FACTBase Bulletin 72 - Future of Work: The Shifting Demographics within Western Australia's Labour Force

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The Committee for Perth is proud to be leading the way on research into the Future of Work for WA and Greater Perth.

Our latest FACTBase Bulletin - Future of Work: The Shifting Demographics within Western Australia's Labour Force examines the feminisation, ageing and cultural diversification of the workforce in Western Australia and Greater Perth, along with the relationship between these trends and structural reform in the economy, technological change and future of work projections.

This bulletin is the third piece of research to be delivered under the Committee’s 2020-2021 major project the Future of Work: equipping WA and its people for the changing world of work.

Key findings include:
  • Three trends have substantially altered the composition of the workforce in Western Australia and Greater Perth in recent decades: increasing female participation, ageing and cultural diversification.
  • There has been a large increase in female participation in the workforce over the past 30 years associated with technological advancements and structural reform in the economy. Despite this, female labour force participation in Western Australia remains below that of male participation and industries of employment remain significantly gendered.
  • Growth in part-time employment is associated with periods of economic downturn and current statistics show that rates of unemployment are lowest among males and females seeking part-time employment. While part-time and non-traditional forms of employment (such as contract work) can deliver benefits to employees and employers, it has also been associated with underemployment, underutilisation of the labour force and job insecurity.
  • The ageing of Australia’s labour force, evidenced by a rapidly increasing share of workers aged over 60 years, has been identified as a risk for the State’s future workforce, with the potential for a shortage of skilled labour as older workers shift to part-time work or retire from the labour force.
  • In 2016 a higher proportion of the labour force in Western Australia was born overseas than in any other major city in Australia. If well managed and promoted, this could enhance the state’s global reputation as culturally diverse and assist employers in addressing the skill and worker shortages generated by technological change and advancement, industry growth or the ageing of the existing workforce.
  • Impacted by technological advancement due to existing under- representation in the labour force and disadvantages such as lower levels of educational attainment.
Acknowledgement of Country

The Committee For Perth acknowledges the traditional custodians throughout Western Australia and their continuing connection to the land, waters and community. We pay our respects to all members of the Aboriginal communities and their cultures; and to Elders both past and present.