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Insight One: Tasmania's workforce

Men are “disappearing” from the workforce and fewer Tasmanians are employed in or seeking full time jobs, the Institute for the Study of Social Change has found.

Lisa Denny
Image: Lisa Denny

In the first of a new series of Institute Insight reports focusing on social and economic change, the Institute’s research fellow, demographer Lisa Denny has analysed data from the 2016 Census.

Key findings from Institute Insight One include:

  • Men are ‘disappearing’ from the workforce; fewer men were participating in the labour force for all age groups (except those older than 55) in 2016 than in 2006.
  • The Tasmanian workforce is ageing at a faster pace than population growth.
  • There has been a marked shift away from full time employment to part time work.
  • There were 936 fewer Tasmanians in full time employment and 14,221 more Tasmanians in part time work in 2016 than in 2006.
  • Younger Tasmanians are experiencing delayed and protracted entry into the workforce.
  • Older Tasmanians are prolonging their working lives.

While the Tasmanian population grew 7 per cent to 509,961 between 2006 and 2016, the proportion of Tasmanians of traditional working age -- 15 to 64 years -- decreased by 6.0 per cent. In the same period the proportion of the workforce aged 45 and over grew by 12.9 per cent.

Since 2006, the labour force participation rate for those aged 55 and older increased considerably, indicating either successful policy intervention to attract and retain older people in the workforce, increased confidence in the labour market, or necessity,” Ms Denny said.

“Over the same period, the labour force participation rate declined for the two youngest age groups. This is likely to be attributable to longer engagement in schooling and further education before entering the workforce.

For men of all ages, except those over 55, participation in the labour force is lower in 2016 than in 2006. “For women, engagement in the labour market has improved since 2006, suggesting both successful policy intervention to increase participation of women and a shift away from traditional cultural norms of breadwinner and caregiver roles in the family,” Ms Denny said.

She said the changing gender mix is also in part due to economic restructuring and subsequent sectoral shifts, which will be the focus of the next Institute Insight report.

Read the full report (PDF 1.4MB)  

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