Working in Australia: Employment facts and statistics

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Referred to as the “land of opportunity,” Australia is home to a wide range of industries and a rich labour force composed of locals and migrants. The competitive labour market gives both workers and employers equal opportunity, and government regulations on work rights make for a safer, healthier work environment. No wonder why Australia’s labour force according to Census 2011 has grown by over one million people since 2006. The details below explain more about the condition of Australia’s multicultural labour force:

The labour force

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, there were 10,658,458 people in the workforce in 2011, compared to 9,607,987 workers in 2006. The over one million additional workers resulted in an increase of 1% in the overall participation rate of Australians.

ABS also noted the percentages of workers in full-time and part-time employment. Census results revealed that 59.7% of the workforce were employed full-time, 28.7% part-time, and the remaining percentage either away from home or unemployed. A striking contrast also became evident: male dominated full-time workers (63.9%), while female dominated part-time workers (67.9%). Those who reported to be not in the labour force included retirees, students, and stay-at-home parents.

Here are other notable results of the survey:

  • More couples with no children decided one partner to work full-time, while the other either part-time or unemployed.
  • More couples with children decided one partner to work full-time and the other part-time. The number of couples where the second parent was not working while the first was employed full-time decreased.
  • More single parents worked full-time. There was also a decrease in the number of unemployed single parents.

Occupation and industry

Census 2011 revealed the shift in the top occupation and industry from 2006: there were more professional workers, and the Health Care and Social Assistance industry grew.

According to ABS, the Health Care and Social Assistance industry comprised 11.6% of the country’s employment. Census Executive Director Andrew Henderson said that the number of people working in Retail and Manufacturing declined, making the industry only the second in terms of employment (10.5%).

In terms of occupations, professionals were the most reported, accounting for 21.3% of the labour force, followed by clerical and administrative workers (14.7%), technicians and trade workers (14.2%), and managers (12.9%).

Other interesting data

The ABS census in 2011 also reported the data on method of travel to work, education, and state and territory migration. Results showed that private cars remained the top form of transportation for moving within the city, accounting 80.4% of workers driving or being driven to work by car. More Australians also completed a postgraduate degree (52.8% increase) and a bachelor degree (27.2% increase), with Management and Commerce, Engineering, and Health or Education as the top three chosen fields of study. Census 2011 also revealed that 84.1% of the population remained in their same residence since the 2006 survey; 14.2% changed address, while 1.5% were recent migrants or recently returned to Australia.

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