Insecure Work in Australia Fact #1: Part-Time Employment

One of the biggest changes in employment patterns in recent decades has been the expansion of part-time work. The share of part-time jobs in total employment grew by 2 full percentage points between 2012 and 2017, reaching almost one-third (31.7 per cent) of all jobs. The 2017 part-time employment share was the highest in Australia’s history; and while the part-time employment rate fell somewhat later in the year, it has been growing again in 2018. Between 2012 and 2017, 57 per cent of all net new jobs in Australia were part-time.

The share of part-time jobs in Australia’s labour market is now third highest of any industrialised country[1] (behind only Netherlands and Switzerland — countries which offer much stronger labour protections for part-time workers).

Part-Time Share of Total Employment

Source: Centre for Future Work calculations from ABS Catalogue 6202.0, Table 1.

The incidence of part-time work is much higher for women: almost half of women workers are in part-time positions, versus just under one-fifth for men. However, part-time work has grown more than twice as fast among men as women in the last five years.

Part-time work can be decent work if it is accompanied by regular hours, decent pay, and normal entitlements to paid leave and other employment benefits. Unfortunately this is not the case for part-time workers in Australia. For many workers, part-time hours are insufficient to pay their bills: many part-time workers would like to work more hours (discussed below), and most part-time workers are employed as casual workers.

Read Full Report on Dimensions of Insecure Work

[1] From OECD Labour Market Statistics,

CFW, housed within the Australia Institute, conducts and publishes progressive economic research on work, employment, and labour markets. https://www.futurework

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