Gender imbalances in Underemployment, Australia

Relative Underemployment of Females vs Males in Australia by Industry

Relative Underemployment of Females vs Males in Australia by Industry

Underemployment is often referred to as a type of “hidden unemployment” – workers who are being paid for one or more hours in a period are considered “employed”, but the reality is that some of these workers would like to be working more hours.  Doing some analysis on the Australian Bureau of Statistic’s latest underemployment survey yielded an interesting insight… Women are hugely over-represented in underemployment statistics in almost every industry.

There were three exceptions to this: In Electricity, Gas, Water and Waste Services, where women make up 22% of all employed workers, women were half as likely as men to be underemployed; in Construction, where women make up one in eight workers, women were 11% less likely than men to be underemployed; and in the mining industry, where women make up 13.9% of the workforce, neither males nor females are reporting that they are underemployed.

The industries where women were most underemployed (relative to men) were Information, Media and Telecommunications (women make up 41% of the employed workforce and are 3.5 times more likely to be underemployed than men), and Manufacturing (women make up 26% of the workforce and are 2.6 times more likely to be underemployed than men).

Aside from the gender imbalance here, it’s food for thought – although there are no statistics for “overemployed” (though there are interesting statistics on number of hours worked), it’s likely that where there are workers who want to work more, there are also workers who want to work less.  I wonder how many employers out there know which of their workers would like to work more, and which would like to work less?  Addressing the imbalance could result in a happier and more productive workforce on both sides.

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