Australia’s Labour Market Dynamics Revealed – 2020-21 Analysis

The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) recently released comprehensive data shedding light on the factors influencing labor force participation and work hours during the 2020-21 financial year. Here are key highlights:

Labour Force Overview (2020-21):

  • Total Population (18-75 years): 18 million
  • Full-Time Workers: 9.5 million
  • Not in Labour Force: 3.2 million (28% seeking a job)
  • Working Less Than 16 Hours: 1.0 million (38% desire more hours)

Barriers to Work:

  • Unavailable Reasons:
    • Women: Caring for children (most common)
    • Men: Long-term sickness or disability
  • Incentives to Seek a Job:
    • Top Incentives: Ability to work part-time, Finding a job matching skills and experience

COVID-19 Impact:

  • Data collected from July 2020 to June 2021 reflects pandemic-related factors.
  • 2.8 million people wanted a job or more hours, with 2.4 million available to start within four weeks.

Childcare Challenges:

  • Mothers cited childcare as a primary barrier.
    • 35% preferred to stay home with children.
    • 27% faced issues with formal childcare.

Job Search Difficulties:

  • 55% of those wanting a job faced difficulties.
  • Top challenges included other difficulties (19%), too many applicants (18%), and lack of jobs (17%).

Incentives for Labour Force Participation:

  • Top Incentives for Women: Ability to work part-time
  • Top Incentives for Men: Finding a job matching skills and experience

Parental Perspectives:

  • Mothers: 64% valued the ability to work part-time.
  • Fathers: 50% emphasized finding a job matching skills and experience.

Long-Term Health Conditions:

  • 4.1 million with a long-term health condition.
  • Top incentives included working part-time (40%) and finding a job matching skills and experience (36%).

Quarterly Update (June 2023):

  • 18.6 million aged 18-75; 73% employed or had a job to start.
  • 39% of those without a job wanted a paid job, and 61% did not.

Incentives and Availability (June 2023):

  • 75% of those wanting a paid job were available within four weeks.
  • Top incentive: Finding a job matching skills and experience (36%).

Incentives Across Age Groups:

  • 18-24 years: Skills and experience vital (64%).
  • 25-39 years: Diverse incentives, including childcare and flexible hours.
  • 40-54 years: Emphasis on skills and part-time work.

Incentives for People with Health Conditions:

  • Long-Term Health Conditions: Skills and part-time work (40%).
  • Disability: Skills and part-time work (30%).

Conclusion: The data underscores the diverse challenges and motivations shaping Australia’s labor landscape. As the ABS commits to more frequent updates, these insights provide a foundation for targeted policies and interventions to address evolving workforce dynamics.