Australia's most family-friendly jobs

Mindil Beach in Darwin
  • The number Australian job postings using family-friendly or flexible language is well above that of the US and many European countries.
  • Roles advertised using family-friendly or flexible language account for 12.3% of Australian job postings.
  • Healthcare and social care occupations feature prominently among jobs that place greatest emphasis on work-life balance.

Family-friendly jobs are hard to find in Australia but employers are still generally more flexible than in the US.

Global jobs site Indeed mined hundreds of thousands of job postings to identify those emphasising family-friendly or flexible working environments.

In Australia, 12.3% of job postings contain language touting family-friendly or flexible conditions.

This ranks ahead of Europe and the US, says Indeed.

One factor that may explain why Australia ranks high is the rate of part-time employment.

Part-time work accounts for almost a third of total employment in Australia, putting it third behind the Netherlands and Switzerland among OECD countries.

Part-time jobs have made up almost half of all employment growth over the past five years, a trend that has helped push labour force participation near a seven-year high.

“The changing demographics of Australia’s labour force help explain the rise of part-time work,” says Indeed.

“Over the past decade, women and older workers have dominated employment growth. These two groups have come to define the shift towards more flexible and family-friendly workplaces.

“With an ageing workforce and the gradual blurring of traditional gender roles, a family-friendly or flexible working environment can be a useful way to attract a wider group of candidates.”

Work-life balance is a long desired but often elusive goal for many Australian workers.

Out of 38 countries, Australians ranked ninth among workers in OECD countries when it comes to working long hours and sixth from last for leisure time.

Almost a quarter of Australians report they’re over-employed. At the other end of the spectrum, 8.5% of Australian workers say they want to work more hours.

Work-life balance includes policies on such issues as flexible working hours, leave entitlements and ability to work remotely.

Some employers more than others recognise the importance of work-life balance and use it as a selling point to attract candidates.

These are Australia’s most family-friendly or flexible jobs:

Indeed’s analysis found jobs in the healthcare or social care sectors dominate for being family friendly.

Therapists (massage, physical and occupational) are the occupations most likely to offer a family-friendly or flexible working environment.

Medical and public health social workers are in fourth place, while taxi drivers round out the top five.

Psychologists and registered nurses also rank highly.

Flexible working hours doesn’t always mean workers can choose their own hours. Sometimes it means you may be working odd hours at your employer’s discretion.

And casual jobs often lack leave entitlements. So, while these jobs may be flexible, they could be far from family-friendly.

The most family friendly occupational groups:

Indeed says the top twenty occupations are dominated by a small number of occupational groups.

Legal occupations — a sector notorious for long hours — ranks highly. For a legal firm, promoting work-life balance could be a useful way to differentiate itself from competitors, particularly in an occupation in which work-life balance isn’t expected.

The occupational groups with the lowest share of family-friendly or flexible roles are construction at 4.5% and farming, fishing and forestry at 6.9%.

Indeed used data on job postings from early August for Australia, in May for 11 European countries and in late May for the US.

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