The girls are putting the boys to shame when it comes to Australian employment growth

Photo by Daniel Berehulak/Getty Images

In April the Australian economy generated 10,800 jobs, an outcome that left the unemployment rate steady at 5.7%, the lowest level since September 2013.

Beneath the headline figures, it was a continuation of a familiar theme: it was driven by yet another gain in part-time employment, up 21,300, with female employment driving the result with an increase of 14,600.

The chart below shows the rolling annual change in Australian employment going back a decade, breaking the figures down into full-time, part-time and total employment.

In recent times there’s been a noticeable divergence in full-time and part-time employment. The former grew by only 1% over the past year, surpassed by a near 4.5% increase in part-time workers.

As a result of the acceleration in part-time hiring, not now but also in the past, part-time employment has increased by 871,500 over the past decade, narrowing the gap to full-time employment which rose by 1,003,000 over the same period.

In the past year alone, part time hiring rose by 160,900, near doubling the 83,800 increase in full time employment.

The part-time figure equates to 46.5% of employment growth over the past decade. In absolute terms, 31.5% of jobs in Australia are now part-time, the highest percentage on record.

While part-time employment drove the overall increase registered in April, so too did female employment which grew by 14,600, offsetting a 3,700 decline in employment among males.

Like part-time employment, this too continues a familiar theme.

The women of Australia are putting men to shame when it comes to employment growth over the past decade. Female employment increased by over one million, well ahead of the 870,000 figure for males.

Like the breakdown between full time and part time hiring, so too was the divergence between growth in female and male employment over the past year.

Female employment jumped by 164,400, more than doubling that for males which increased by 80,300.

Justin Smirk, senior economist at Westpac, is one analyst who isn’t surprised by these trends, telling Business Insider last month that the shift to part-time employment “is more about structural changes and where the jobs are being created than a ‘casualisation’ of the workforce”.

“What we know is there has been a rise in both part-time and female employees which is the first hint that the industries that are growing are employing more female and part-time workers,” he said.

“That is, those industries’ labour force have a higher share of female and part-time employees compared to those contracting.”

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