Women Maybe Finding It Difficult to Get Full-time Jobs Compared To Men – Study


The latest jobs figures provided some small bit of good news, but also highlighted that while men have finally started getting more full-time work, the past year has seen such work for women drop dramatically.

When the latest jobs figures were released last week by the Bureau of Statistics, the slight drop in the unemployment rate from 5.8% to 5.7% was mostly overshadowed by the news that while total employment had risen by 13,500 jobs, full-time employment had fallen by 44,800 jobs.

It seemed to be another kick in the teeth for workers coming out of 2016 which was the second worst year for employment growth in the past 20 years, and only the fourth time in that period where full-time employment went backwards:
But the news was not all bad; but as is generally the case it was not all good either.

Firstly, the drop in full-time work was in the seasonally adjusted figures, which as I’ve noted a few times before, are pretty erratic, and best viewed with caution unless you’re a fan of high blood pressure:
The trend measure actually has full-time employment rising in January – making it the fourth month in a row.

But while a four month positive run is good news, we remain some 40,000 full-time positions below the most recent peak set a year ago:

The good news is we seemed to have bottomed out a bit, and the seasonally adjusted fall might just be a bit of a statistical flub – the “original” data used by the ABS showed the biggest ever one month fall in full-time employment, which doesn’t seem to reflect the actual state of the economy.

And yet while looking past the seasonally adjusted figures is often useful, what they highlight is that the reasons for the drop in full-time employment has changed rather abruptly over the past six to nine months.

Whereas pretty much since the GFC the issue of full-time employment has been the lack of such work for men, at the moment it is all about women.

Although women only account for 35% of all full-time employment, in January 80% of full-time jobs lost were women’s jobs.

And even if we use the trend measure, the picture is one of male full-time employment rising, while for women it has nearly been falling for a year:
And while (as I have noted) in the past this was an issue mostly to do with younger workers, at the moment the falls are occurring from women aged 25-64 – those in the prime-working age:
The nine month consecutive fall in full-time employment for women aged 25-64 is actually the longest such streak since the 1990s recession.

The fall has meant that the percentage of women working full-time has stayed below 40%, and remains at the level it has been for around eight years now:
Now this is not all bad news – in the same period the percentage of men aged 25-64 working full-time fell from 74.1% to the now near record low of 72.5%.


But it suggests that maybe a ceiling has been reached.

After the strong gains in women’s employment from the 1980s onwards there seems little momentum for women’s full-time employment to go much higher than it currently is.

Part of this is societal. So long as mothers are the ones more likely to take time off after having children, women’s full-time work is always going to struggle to match that of men.

One issue however is due to the changing nature of the economy and the industries which mostly employ women.

Of the seven industries of which women account for a majority of workers, only one – financial and insurance services – is in the top seven industries for full-time workers.

And in the recent past as we have transitioned from the mining boom the job growth has come in those industries which most employ women. But pointedly, the financial and insurance industry has had the worst performance of the industries which employ more women than men:
But of course just being in an industry with a majority of women does not mean a majority of the full-time workers are women.

Only three industries – real estate services, education and training, and health care and social assistance – have more women working full-time than men. Pointedly, education and health care both have a below average levels of full-time workers – so women might have a bigger share of the full-time pie, but the pie itself is rather small compared other industries.

And of course in no industry is the share of women working full-time greater than the share of all women working in that industry:
For most of the period since the GFC, the story of declining full-time employment has been a story of men. But over the past year, it is women who have been the ones to see full-time work disappear.

In an environment where the growth areas are in industries that mostly have low levels of full-time employment, it suggests that we might be near the peak level of women holding full-time work – at a level of less than 40% of women aged 25 to 64.


Culled from https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/feb/21/latest-job-stats-full-time-work-is-disappearing-for-women-but-not-for-men



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