4125.0 - Gender Indicators, Australia, August 2016  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 31/08/2016   
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The Economic Security section contains the following sub-topics:
  • Working population (labour force participation, employment conditions, underutilised labour, persons not in the labour force)
  • Earnings, income and economic situation (earnings, retirement income, superannuation, economic resources, financial stress)
  • Housing (Housing circumstances, including tenure and rental stress)

Detailed data for these sub-topics is available from the Downloads tab, above (see Table 1).


Working population

Labour force participation
    In 2015-16, the labour force participation rate of people aged 20-74 years was 66% for women and 78% for men.

    Between 2005-06 and 2015-16, the participation rate for women aged 55-64 increased from 46% to 59%, an increase of 13%: the highest increase in all age groups for both men and women over this time (see Figure 1 below, and Table 1.1 via the Downloads tab for more detail).

Graph Image for Figure 1 - Women's labour force participation by age, 2005-06 to 2015-16 (a)

Footnote(s): (a) Data averaged using 12 months in the financial year.

Source(s): Customised data, ABS Labour Force Survey, 2005-06 to 2015-16

Employment conditions
    In 2015-16, over two in five employed women worked part time (44%), compared with 15% of employed men (see Table 1.9). This proportion rose to three in five (62%) of employed women with a child under 5, while less than one in ten fathers of young children worked part-time (8.7%).

    In November 2014, over one in ten employed men and one in five employed women with dependent children did not have paid leave entitlements: 11% of partnered men and 11% of lone fathers, compared with 23% of partnered women, and 26% of lone mothers (see Table 1.11).

Underutilised labour
    In 2015-16, 5.7% of men and 9.4% of women aged 20-74 in the labour force were underemployed; that is they wanted, and were available for, more hours of work than they currently had (see Table 1.15). 5% of men and 5.2% of women were unemployed.

    In 2013-14, 5.8% of women aged 20-74 who were born overseas were unemployed, compared with 4.8% of women born in Australia, 5.3% of men born overseas and 5% of men born in Australia. In 2012-13, unemployment rates for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander men and women were 14% and 15% respectively (see Table 1.14Exp).

    Adding people who are either unemployed or underemployed together creates an underutilised labour force population, from which an underutilisation rate can be derived. While the highest underutilisation rate was for young people aged 20-24 years, the biggest gender difference across age groups was for men and women aged 35-44 (a 7.4% percentage point difference, making women in this age group almost twice as likely as their male counterparts to be looking for more work). See Table 1.15 for more detail.

People not in the labour force
    Just over one in five (22%) Australian men aged 20-74 years was not in the labour force in 2015-16, compared with one in three women this age (34%). Proportions of people not in the labour force rise dramatically from the age of 45, while the largest gender differences are for younger people. Reflecting the age when women are likely to be having children (and taking a major role in child care), women aged 25-44 years are more than two and a half times as likely as men their age to be out of the labour force. See Table 1.17 for more detail.

Graph Image for Figure 2 - Persons not in the labour force, by age and sex, 2015-16 (a)

Footnote(s): (a) Data averaged using 12 months in the financial year.

Source(s): Customised data, ABS Labour Force Survey, 2015-16

    Proportions of men and women who are not in the labour force are quite stable over time, for all age groups.

Earnings, Income and Economic situation

    In 2014 the average female wage was 87% of the average male wage (non-managerial adult hourly ordinary time cash earnings). The median female wage was 90% of the median male wage. This gap has remained relatively steady over the past decade (see Table 1.20).

    The difference in earnings of men and women may be analysed in different ways. It is possible to analyse total income earned from all sources, rather than just wages as shown here. It is also possible to analyse differences in earnings for various industry and occupation groups. The Workplace Gender Equality Agency provides further analyses of the gender pay gap (see their Factsheet for more detail).

Retirement income and Superannuation
    In 2013-14, for people aged 65 years and over who were not in the labour force, a superannuation pension or annuity was the main source of income for 10.9% of women and 17.7% of men. Government pensions and allowances were the main source of income for 77.8% of women and 72.4% of men (see Table 1.24).

    Men aged 55-64 in 2013-14 had a much higher average superannuation balance than women the same age: $321,993 compared with $180,013. There was less discrepancy between men and women aged 44 years and younger but male superannuation balances were still higher in every age group (see Table 1.25).

    A quarter (25%) of women aged 15-64 years had no superannuation coverage, compared with 20% of men in this age group (see Table 1.26). Proportions of people with no superannuation coverage have been dropping over the last decade, as has the gap between men and women with no coverage (from a 9.3 percentage point gap in 2003-04 to a 5.2 percentage point gap a decade later). This trend is particularly noticeable for people aged 55-64 years, where proportions of women with no coverage have dropped from 51% to 27%, while those of men have dropped from 29% to 17%.

Graph Image for Figure 3 - No superannuation coverage, by sex, 55-64 years, 2003-04 to 2013-14

Footnote(s): (a) For 2003–04 and 2005–06, 'No superannuation coverage' is defined as having a zero superannuation balance and not receiving a current weekly income from superannuation. From 2009–10 onward, the definition includes not receiving personal irregular receipts from superannuation payments over the last 2 years.

Source(s): Source: ABS Survey of Income and Housing, 2003-04 to 2013-14

    In 2013-14, people aged 15-64 years with a disability were more likely to have no superannuation coverage (28% of men and 34% of women) than those with no disability (18% and 23% respectively). Around 32% of women aged 15-64 who were born overseas had no superannuation coverage, compared with 22% of those born in Australia (see Table 1.26Exp for more detail).

Low economic resource households
    In 2013-14, women were slightly more likely overall to live in low economic resource households (20.5% compared with 19.5%), in line with the long term trend. However, the proportion of men aged 35-44 living in low economic resource households increased from 19.8% in 2011-12 to 24.3% in 2013-14, the highest increase across all age groups for both males and females since 2003-04 (see Figure 4 below, and Table 1.27 for more detail).

Graph Image for Figure 4 - Persons in low economic resource households 35-44 and all persons, by sex, 2003-04 to 2013-14

Footnote(s): (a) Income estimates from 2009–10, 2011–12 and 2013-14 are not directly comparable with estimates for 2003–04 and 2005–06 due to improvements made to measuring income.

Source(s): ABS Survey of Income and Housing (cat. no. 6523.0)

      In 2013-14, women were a little more likely to own their own home (61.6% compared with 58.7% of men). While rates of men and women with a mortgage were similar (33.8% and 33.5% respectively), women were slightly more likely to own their home without a mortgage (28.1% compared with 25.0% of men). See Figure 5 below, and Table 1.33 via the Downloads tab for more detail.

      Graph Image for Figure 5 - Persons who own their own home (with and without a mortgage), by age and sex, 2013-14 (a)

      Footnote(s): (a) Excludes dependent students aged 15-24 years

      Source(s): Customised data, ABS Survey of Income and Housing, 2013-14