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YOUNG PEOPLE IN THE LABOUR FORCE
Labour Force Participation Rate
Between 1986-87 and 2006-07, the labour force participation rate in Queensland, for all people aged 15 years and over increased from 62% in 1986-87 to 67% in 2006-07. The participation rate for young people aged 15–19 years also increased from 65% to 68% while the rate for those aged 20–24 years remained stable (83% to 84%).
In contrast to the stability of the participation rate for young people, there were major changes to the proportions of young people in employment and to the patterns of full-time employment, part-time employment and unemployment during the same period.
LABOUR FORCE STATUS, QUEENSLAND
The proportion of the civilian population aged 15 years and over in employment in Queensland has grown steadily over the last 20 years, from 56% in 1986-87 to 64% in 2006-07.
The proportion of employed young people (aged 15–24 years) was slightly higher, being 60% in 1986-87 and 70% in 2006-07. Over this period, the number of employed young people grew from 269,200 to 407,100. This growth in employment was accompanied by a relatively steady shift towards part-time work.
Over the last twenty years, the proportion of all persons employed full-time in the civilian population aged 15 years and over rose from 45% in 1986-87 to 47% in 2006-07.
The proportion of young people aged 15–19 years in full-time employment decreased, from 32% in 1986-87 to 22% in 2006-07. This is consistent with increasing rates of participation in non-compulsory education. A similar decrease in full-time employment was recorded for those aged 20–24 years, from 62% in full-time employment in 1986-87 to 58% in 2006-07.
The number of 20–24 year olds employed full-time increased from 134,400 in 1986-87 to 170,900 in 2006-07. In contrast, the number of 15–19 year olds in full-time employment decreased from 75,000 to 64,000 over the same period. In older age groups, the number of persons employed full-time has increased relatively steadily over time between 1986-87 and 2006-07.
This trend towards part-time employment was even more pronounced for young people. In 1986-87, almost one-fifth (18%) of people aged 15–19 years worked part-time. In 2006-07, twice this proportion or almost two-fifths (38%) worked part-time. There was also an increase in the proportion of people aged 20–24 years who worked part-time, rising from 8.7% to 21% during the same period.
The unemployment rate in Queensland fell from 9.9% in 1986-87 to 4.0% in 2006-07. In comparison, the Australian unemployment rate fell from 8.1% to 4.5% over the same time.
Unemployment rates for young Queenslanders aged 15–24 years reflected a similar pattern of decline, falling from 17.8% in 1986-87 to 8.0% in 2006-07. The unemployment rate for persons aged 15–19 years was 22.3% in 1986-87 and 11.2% in 2006-07. The 20–24 years age group recorded lower unemployment rates of 14.0% and 5.3% for the same periods.
UNEMPLOYMENT RATES, QUEENSLAND
Source: Labour Force, Australia - Electronic Delivery(cat. no 6291.0.55.001).
Young people (aged 15–24 years) form a large part of the total number of unemployed people. In Queensland in 1986-87, this age group accounted for 47% of unemployed persons, decreasing to 40% of the total unemployed in 2006-07. These are similar to the national proportions, 46% and 39% respectively.
In Queensland in 2006-07, there were 35,200 unemployed persons aged 15–24 years, nearly two-thirds the number (58,200) in 1986-87. The number of unemployed persons generally decreases with successive age groups. Over the 20 years from 1987, the general trend in the number of unemployed people has been downwards in the younger age groups and fairly steady for the other age groups.
WORK AND STUDY
Increased participation in non-compulsory education has impacted on the pattern of employment of young people. The combination of work and study may provide a number of benefits, including: advancing life skills, identifying career options, developing work skills and funding education and living expenses. There are a range of ways in which work and study can be combined, depending on the priorities of the student. However, the combination of part-time work with part-time study is uncommon among 15–24 year olds, suggesting one activity, either employment or study, takes precedence in their life.
In Queensland, the proportion of people aged 15–24 years attending full-time education increased from 28% in 1986-87 to 41% in 2006-07.
Labour Force Participation
The labour force participation rate of people aged 15–24 years who were not studying full-time was similar in both 1986-87 and 2006-07 (87% and 88% respectively). In contrast, the labour force participation rate of those attending full-time education in the same age group increased from 38% to 59% over the same period.
LABOUR FORCE PARTICIPATION RATES BY EDUCATION ATTENDANCE, 15 –24 YEAR OLDS, QUEENSLAND
Source: Labour Force, Australia - Electronic Delivery (cat. no 6291.0.55.001).
Younger people are more likely to be employed in less skilled and therefore less well paid occupations. This is generally due to a lack of work experience or perhaps to lower levels of educational attainment.
In Queensland in August 2007, the dominant occupation groups for 15-24 year olds were Sales workers (21%),Technicians and trades workers (19%) and Labourers (18%).
MOST COMMON OCCUPATION GROUPS OF EMPLOYED PEOPLE AGED 15–24 YEARS, AUGUST 2007, QUEENSLAND
Just over one-third (35%) of men aged 15-19 years and nearly one-fifth (19%) of 20-24 year olds worked as Labourers. Technicians and trades workers (36%) were the most common occupation group for men aged 20-24 years and accounted for 26% of employed men aged 15-19 years.
In Queensland, in August 2007, the most common occupation groups for women aged 15-19 years were Sales workers (45%) and Clerical and administrative workers (18%). For women aged 20-24 years the most common occupation group was Clerical and administrative workers (26%). Community and personal service workers and Sales workers each accounted for a further 18%.
Full-time and part-time
Nearly two-thirds (63%) of 15-19 year olds are employed part-time. In contrast only around one in four (25%) of 20-24 year olds are employed part-time.
Seven out of ten (71%) of 15-24 year old Sales workers are employed part-time and nearly nine out of ten (89%) Technicians and trades workers of this age group are employed full-time.
In August 2007, in Queensland, five industries accounted for nearly two-thirds (63%) of the employment of 15–24 year olds. The Retail trade industry was most likely to provide employment to young people, with just under a quarter (23%) employed in this industry.
MOST COMMON INDUSTRY GROUPS OF EMPLOYED PEOPLE AGED 15–24 YEARS, AUGUST 2007, QUEENSLAND
The most common industry groups for men aged 15-19 years were Retail trade (28%), Accommodation and food services (17%) and Construction (14%). For men aged 20-24 years Construction (18%) and Manufacturing (16%) were the most common industry groups.
In Queensland, in August 2007, just over one-third (36%) of women aged 15-19 years were employed in the Retail trade industry. Accommodation and food services accounted for 26% of employed women in this age group.
Retail trade (18%), Health care and social assistance (14%) and Accommodation and food services (14%) were the dominant employing industries for women aged 20-24 years.
Full-time and part-time
The majority of young people (aged 15-24) employed in the Accommodation and food services industry and the Retail trade industry are part-time (69% and 63% respectively). In contrast, the majority of employed people of this age group in the Construction industry (92%) and the Manufacturing industry (82%) are full-time.
In Queensland, in the twelve months to February 2006, 86,800 people aged 15–24 years had changed employer or business in the previous 12 months. Young people may move between jobs for voluntary reasons. For example, changing jobs may assist them to further their careers and/or adapt to changing educational commitments. On the other hand, movement between jobs may be involuntary or linked to less secure employment.
The proportion of persons who had changed employer or business was greatest for the 20–24 years age group for both men and women and declined with increasing age. Just over a quarter (28%) of men aged 20–24 years had a change of employer or business, compared to 24% for women of the same age.
PERSONS WHO WERE WORKING FEBRUARY 2006, QUEENSLAND
Proportion who changed employer/business in the last 12 months
Source: ABS data available on request, Labour Mobility Survey.
Lack of training, lower education levels and a predominance of part-time employment may contribute to lower earnings of young people. Increased experience and movement to full-time employment lead to increased average incomes. In August 2006, the average weekly earnings for young people rose almost linearly with their age from around $80 a week for 15 year olds to around $840 a week for men and $610 a week for women at age 24 years.
AVERAGE WEEKLY EARNINGS BY AGE, AUGUST 2006, QUEENSLAND
Source: ABS data available on request, Employee Earnings, Benefits and Trade Union Membership Survey.
In Queensland, people aged 15–19 years had the lowest average weekly earnings of full-time employees, $469 compared to the highest earning age group (35–44 years) of $1141. Men aged 20–24 years who had full-time employment earned $839 a week compared to $672 for women, while for part-time employees of this age group men ($330) earned slightly more than women ($319).
Data in this article were extracted from the following data cubes which are available on the ABS web site:
ABS data available on request was obtained from the following surveys:
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