Think you’re working longer hours than ever? Census data says you’re wrong

Updated October 23, 2017 14:56:33

Australians are working fewer hours per week than they were in 2011, according to new 2016 Census results released today.

Key points:

  • Average working week drops by 30 minutes
  • Employed women twice as likely to do 15+ hours of domestic work than men
  • More Australians than ever have post-school and postgraduate qualifications

Census data from 2016 showed the average paid working week for Australians was 34.6 hours — down from 35.1 hours in 2011.

More extreme working weeks were also down, with 25.7 per cent of Australians reportedly working more than 41 hours per week in 2016, compared to 28.8 per cent in 2011.

According to the data, women worked an average of 30 paid hours per week and men 39 hours.

And there were still noticeable gender differences in occupations — with men making up 84 per cent of technicians and trade workers, while 74 per cent of health professionals were women.

Truck drivers, electricians and carpenters were among popular occupations for men, while nurses, clerks and receptionists were among the most common jobs for women.

Census program manager Bindi Kindermann said female involvement in the workforce was increasing — up from just 34 per cent in 1966 for those over the age of 15, to 56 per cent in 2016.

For men that number is decreasing — 84 per cent of all men were employed in 1966, compared to 65 per cent in 2016.

The largest overall occupation category for Australians was professionals, which accounted for 21 per cent of the nation’s workforce.

Ms Kindermann said some service industries were growing.

“Comparing stats from 2016 to that from 2011 … [shows] a 27 per cent increase in fitness instructors, a 25 per cent rise in the number or beauty therapists and a 23 per cent increase in bar attendants and baristas,” Ms Kindermann said.

Professionals were also on the rise among Indigenous Australians, overtaking labourers as the main occupation for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders.

More Aussies getting post-school qualifications

Australians are upskilling like never before to get their jobs, with 9.6 million people holding a post-school qualification — a 46 per cent increase since 2006.

Though some Australians are going even further than a bachelor degree, with postgraduate qualifications increasing by almost 50 per cent in the past five years.

And Ms Kindermann said education for Indigenous Australians had also improved across the board.

There was a 150 per cent increase in the number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people holding Cert III and Cert IV level qualifications since 2006.

Women still doing more housework

But despite the rise in qualifications and employment, the division of labour at home remains largely a female responsibility, according to the census, with women in full-time employment being twice as likely as their male counterparts to do at least 15 hours of unpaid domestic work per week.

“[19 per cent] of women working full-time were likely to undertake at least 15 hours of unpaid domestic work a week, compared to 8 per cent of men,” Ms Kindermann said.

“And while 9 per cent of men who were employed part-time were likely to carry out 15 or more hours of unpaid domestic work a week, for women it was 34 per cent.”

Car still the king of the road

Driving remained the dominant method of transport for Australians travelling to work.

Just under 5 million people drove or were a passenger in a car on their way to work on census day, Tuesday August 9, 2016.

Nearly half a million Australians caught a train to work and a further 104,000 people took a combination of trains and buses. About 86,000 used a mixture of driving and trains.

“Unsurprisingly, residents of Sydney were significant users of public transport,” Ms Kindermann said.

“Residents of Adelaide recorded the highest rate of people who drove to work [followed closely by Perth] … while Canberra recorded the highest rate of people walking or cycling to work.”

Melbournians were second most likely to catch public transport to work and second least likely to drive.

While Hobart residents were the least likely to catch public transport, just under 5 per cent of commuters in Brisbane chose to walk or cycle to work.

Darwin had a mixture of people driving or catching public transport, though residents were also the third most likely to walk or cycle to work.

How does your city get to work?

CityCar (as driver)Public transportWalking or cycling
Sydney65.5%20.9%5.9%
Melbourne74.4%13.4%5.4%
Brisbane75.3%10.5%4.9%
Adelaide79.9%8.3%4%
Perth79.3%8.1%3.8%
Hobart76%5.3%8.1%
Darwin75.2%6.8%7.1%
Canberra74.9%7.1%8.4%

Topics: population-and-demographics, community-and-society, canberra-2600, act, australia

First posted October 23, 2017 10:39:36