Number of women in workforce continues to increase

by Jason Roberts

October 22, 2018

The latest monthly employment data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics shows that the number of women in the workforce continues to increase.



The percentage of women in part-time work has been increasing for the past four years with relatively stable numbers prior to then. In the past two years growth has increased significantly with an increase in the gradient of the slope. In comparison, the percentage of women in full-time work has only been increasing in the past two years, with a slight decline in the years prior to 2016.


Both of these suggest that the number of women participating in the workforce has increased significantly over the last two years. This is further supported by the trend seen in the proportion of women not in the labour force (NILF). While the percentage of women in this category was relatively steady from 2008 to 2014, it has been in quite rapid decline from 2015. In the last three years, the percentage of women NILF has decreased from around 42 per cent to 39 per cent.



In contrast to the trends seen in the workforce participation of women, workforce participation of men has seen smaller changes. Over the last four years there has been an increase in the percentage of men working part time, and an increase in the percentage of men not in the labour force – however this has started to decline in the past year. Interestingly, there has been a decrease in the percentage of men working full time from 2013 to 2017, with it possibly beginning to increase again in 2018.


Please note that the number (solid lines) will generally always increase due to the increasing population. The percentage (dashed lines) are the most interesting as these are the proportion of 15-65 year olds in the workforce, and therefore can be used to compare different population sizes over time.