The Australian labour market in 2019

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11 Citations (Scopus)


This article provides an overview of the key features of the labour market in 2019, with historical data providing insight into recent trends. In 2019, the female labour force participation rate reached an all-time high of 61.3%, 10 percentage points lower than the male rate. Disaggregated analysis shows this growth stems from rising participation amongst older women. This, in turn, is underpinned by a growth in feminised sectors of the labour market, notably the Health Care and Social Assistance sector. Since 2000 this sector has contributed 22.6% to total employment growth and at 2019 accounted for 13.5% of the Australian workforce. There has also been a growth in part-time and casual employment over recent years, with the latter now accounting for 25% of all employees. These are concerning developments, with estimates showing that 58.6% of casuals are not guaranteed a minimum number of hours of work in their job. The article notes that wages growth remains below that required to stimulate employment growth, and that a continued focus on conventional labour market indicators has the potential to lead to misguided policy formulation. © Australian Labour and Employment Relations Association (ALERA) 2020 SAGE Publications Ltd, Los Angeles, London, New Delhi, Singapore and Washington DC.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)341-364
Number of pages24
JournalJournal of Industrial Relations
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2020


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