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1301.0 - Year Book Australia, 2009–10  
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 04/06/2010   
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Contents >> Industry structure and performance >> Employment in Australian industry

EMPLOYMENT IN AUSTRALIAN INDUSTRY

Another measure of the significance of an industry is its contribution to total employment. Employment (and unemployment) data are used as social indicators by government, research and welfare organisations. Employment is also an indicator of economic activity, although turning points in the employment series tend to lag turning points in the business cycle.

Graph 15.4 shows industry shares of total employment in 1998-99 and 2008-09, by industry using ANZSIC 2006. These data were derived from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) monthly Labour Force Survey and relate to the civilian population aged 15 years and over. These data reflect averages across the four quarters of each year to remove seasonal effects. People are considered to be employed if they were in paid work for one hour or more in the reference week, or worked for one hour or more without pay in a family business or farm. Employment is further described in the Labour chapter of this edition of Year Book Australia.

In 2008-09, 11 million (m) people were employed across all industries. From an industry perspective, the Retail trade industry employed the greatest number of people (1.2 million employed persons or 11% of total employment). Health care and social assistance employed 1.1 million people (just under 11% of total employment) followed by Manufacturing and Construction (both 9%), Education and Professional, scientific and technical services (both 7%).

These industries were also the main employing industries in 1998-99, although Retail trade has displaced Manufacturing as the largest employer. Between 1998-99 and 2008-09, the Construction industry share of total employment increased by 2%. Conversely, Manufacturing's share of total employment declined by 3% over the period.

15.4 contribution to total employment(a)
Graph: 15.4 contribution to total employment(a)


The industry composition of average weekly paid hours for wage and salary earners provides an insight into the labour market. Data on this topic are obtained from the biennial Survey of Employee Earnings and Hours, conducted by the ABS. This survey covers all employing organisations in Australia (public and private sectors) except enterprises primarily engaged in the Agriculture, forestry and fishing industry, private households employing staff, and foreign embassies and consulates.

Graph 15.5 shows average weekly total paid hours for full-time adult non-managerial employees by industry in August 2008 compared with the average for all industries in the period (39.7 hours). Total paid hours are equal to ordinary time paid hours plus overtime paid hours. The highest average weekly paid hours for full-time adult non-managerial employees was in the Mining industry (43.9 hours), followed by Transport, postal and warehousing, and Construction (both 42.3 hours). The lowest average weekly paid hours were in Education (36.8 hours) and Public administration and safety (38.1 hours).

Paid overtime accounted for 4.0% of average weekly total paid hours for full-time adult non-managerial employees. Employees worked the most paid overtime in Construction (10.2% of total paid hours for that industry). Paid overtime in the Transport, postal and warehousing, Manufacturing, Electricity, gas, water and waste services, and Administrative and support services industries accounted for 9.9%, 7.7%, 7.2% and 3.5% of total paid hours respectively.

15.5 average weekly total paid hours for Full-time adult non-managerial employees(a), Difference from all industries average(b) - Aug 2008
Graph: 15.5 average weekly total paid hours for Full-time adult non-managerial^employees(a), Difference from all industries average(b)—Aug 2008


Compensation of employees is both an economic and social indicator. This item includes wages and salaries (paid in cash and in kind) and employer social contributions (e.g. employers' contributions to superannuation and worker's compensation premiums). Wages and salaries in kind can include meals, housing, uniforms, and vehicles.

Graph 15.6 shows industry shares of total compensation of employees in 2007-08, by industry using ANZSIC 1993. In this period, total compensation of employees was $539b. Total wages and salaries was $479b (89% of total compensation of employees).

The Property and business services industry held the largest share of total compensation of employees (16%), followed by Manufacturing (12%), Health and community services (10%), and Finance and insurance and Education industries (8%). Three of these industries (Manufacturing, Health and community services and Education) were in the top six industries that had the highest share of total employment in 2007-08.

15.6 contribution to total compensation of employees(a) - 2007-08
Graph: 15.6 contribution to total compensation of employees(a)—2007–08







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