Percentage of women in the workforce increasing
The Sector > Economics > Supply & Demand > Percentage of women in the workforce increasing

Percentage of women in the workforce increasing

by Jason Roberts

September 26, 2018

Latest data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics shows that the percentage of women participating in the workforce is increasing.


The above plot shows the percentage (dotted lines) and number of women (solid lines) in the employment categories of; full-time employment, part time employment, and not in the labour force (NILF). NILF includes women who are not currently working or seeking work. This includes women who are stay at home mothers, carers for elderly parents, or have additional needs and therefore cannot work. The data represents all Australian women between the ages of 15 and 65 years.


For the ten years prior to 2015 the percentage of NILF women has stayed relatively steady, before beginning to decrease. This suggests that less women are staying at home to care for children or other members of the family. While the percentage stayed steady or decreased, the number of women not in the labour force continues to rise. This is due to the increase in population of women aged 15-65 years.


The percentage of women in full-time work has slightly decreased from 2008-2016, before rising again from 2016. As in NILF, the number of women has continued to increase due to population growth. In contrast to full-time employment, the percentage of women in part-time employment rose slightly between 2008-2016. As this opposes the full-time trend, and the NILF trend was relatively steady during this time, it can be assumed that the reduction in full-time employment was due to a rise in part-time employment – that is, more women were choosing to work part time rather than full time. From 2016 onwards the trend for both full time and part time is an increase, reinforcing the suggestion that more women are working and less are NILF.

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