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1370.0 - Measures of Australia's Progress, 2013  
Latest ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 14/11/2013   
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Measures of Australia's Progress

Opportunities

Australians aspire to have the economic opportunities they need to thrive
Graph Image for Persons with a Certificate III or above or employed in a skilled occupation NEW VERSION

Footnote(s): (a) Persons aged 20-64 years.;(a) Persons aged 20-64 years.

Source(s): ABS data available on request, 2007-2012 Surveys of Education and Work; ABS data available on request, 2007-2012 Surveys of Education and Work

Image: Tick - Progress

Economic opportunities in Australia have progressed in recent years

    Indicator: Proportion of persons with a Certificate III or above, or employed in a skilled occupation

    Why is this theme important?

    Australians told us that they believed it important that the economy increase the wellbeing of Australians. This meant people having the opportunities, means and ability to have a high standard of living and lead the kind of life they want and choose to live. This may include people having employment or business opportunities, income, services, skills and knowledge to secure their wellbeing and the wellbeing of their loved ones. At the same time, people thought that the economy, or aspects of it, should not represent barriers in the pursuit of wellbeing, for example, by making information or procedures unnecessarily complex or difficult.

    How have we decided there has been progress?

    We have decided that economic opportunities in Australia have progressed in recent years because the proportion of persons with a Certificate III or above, or employed in a skilled occupation (our headline progress indicator for economic opportunities) has increased.

    In 2007, 64% of the population aged 20-64 years had a Certificate III or above, or were employed in a skilled occupation. By 2012, this proportion had increased to 70%, with year-on-year growth seen in the proportion for each of the five intervening years.

    Why this headline progress indicator?

    The relationship between skills and employment represents an important part of the aspiration for economic opportunities.

    The proportion of persons who have at least a Certificate III or who are employed in a skilled occupation is considered a good measure of progress for economic opportunities. This is because it measures the opportunity to gain a basic skill level and also captures how well the economy provides skilled job opportunities to people. By looking at the number of skilled people, the indicator provides a measure of the actual skill level of Australians and by including Certificate III or above, the indicator relates to vocational or higher education qualifications. Skills are important in supporting people to partake in job opportunities, as well as the potential to engage in skilled labour. Working in a skilled occupation is likely to give people the means and opportunity (through income, skills and knowledge) to have a reasonable standard of living, while a skilled qualification gives people the opportunity to enter into a skilled occupation.

    Quality assessment (see key)

    Image: Icon for 'Partial measure' This indicator is a partial measure of the concept of economic opportunities as described above (based on Aspirations for our Nation).

    Image: Icon for 'High quality' The data source is of high quality.

    Let's break it down!

    The proportion of women aged 20-64 years with a Certificate III or above, or employed in a skilled occupation is lower than that of male counterparts. However, the proportion has grown more quickly for women than for men over the past 5 years. Between 2007 and 2012, the proportion for women grew 9 percentage points (from 57% to 66%) whereas for men during the same period, the proportion grew only 3 percentage points (from 71% to 74%).

    Use the drop down menu on the graph to look at other breakdowns of the indicator (graphs are also available on the further info page).

    But that is not the whole story...

    There is more to economic opportunities than a person's skills or employment in a skilled occupation. Look through the other tabs on this page to see if the other elements of economic opportunities have progressed.

    Check out our further info page for useful links, a glossary and references relating to this chapter.
Graph Image for Employment as a proportion of people who are in work or want to work(a)(b)

Footnote(s): (a) Persons ages 15 years and over. (b) Data is for September.;(a) Persons aged 15 years and over. (b) Data is for September.;(a) Persons aged 15 years and over. (b) Data is for September.

Source(s): ABS data available on request, Persons Not in the Labour Force; ABS data available on request, Persons Not in the Labour Force; ABS data available on request, Persons Not in the Labour Force

Employment opportunities in Australia have not changed greatly in recent years.

Indicator: Employment as a proportion of people who are in work or want to work

Why is this element important?

Employment opportunities is an important aspect of wellbeing both for individuals and societies. In economic terms, work benefits individuals by offering them security through a source of income. Work also benefits people by enhancing their skills, building social networks and contributing to a person's sense of identity. Within society, work is critical in ensuring that the goods, services and wider social conditions that benefit all members of the community are generated. Therefore, it is important that the economy provide employment opportunities to people to support wellbeing.

Go to the overall progress tab and further info page for more information about economic opportunities.

How have we decided things haven't changed greatly?

We have decided that employment opportunities in Australia have not changed greatly in recent years because employment as a proportion of people who are in work or want to work (our progress indicator for employment opportunities) hasn't moved much.

For there to be improvement in employment opportunities in Australia, we would expect to see discernible growth in employment as a proportion of people who are in work or want to work. When viewed in the context of the number of people wanting to work, the proportion of the Australian population in employment has not changed greatly.

In 2007, 87% of the population that were in work or wanted to work were employed. Five years later in 2012, the rate was similar at 86% with only minor downward movement in the rate recorded during intervening years in the wake of the global financial crisis. As a population, there were 1.9 million Australians in 2012 who wanted to work but were not employed.

Why this progress indicator?

Being able to find work tells us about employment opportunities as part of the aspiration for economic opportunities.

Employment as a proportion of people who are in work or want to work is considered a good measure of progress for employment opportunities because it measures whether those who want to work are able to do so. Examining employment in relation to all people who are in work or want to work can be useful to understand how well people's aspirations to work are being met in the economy. In addition to including people who are employed and unemployed, the measure includes people who are not in the labour force who report that they want to work, i.e. that they have a desire or aspiration for work, but it excludes those not in the labour force who are permanently retired, not able to work and those who do not want to work.

A high proportion indicates that businesses, governments and other sectors of the economy are providing opportunities for employment to those who want to work. A high proportion also indicates that the productive potential of Australians is being harnessed to support economic production and that unutilised labour capacity is being minimised.

Quality assessment (see key)

Image: Icon for 'Direct measure' This indicator is a direct measure of employment opportunities.

Image: Icon for 'High quality' The data source is of high quality.

Let's break it down!

Between 2007 and 2012, employment as a proportion of people who are in work or want to work for women was consistently lower than for men (between 5-8 percentage points). In 2012, this equated to there being 846,000 men and 1,096,000 women who wanted to work but were not employed.

Across the states and territories, Tasmania and Queensland saw a significant decrease in the proportion of people who are in work or want to work between 2007 and 2012 (84% to 81% and 88% to 86%, respectively). There were no other significant changes for the other states and territories during this period. Between 2007 and 2012, the Northern Territory and the Australian Capital Territory had the highest proportion of people who were in work or wanted to work, while Tasmania had the lowest.

Use the drop down menu on the graph to look at other breakdowns of the indicator (graphs are also available on the further info page).

But that is not the whole story...

There is more to economic opportunities than employment opportunities. Look through the other tabs on this page to see if the other elements of economic opportunities have progressed.

Check out our further info page for useful links, a glossary and references relating to this chapter.
Graph Image for New business entry rate(a)

Footnote(s): (a) Entries relative to total operating businesses at start of financial year. (b) A spike evident in 2009-10 is due to a change in ABS methodology. ;(a) Entries relative to total operating businesses at start of financial year.

Source(s): ABS Counts of Australian Businesses, Including Entries and Exits (cat. no. 8165.0); ABS Counts of Australian Businesses, Including Entries and Exits (cat. no. 8165.0)

Business opportunities in Australia have regressed since 2003-04

Indicator: New business entry rate

Why is this element important?

An economy that supports business opportunities and entrepreneurial endeavours is important to social progress. Through growth in business activity, individuals in society may benefit through increased productivity, economic performance and employment opportunities. A supportive business environment may also promote the development of new or innovative products to meet evolving consumer demand. The extent to which new businesses are entering the market is a reflection of barriers to entry, such as business regulation and competition, but is also influenced by broader economic conditions which may limit business opportunities.

Go to the overall progress tab and further info page for more information about economic opportunities.

How have we decided there has been regress?

We have decided business opportunities in Australia have regressed since 2003-04 because the new business entry rate (our progress indicator for business opportunities) has decreased.

The new businesses entry rate in Australia has trended downwards, decreasing from 17% to 14% between 2003-04 and 2011-12.

Why this progress indicator?

The new business entry rate tells us about business opportunities as part of the aspiration for economic opportunities.

The new business entry rate is considered a good measure of progress for business opportunities because it measures the rate at which new businesses are entering the market relative to existing businesses. A rise in the new business entry rate indicates that opportunities for new businesses to enter the market are increasing, due to improved economic conditions or reduced barriers to entry. The indicator does not include business exits; however, it is important to note, that a business exit event does not necessarily equate to a business 'failure'.

Quality assessment (see key)

Image: Icon for 'Partial measure' This indicator is a partial measure of business opportunities.

Image: Icon for 'High quality' The data source is of high quality.

Let's break it down!

The national decline in the new business entry rate between 2003-04 and 2011-12 was reflected in each state and territory in Australia, with the decline being more marked in some states and territories than others. Notably, the largest decreases were found in Queensland and Tasmania where the rate fell by 5.2 and 4.9 percentage points respectively between 2003-04 and 2011-12.

Use the drop down menu on the graph to look at other breakdowns of the indicator (graphs are also available on the further info page).

But that is not the whole story...

There is more to economic opportunities than business opportunities. Look through the other tabs on this page to see if the other elements of economic opportunities have progressed.

Check out our further info page for useful links, a glossary and references relating to this chapter.
Graph Image for Real net national disposable income per capita(a)

Footnote(s): (a) Reference year is 2010-11.

Source(s): ABS Australian System of National Accounts, 2011-12 (cat. no. 5204.0)

The standard of living in Australia has progressed over the last decade


Indicator: Real net national disposable income per capita

Why is this element important?

Standard of living is an important aspect of economic opportunities as it determines people's ability to consume goods and services thereby supporting their wellbeing. In order to maintain a high level of wellbeing, people must consume a sufficient quantity of goods, such as food and clothing, and services, such as education and health care. When standards of living are low, there is an increased likelihood that people will be unable to afford these items, impacting on their quality of life. In the context of economic opportunities, low living standards may impact the ability of people to find jobs, undertake education, or pursue other opportunities to improve their wellbeing.

Go to the overall progress tab and further info page for more information about economic opportunities.

How have we decided there has been progress?

We have decided that the standard of living in Australia has progressed over the last decade because real net national disposable income per capita (our progress indicator for standard of living) has increased.

During the decade 2001-02 to 2011-12, Australia's real net national disposable income grew from $40,600 per person to $51,800 per person in 2010-11 dollars. Year-on-year growth of around 2-3% was consistent for most of the decade, with only the 2009-10 financial year recording a decline in real net national disposable income per capita (-2%).

The recent strong growth in Australia's real net national disposable income per capita highlights a significant divergence which has taken place between Australian real income and domestic production growth rates over recent years. On an annual basis between 2001-02 and 2011-12, gross domestic product (GDP) per capita increased by 1.5% on average while real net national disposable income per capita increased by 2.5% on average. This divergence is significant as the real income growth generally tracks GDP growth over the long term. However, Australia's terms of trade have nearly doubled between 2001-02 and 2011-12 and the resulting trading gain has driven tremendous growth in real domestic income relative to domestic production of goods and services.

Why this progress indicator?

National income tells us about the standard of living as part of the aspiration for economic opportunities.

Real net national disposable income per capita is considered a good measure of progress for standard of living because it measures Australians' capacity to engage in the economy through the consumption of goods and services. This measure is one of a series of real incomes which go beyond GDP to provide a more comprehensive picture of economic welfare and the standard of living. Increasing real income allows Australian residents to consume a greater quantity of food, clothing, housing, utilities, health care, education and other goods and services. Moreover, growth in real income not only has benefits for current consumption, but can also be used to generate future income and support future consumption as well. This is because income can also be used to accumulate wealth and assets which can offer people benefits both now and in the future.

Quality assessment (see key)

Image: Icon for 'Direct measure' This indicator is a direct measure of the standard of living in Australia.

Image: Icon for 'High quality' The data source is of high quality.

But that is not the whole story...

There is more to economic opportunities than standard of living. Look through the other tabs on this page to see if the other elements of economic opportunities have progressed.

Check out our further info page for useful links, a glossary and references relating to this chapter.

Graph Image for Persons with a Certificate III or above

Footnote(s): (a) Persons aged 25-64 years.;(a) Persons aged 25-64 years.

Source(s): ABS data available on request, 2002-2012 Surveys of Education and Work ; ABS data available on request, 2002-2012 Surveys of Education and Work

Capabilities in Australia have progressed over the last decade


Indicator: Proportion of persons with a Certificate III level qualification or above

Why is this element important?

Capabilities are an important aspect of economic opportunities as they provide a means by which individuals can realise their potential and gain access to opportunities to further their wellbeing. As economies like Australia become increasingly advanced, the need for skills and capabilities to understand and engage with the economy becomes critical. Without the necessary skills and capabilities, the opportunity for individuals to derive benefit from and contribute towards a thriving economy is reduced, limiting their capacity to improve their wellbeing.

Go to the overall progress tab and further info page for more information about economic opportunities.

How have we decided there has been progress?

We have decided that capabilities in Australia have progressed over the decade because the proportion of persons with a Certificate III level qualification or above (our progress indicator for capabilities) has increased.

Over the decade to 2012, the proportion of persons aged 25-64 with a qualification at a Certificate III or above increased 15 percentage points from 46% in 2002 to 61% in 2012.

Why this progress indicator?

The proportion of persons with a Certificate III or above tells us about capabilities as part of the aspiration for economic opportunities.

The proportion of persons with a Certificate III or above is considered a good measure of progress for capabilities because it measures the skill level of the Australian population. With jobs in advanced economies such as Australia requiring increasingly skilled labour, an increase in the educational attainment of the population is important in order to maximise the employment opportunities of the population. The proportion of persons with a Certificate III or above (a vocational or higher education qualification) is considered a good measure of this, capturing the extent to which the population holds, what is increasingly considered as, a base level of skills.

Quality assessment (see key)

Image: Icon for 'Partial measure' This indicator is a partial measure of capabilities.

Image: Icon for 'High quality' The data source is of high quality.

Let's break it down!

Growth in the proportion of persons with a Certificate III level qualification or above is apparent for both men and women, with the proportion growing faster for women than for men. Between 2002 and 2012, the proportion of persons with a Certificate III or above grew 20 percentage points for women (from 38% to 58%) and 10 percentage points for men (from 53% to 63%). This indicates the increasing education attainment of working age women is the larger contributor towards increase in the overall rate.

Use the drop down menu on the graph to look at other breakdowns of the indicator (graphs are also available on the further info page).

But that is not the whole story...

There is more to economic opportunities than capabilities. Look through the other tabs on this page to see if the other elements of economic opportunities have progressed.

Check out our further info page for useful links, a glossary and references relating to this chapter.

A data gap currently exists for reduced complexity

In MAP there are several types of data gaps where:
1. the concept is not yet developed enough to measure;
2. the concept is important for progress but may not lend itself to meaningful measurement;
3. there is no data of sufficient quality to inform on progress; or
4. there is only one data point, so a progress assessment cannot be made.

A range of possible indicators are being considered for reduced complexity, but no single measure was considered suitable for this indicator. A suitable measure should provide an indication of the level of complexity present within the economy which may constrain opportunities. However, there are difficulties associated with the measurement of complexity and its direct effects. For example, a reduction in the volume of legislation might indicate that the level of complexity has decreased but it may in fact produce the opposite effect. Other measures such as the uptake in e-Tax by the Australian public are at best partial measures of the overall level of complexity present within the economy. A fully comprehensive indicator should capture a range of influences on complexity, such as compliance and administration costs imposed by governments, and provide an unequivocal indication of progress in this regard.

But that is not the whole story...

There is more to economic opportunities than reduced complexity. Look through the other tabs on this page to see if the other elements of economic opportunities have progressed.

Check out our further info page for useful links, a glossary and references relating to this chapter.


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