tables 1 and 10):
    • 820,200 persons (193,100 males and 633,600 females) were 'very satisfied' with their current hours; and
    • 808,400 persons (198,500 males and 609,800 females) were 'very satisfied' with their current work arrangements.

    Persons who were not in the labour force and did not want a job were generally older (73% were aged 55 years and over). Females aged 55 years and over formed the largest single group, representing 41% of those who were not in the labour force and did not want a job, while males of that age represented 32%. Males in the younger age groups represented only a small proportion of those not in the labour force who did not want a job – males aged 18–54 years formed just 7% of this group. In contrast, females aged 18–54 years formed 20% (Table 11).

    Of the 5.0 million persons not in the labour force who did not want a job, common main reasons for not wanting a job were (Table 11):
    • 'permanently retired from full-time work/will not work full-time again' (1.8 million or 36%);
    • 'no need/satisfied with current arrangements/retired from full-time work (for now)' (1.1 million or 22%); and
    • 'long-term sickness or disability' (831,300 or 17%).

    'Long-term sickness or disability' was reported by 22% of males (or 421,300) and 14% of females (or 411,100). For males, 71% of these were aged 55 years and over and for females 75% were aged 55 years and over. Eight percent of persons (or 420,400) indicated the main reason that they did not want a job was due to 'caring for children'. Of the 18–29 years age group, 49% reported that 'studying or returning to studies' was the main reason they did not want a job (Table 11).

    PERSONS NOT IN THE LABOUR FORCE WHO DID NOT WANT A JOB,
    Selected main reason for not wanting a job, By sex, 2016–17

    Graph Image for PERSONS NOT IN THE LABOUR FORCE WHO DID NOT WANT A JOB

    Source(s): Barriers and Incentives to Labour Force Participation, Australia, 2016-17



    Males and females who usually worked fewer than 35 hours and did not want to work more hours were relatively young; 53% were aged between 18 and 44 years (Table 2).

    PERSONS WHO USUALLY WORKED FEWER THAN 35 HOURS AND DID NOT WANT TO WORK MORE HOURS,
    Age and sex distribution, 2016–17

    Graph Image for PERSONS WHO USUALLY WORKED FEWER THAN 35 HOURS AND DID NOT WANT TO WORK MORE, Age and sex

    Source(s): Barriers and Incentives to Labour Force Participation, Australia, 2016-17


    Females made up nearly three-quarters (73%) of those who worked fewer than 35 hours and who did not want to work more hours (Table 2). The most commonly reported main reason given by 39% (716,200) of these females, for not wanting more hours, was 'no need/satisfied with current arrangements/retired from full-time work (for now)': 44% of this group was aged 55 years and over (Table 12).

    There were 692,400 males who usually worked fewer than 35 hours and did not want to work more hours. The most commonly reported main reason given by 50% (344,900) of these males, for not wanting more hours, was 'no need/satisfied with current arrangements/retired from full-time work (for now)': 49% of this group was aged 55 years and over (Table 12).

    PERSONS WHO USUALLY WORKED FEWER THAN 35 HOURS AND DID NOT WANT TO WORK MORE HOURS,
    Selected main reason for not wanting to work more hours, By sex, 2016–17

    Graph Image for PERSONS WHO USUALLY WORKED FEWER THAN 35 HOURS AND DID NOT WANT TO WORK MORE

    Source(s): Barriers and Incentives to Labour Force Participation, Australia, 2016-17



    INCENTIVES TO JOIN/INCREASE PARTICIPATION IN THE LABOUR FORCE

    Incentives to join the labour force or to increase participation was asked of persons aged 18–75 years who were:
    • not in the labour force, excluding those permanently unable to work and those permanently retired; or
    • unemployed; or
    • usually worked less than 35 hours.

    A range of incentives that would encourage persons to join or increase their participation in the labour force was asked. Incentives have been grouped into the following categories:
    • 'work related';
    • 'skill related';
    • 'finance related';
    • 'childcare related';
    • 'caring related'; and
    • 'other incentives'.

    For work related incentives to increase participation in the labour force, 49% of females and 30% of males reported the 'ability to work part-time hours' as 'very important' (Table 13).

    For skill related incentives, 40% of persons reported 'getting a job that matches skills and experience' as 'very important' (40% of females and 39% of males). In contrast, 30% of persons reported 'getting help with job search activities' as 'not important at all'. This was reported by 31% of females and 26% of males (Table 13).

    Of persons with children or who were caring for children, 48% reported the incentive that was 'very important' to them to join or increase participation in the labour force was 'access to childcare places', with 50% of females and 37% of males reporting this as 'very important'. Of the total persons reported, 49% identified 'financial assistance with childcare costs' as 'very important' (51% of females and 36% of males) (Table 13).

    Females were generally more likely to report incentives as 'very important' than males; one exception was 'Access to public transport'.

    SELECTED INCENTIVES TO JOIN/INCREASE PARTICIPATION IN THE LABOUR FORCE,
    By sex, 2016–17

    Graph Image for SELECTED INCENTIVES TO JOIN OR INCREASE PARTICIPATION IN THE LABOUR FORCE, By Sex, 2016 - 17

    Source(s): Barriers and Incentives to Labour Force Participation, Australia, 2016-17



    For employed persons, 56% reported the 'ability to work part-time hours' and 47% reported 'access to childcare places' as 'very important'. For unemployed persons, 58% reported 'getting a job that matches skills and experience' and 51% reported 'access to childcare places' as 'very important'. For persons not in the labour force, 51% reported 'financial assistance with childcare costs' as 'very important' (Table 14).

    SELF ASSESSED HEALTH

    For persons who usually worked 0 to 34 hours per week, 2.3 million persons (or 66%) rated their health as either excellent (981,900 persons) or very good (1.3 million persons). Of these, 1.7 million persons (72%) did not prefer to work more hours (Table 2).

    The majority of persons who were unemployed assessed their own health as either excellent (162,900 persons), very good (219,000 persons) or good (182,900 persons) (Table 2).

    Almost three-quarters (74%) of persons not in the labour force assessed their own health as either very good (1.6 million persons), good (1.7 million persons) or fair (1.2 million persons). Of these, 3.7 million persons (or 81%) did not want a paid job (Table 2).