ABS Report: 3/4 of Part Timers Are Women

Women’s participation in the labour force has almost doubled since the ’60s and as the part time market continues to grow, a new report finds women make up 75 per cent of part time workers.

The trend to part time and flexible hours was highlighted recently by the Australian Bureau of Statistic’s newly-released Now and Then – 50 Years of the Labour Force Report.

Released in December, the report also notes that it’s not just women making the move to part time. In recent years, there has been a substantial increase in the proportion of men working part time as well. While part time work for younger men, particularly those studying, is not uncommon, what is of note is the growth of part time for men in the older age demographic.

Just two years ago, a quarter of men in the 55-59 age bracket intended to move to part time work rather than retiring completely. Now the numbers are even higher – and growing.

“We’re seen a huge movement to part time in the last few years, especially for women and baby boomers,” says co-founder of part time jobsite HireMeUp.com.au Fiona Anson. “The labour report only highlights a trend that we’ve seen coming for a while.”

The options available for part time work have also seen some changes over the past few years. While family-friendly leave provisions, affordable child care and flexible hours top the list for working mums and dads, emerging mobile technologies have seen a rise in work-from-home positions.

“A few years ago, we all had to go into the office to get access to equipment and information, now all that’s available via the Internet. With more and more businesses storing documents in “the Cloud” as well as running systems remotely through it, working from home is now becoming a preferred option for many”, says Ms. Anson. Not to mention, opening up alternative job opportunities for job seekers and allowing businesses to operate more cost effectively by replacing full-time positions with part-time or seasonal workers.

Anson’s own company employs up to five remote employees at any one time, depending on the workload, and allows them to run more economically than they would if they had to employ staff in an office. And she finds there are other benefits too.

“There’s a goldmine of talent in the pool of part time workers that many companies just don’t recognise and the skills of the part-time workforce are grossly underestimated,” she says. “Company managers, CEOs, top-drawer PAs and highly-skilled IT people are among some of the skilled job seekers we find who are looking for work to fit around their family responsibilities.”

For this part of the workforce, the news that part-time work is on the increase is great news. And for employers, the ability to allow employees to work from home gives them access to a group of highly-valuable people who, in the past, have found it hard to move back into the workforce.

These two things combined have opened up the floodgates to a talent pool for employers to get the people they need, when they need them.

The growth of part time is evidenced in almost every industry in the country. Almost half the jobs created in the past 20 years have been part-time, with 95 per cent of those in service industries.

“Full time, 9-to-5 and office bound is far from the only option anymore,” Anson says. “And, that means work/life balance is finally within reach for many more Australians.”

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