6239.0 - Barriers and Incentives to Labour Force Participation, Australia, July 2014 to June 2015 Quality Declaration 
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 03/05/2016   
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OVERVIEW

The 2014–15 Multipurpose Household Survey (MPHS) revealed that of the 17.9 million persons aged 18 years and over, there were 10.0 million persons who did not work full-time. This group comprised persons not in the labour force (5.9 million), unemployed persons (673,100), persons usually working fewer than 16 hours (1.1 million) and persons who usually work 16–34 hours (2.3 million) (Table 1).

Of those 10.0 million persons who did not work full-time, approximately 2.8 million (or 28%) indicated that they would like a job or to work more hours. This group comprised (Tables 1 and 16):

  • 1.2 million (or 42%) persons who wanted a job but were not in the labour force;
  • 673,100 (or 24%) persons who were unemployed;
  • 413,100 (or 15%) persons who usually worked 0–15 hours per week but wanted to work more hours; and
  • 535,100 (or 19%) persons who usually worked 16–34 hours per week but wanted to work more hours.

For the remaining 7.2 million persons (72%) who did not work full-time:
  • 4.7 million persons (65%) did not want a job;
  • 694,000 persons (10%) worked 0–15 hours per week but did not want more hours; and
  • 1.8 million persons (25%) worked 16–34 hours per week but did not want to work more hours (Tables 1 and 16).

Estimates are based on data collected from July 2014 to June 2015.

PERSONS WHO WANTED A JOB OR WORK WITH MORE HOURS

There were 2.8 million persons who wanted a job or preferred to work more hours. Determining whether these persons wanted a job or are 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 2.8 million persons who wanted a job or preferred to work more hours:
  • 2.4 million persons were available to start work within four weeks. Of these (Tables 1 and 16):
      • 1.2 million persons were not looking for a job or work with more hours; and
      • 1.2 million persons were looking for a job or work with more hours.
    • 373,000 persons were not available to start a job or work with more hours within four weeks.

    Females represented 63% of those who wanted a job or preferred more hours. This reflects the fact that, in comparison to males, more females were working less hours than they wanted to or were not in the labour force (Table 1).

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

    Of the 2.4 million persons who wanted a job or work with more hours and were available to start work within four weeks, 1.2 million persons (50%) indicated that they were not looking for a job or work with more hours. Three-fifths of this group were females (740,200 or 61%) (Table 5).

    'No need/satisfied with current arrangements' was a commonly reported main reason for not looking for a job or work with more hours (227,100 persons or 19%). Most persons who reported this (130,900 or 58%) were aged 55 years and over (Table 6).

    Another commonly reported main reason for not looking for a job or work with more hours was 'studying/returning to studies' (201,900 persons or 17%). Most persons who reported this (145,900 or 72%) were aged between 18 and 29 years (Table 6).

    It should be noted that the previously reported 2012–13 data cited 'caring for children' as the most commonly reported reason for not looking for a job or work with more hours, which is now ranked third in the 2014–15 results.

    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, 2014–15

    Graph 1: Selected main reason for not looking for a job or work with more hours, By sex

    Available and looking for a job or work with more hours

    There were 1.2 million persons (59% were females) who wanted a job or work with more hours, were available and were looking of whom (Tables 1, 7 and 16):
    • 673,100 were unemployed (55%);
    • 476,100 usually worked fewer than 35 hours (39%); and
    • 68,500 were not in the labour force (6%) (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 'no jobs or vacancies in locality or line of work or at all' (229,600 persons or 20%). Three-fifths of those who reported this (61%) were females. 'Too many applicants for available jobs' was another commonly reported difficulty (207,200 persons or 18%) (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, 2014–15
    Graph 2: Selected main difficulty finding a job or work with more hours, By sex

    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 78,800 (or 35%) of the 226,600 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' (46,200 or 20%). Approximately 95,500 (or 42%) 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 137,400 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' (79,400 or 58%). Of the males not available to start a job or work with more hours within four weeks, 23% 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, 2014–15
    Graph 3: Selected main reason not available to start a job or work with more hours, By sex


    Preferred weekly hours

    Of the 1.2 million persons not in the labour force who wanted a job, 73% reported that they would prefer to work part-time hours (65% of males and 78% of females). The average preferred number of hours was 27.2 hours (Table 8).

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

    Approximately 7.2 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):
    • 4.7 million persons (2.9 million females and 1.8 million males) who were not in the labour force;
    • 694,000 persons (486,600 females and 212,400 males) who usually worked fewer than 16 hours; and
    • 1.8 million persons (1.3 million females and 442,500 males) who usually worked 16 to 34 hours.

    Of the 694,000 persons who usually worked less than 16 hours per week (Tables 1 and 10):
    • 362,800 persons (107,800 males and 260,600 females) were 'very satisfied' with their current hours; and
    • 380,200 persons (120,800 males and 259,200 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):
    • 864,100 persons (183,100 males and 684,000 females) were 'very satisfied' with their current hours; and
    • 800,400 persons (164,400 males and 640,400 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 (72% 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 31%. 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 21% (Table 11).

    Of the 4.7 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' (1.5 million or 31%);
    • 'no need/satisfied with current arrangements/retired from full-time work (for now)' (1.1 million or 23%); and
    • 'long-term sickness or disability' (896,400 or 19%).

    'Long-term sickness or disability' was reported by 23% of males (or 409,400) and 17% of females (or 488,000). For males, 73% of these were aged 55 years and over and for females 65% were aged 55 years and over. Nine percent of persons (or 402,300) indicated the main reason that they did not want a job was due to 'caring for children'. Of the 18–29 years age group, 48% 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, 2014–15
    Graph 4: Selected main reason for not wanting a job, By sex

    Males and females who usually worked fewer than 35 hours and did not want to work more hours were relatively young; 56% 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, 2014–15
    Graph 5: Persons who did not want to work more hours, By age and sex distribution


    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% (711,500) of these females, for not wanting more hours, was 'no need/satisfied with current arrangements/retired from full-time work (for now)' – approximately 42% of this group was aged 55 years and over (Table 12).

    There were 649,400 males who usually worked fewer than 35 hours and did not want to work more hours. The most commonly reported main reason given by 49% (319,700) of these males, for not wanting more hours, was 'no need/satisfied with current arrangements/retired from full-time work (for now)' – approximately 44% 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, 2014–15
    Graph 6: Selected main reason for not wanting to work more hours, By sex

    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, 51% of females and 33% of males reported the 'ability to work part-time hours' as 'very important' (Table 13).

    For skill related incentives, 43% of persons reported 'getting a job that matches skills and experience' as 'very important' (44% of females and 41% of males). In contrast, 29% of persons reported 'getting help with job search activities' as 'not important at all'. This was reported by 30% of females and 28% of males (Table 13).

    Of persons with children or who were caring for children, 51% reported the incentive that was 'very important' to them to join or increase participation in the labour force was 'access to childcare places', with 54% of females and 29% of males reporting this as 'very important'. Of the total persons reported, 48% identified 'financial assistance with childcare costs' as 'very important' (51% of females and 38% of males) (Table 13).

    Females were generally more likely to report incentives as 'very important' than males.

    SELECTED INCENTIVES TO JOIN/INCREASE PARTICIPATION IN THE LABOUR FORCE,
    By sex, 2014–15
    Graph 7: Selected incentives to join/increase particiption in the labour force, By sex

    For employed persons, 58% reported the 'ability to work part-time hours' and 49% reported 'access to childcare places' as 'very important'. For unemployed persons, 60% reported 'getting a job that matches skills and experience' and 59% 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 68%) rated their health as either excellent (977,500 persons) or very good (1.4 million persons). Of these, 1.7 million persons (73%) did not prefer to work more hours (Table 2).

    The majority of persons who were unemployed assessed their own health as either excellent (178,300 persons), very good (222,500 persons) or good (183,700 persons) (Table 2).

    Persons not in the labour force assessed their own health as either very good (1.6 million persons), good (1.6 million persons) or fair (1.1 million persons). Of these, 3.4 million persons (or 79%) did not want a paid job (Table 2).