Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Australia: Labor Participation Rates Rise for Older Workers

The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), in an article "Older People and the Labour Market," reports that the participation rate of Australians aged 55 and over has increased from 25% to 34% over the past 30 years, with most of the increase occurring in the past decade. In 2009-10, around one third of older Australiana (about 1.9 million) were participating in the labor force, making up 16% of the total labour force, up from around 10% three decades earlier.

Breaking the numbers into smaller age bands, ABS reports that 71% of Australians aged 55-59 years were participating in the labor force, 51% of the 60-64 year olds, and 24% of those aged 65-69 years. All of these numbers were up significantly over the last 20 years. However, the participation rates of people aged 70 years and over remained comparatively low, ranging between 2.7% and 4.5% over the last 30 years.

Among other things, the report also showed where older people were working:
In the year to June 2010, around two in five employed men aged 55 years and over worked as Managers (23%) or Professionals (20%). Older men were more likely to be employed in these higher skilled occupations than their younger counterparts and less likely to be employed in more physically demanding occupations such as Technicians and Trade Workers (18%) and Labourers (11%). However, there were 113,000 men aged 55 years and over working as Labourers. Half of these worked as either Construction and Mining Workers (16%), Factory Workers (16%) or Farm, Forestry and Garden Workers (13%).

The most common occupations among women aged 55 years and over were Clerical and Administrative Workers (28%), followed by Professionals (25%). While these were also the most common occupation groups among younger women, those aged 55 years and over were more likely to be employed as Managers and Clerical and Administrative Workers than their younger counterparts, and less likely to be employed as Sales Workers. There were 72,800 women aged 55 years and over employed as Labourers, more than half (54%) of whom worked as Cleaners and Laundry Workers.
Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics Social Trends (September 2010)

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