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CHARTS: The changing nature of Australia's workforce

Australia’s employment data for January was released this week, and the only thing that didn’t surprise about it was that it continued the volatility we’ve seen in the series.

Many people question the reliability of the month-to-month data, but over time there are some undeniable trends in the shifting nature of Australian jobs market.

These charts take a long-term look at the picture. (And the data, if you’re wondering, is in trend terms.)

In January there were 11.9 million Australians employed, the largest number on record. There were 8.2 million in full time employment, 3.7 million in part time employment

But over time the mix of full-time and part-time work in Australia has been reshaped. In percentage terms, 68.94% of workers are employed full time, the lowest level on record. Part time employment hit 31.06%, the highest level on record

There were 2.5 million women in part time employment, representing 69% of all part-time employees. Part-time employment for men stood at over 1.1 million, or 31%. Two decades ago, women represented 75% of all part time workers, with males at 25%.

Part time employment growth has been consistent, compared to the growth in full-time jobs. The only time part time employment growth tends to fall is when full time job growth is accelerating, generally during periods when overall economic activity is rising.

Now here’s the same chart, only in percentage terms. Part time employment growth has been far more consistent, and higher, than full time employment growth over recent decades

While some workers welcome the flexibility, not every worker is happy being in part time employment. The underemployed ratio of employed Australians currently sits at 9%, near the highest level on record.

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