Back To Listing

Women have propelled Australian employment growth

Source: Roy Morgan Single Source (January 1999 – September 2017). Sample: Approximately 50,000 per year. Base: Employed Australians.
Analysis of long-running trends in the Australian labour market by Gender shows that strong increases in Australian employment this century have been driven by large increases in both full-time and part-time employment for both women and men.

However, although these increases have been shared between both genders, the increasing number of women joining the workforce has led to larger overall gains for women across overall employment, full-time employment, and also part-time employment.


Analysis of employment growth by Gender since 2000

  • Overall employment growth: Women (+1.9 million; 53.7% of employment growth) cf. Men (+1.7 million; 46.3%);

  • Full-time employment growth: Women (+980,000; 52.3% of full-time employment growth) cf. Men (+900,000; 47.7%);

  • Part-time employment growth: Women (+940,000; 55.2% of part-time employment growth) cf. Men (+760,000; 44.8%).

However, although employment growth this century has been driven more by women, men still make up the bulk of employed Australians – due to far higher male full-time employment.


Analysis of Australian employment by Gender

  • Overall employment of Women: 5.5 million (46.5%) cf. Men: 6.4 million (53.5%);

  • Overall full-time employment of Women: 2.9 million (37.2%) cf. Men: 4.9 million (62.8%);

  • Overall part-time employment of Women: 2.6 million (63.9%) cf. Men: 1.5 million (36.1%).


Increasing rate of part-time employment is primarily a ‘male phenomenon’

As was noted in our previous analysis of Australian employment trends, part-time employment is an increasing phenomenon in the Australia labour market – now 36.5% of Australians are employed part-time up 6.9ppts since 1999 (29.6%) – see full release here.

Drilling into the gender breakdown of these trends shows that male part-time employment is the clear driver of this trend – now at 23.5% of employed male workers, up from 15.7% in 2000

Women have traditionally dominated part-time employment, and because of this the larger overall increase in women in part-time employment than men this century has barely budged the overall employment split for women with 47.8% of women now employed part-time up 0.5ppts since 2000, although down in the last decade after peaking above 49% in early 2007.

For detailed analysis of the larger employment trends in the Australian economy view the Roy Morgan Australian long-term employment trends release in full here.


Analysing the Employment Trends for Women

Analysis of overall changes in employment categories for Women

Australia’s ‘working age population’** of women has increased from just over 7.7 million at the turn of the century in 2000 to 10.2 million in September 2017 – an increase of over 2.5 million Australian women (+31.4%) – and employment indicators have increased at far faster rates than general population growth during this period across all categories.

  • Australian female ‘workforce’: 6.2 million Australian women (up 2.2 million; up 53.8%);

  • Overall Australian female employment: 5.5 million women (up 1.9 million; up 52.9%);

  • Australian female full-time employment: 2.9 million women (up 980,000; up 51.4%);

  • Australian female part-time employment: 2.6 million women (up 940,000; up 54.7%);

  • Australian female unemployment: 670,000 women (up 250,000; up 61.3%);

  • Australian female under-employment: 670,000 women (up 300,000 since 2005; up 79.5%).


Roy Morgan Employment Estimates – Women (12 Monthly Moving Average)

Roy Morgan Employment Estimates - Women (12 Monthly Moving Averages)Source: Roy Morgan Single Source (January 1999 – September 2017). Sample: Approximately 25,000 per year. Base: Australians 14+.


Analysis of employment indicators for Women as expressed as a percentage of working age Australian Women

Although at a casual glance this may seem a similar exercise to what we’ve already looked at analysing the different employment categories for women closely shows that not only are more women joining the workforce because the overall Australian population is growing, but a higher proportion of women are now a part of the workforce, and each employment category, than was the case almost 20 years ago.

  • Australian ‘workforce’ of 6.2 million Australian women is 61.1% of working age Australian women – up 8.9ppts since 2000;

  • Overall Australian female employment of 5.5 million working age Australian women is 54.5%  – up 7.6ppts since 2000;

  • Australian female full-time employment of 2.9 million working age Australian women is 28.5% – up 3.8ppts since 2000;

  • Australian female part-time employment of 2.6 million working age Australian women is 26.1% – up 3.9ppts since 2000;

  • Australian female unemployment of 670,000 working age Australian women is 6.6%  – up 1.3ppts since 2000;

  • Australian female under-employment of 670,000 working age Australian women is 6.6% – up 2.1ppts since 2005.


Analysing the Employment Trends for Men

Analysis of overall changes in employment categories for Men

Australia’s ‘working age population’** of men has increased from just over 7.5 million at the turn of the century in 2000 to 9.8 million in September 2017 – an increase of over 2.3 million Australians (+31.1%).

As mentioned above, the fastest growing category has been male part-time employment which has grown extraordinarily fast in the first two decades of this century – more than doubling with an increase of over 103% in 17 years.

  • Australian male ‘workforce’: 6.9 million Australian men (up 1.8 million; up 34.5%);

  • Overall Australian male employment: 6.4 million men (up 1.7 million; up 35.2%);

  • Australian male full-time employment: 4.9 million men (up 900,000; up 22.6%);

  • Australian male part-time employment: 1.5 million men (up 760,000; up 103.1%);

  • Australian male unemployment: 570,000 men (up 120,000; up 27.3%);

  • Australian male under-employment: 560,000 men (up 270,000 since 2005; up 91.1%).


Employment indicators as expressed as a percentage of Australian men

However, growth in male full-time employment has not kept pace with the rate of overall male population growth and analysing the long-term trends shows a slow-down in male full-time employment growth at the end of the mining boom in 2013-14.

  • Australian ‘workforce’ of 6.9 million Australian men is 70.5% of working age Australian men – up 1.8ppts since 2000;

  • Overall Australian male employment of 6.4 million working age Australian men is 64.7%  – up 1.9ppts since 2000;

  • Australian male full-time employment of 4.9 million working age Australian men is 49.5% – down 3.4ppts since 2000;

  • Australian male part-time employment of 1.5 million working age Australian men is 15.2% – up 5.4ppts since 2000;

  • Australian male unemployment of 570,000 working age Australian men is 5.8%  – down 0.2ppts since 2000;

  • Australian male under-employment of 560,000 working age Australian men is 5.6% – up 2.0ppts since 2005.


Roy Morgan Employment Estimates – Men (12 Monthly Moving Average)

Roy Morgan Employment Estimates - Men (12 Monthly Moving Average)Source: Roy Morgan Single Source (January 1999 – September 2017). Sample: Approximately 25,000 per year. Base: Australians 14+.


Increasing rate of part-time employment is primarily a ‘male phenomenon’

As was noted above part-time employment is an increasing phenomenon in the Australia labour market – now 36.5% of Australians are employed part-time up 6.9ppts since 1999 (29.6%) and drilling into the gender breakdown of these trends shows that male part-time employment is the clear driver of this trend – now at 23.5% of employed male workers, up from 15.7% in 2000 (up 7.8ppts).

It’s also worth understanding the bulk of the increase in the proportion of male part-time employment has come since the end of the mining boom. In September 2011 only 19.0% of men were employed part-time – so more than half the increase (+4.5ppts) has come in the last six years.

On a smaller scale, there has also been an increase in the proportion of women working part-time to 47.8% (up 0.5ppts). However, the proportion of women working part-time actually peaked in early 2007 above 49% before declining significantly during the Global Financial Crisis.


Employed Workers: Full-time v Part-time by Gender

Employed Workers: Full-time v Part-time by GenderSource: Roy Morgan Single Source (January 1999 – September 2017). Sample: Approximately 50,000 per year. Base: Employed Australians.


Michele Levine, CEO, Roy Morgan Research says the Australian workforce is undergoing generational change with women entering the workforce in increasing numbers while men are driving the trend towards increasing part-time employment:

“Overall Australian employment has grown strongly over the past 17 years with Australian women leading the charge – up 52.9% since 2000 (+1.9 million) while male employment is up 35.2% (+1.7 million) during the same period.

“Now 61.1% of Australian women of working age are part of the workforce, up a significant 8.9ppts since 2000. This comprises 5.5 million employed Australian women equal to 54.5% of working age women (up 7.6ppts) and a further 670,000 unemployed Australian women equal to 6.6% of working age women (up 1.3ppts).

“However, despite the increasing number of women entering the workforce, Australian men still comprise the bulk of employed Australians. There are now 6.9 million Australian men in the workforce equal to 70.5% of working age Australian men, but this has increased by a comparatively smaller 1.8ppts since 2000.

“Men have traditionally dominated full-time jobs, and to a large extent this is still the case – of 7.8 million full-time jobs the majority equal to 4.9 million (62.8%) are held by men compared to only 2.9 million (37.2%) that are held by women.

“However, although male dominance of full-time employment continues, men are increasingly entering part-time employment and are the leading force behind the increasing casualisation of the Australian workforce in recent years – particularly since the end of the mining boom in 2012.

“Male part-time employment has more than doubled since 2000 to 1.5 million (up 103.1%) – and easily the fastest growing employment category of either gender. During the same time period female part-time employment has grown 54.7% to 2.6 million – a level of growth more in line with growth in female full-time employment of 51.4% to 2.9 million.

“Unfortunately the downside of more women entering the workforce is that not all Australians, or all Australian women, can find the employment they’re after. In fact there are now more unemployed Australian women (670,000) than unemployed Australian men (570,000) whereas this was not the case at the turn of the century. Along-side increasing unemployment, under-employment has also increased substantially over the past decade for both genders.

“Both the increasing proportion of Australian women entering the workforce and the increasing level of male part-time employment represent huge trends that show no sign of changing any time soon – and both in their own ways are contributing to rising levels of unemployment and under-employment that present a huge challenge for policymakers adapting to the changing nature of the Australian economy.”


*The workforce is defined as the total number of people who are employed or looking for work. This means the ‘workforce’ can increase because there are more jobs or because more people start looking for work (e.g. at the beginning of the year when the new graduates start their search for employment). Conversely the ‘workforce’ can go down because there are fewer jobs; or because people give up looking for work. ‘Unemployment’ is defined as the percentage of the ‘workforce’ who are looking for work.

**Working age Australians are defined here as Australians aged 14+. There is no accepted definition of a working age Australian as laws are different in separate Australian jurisdictions. In a majority of States there is no lower bound on when someone can work whilst in Queensland the minimum age is 13 and in Victoria and Western Australia it is 15. Source: Fair Work Australia: “What age can I start work?” https://www.fairwork.gov.au/find-help-for/young-workers-and-students/what-age-can-i-start-work.


For further information:

Contact

Office

Mobile

Gary Morgan:

+61 3 9224 5213

+61 411 129 094

Michele Levine:

+61 3 9224 5215

+61 411 129 093