Over the last ten years there have been enormous changes in the conditions of employment, which are now more diverse than in the past. A growing number of workers no longer work full-time, have an ongoing wage or salary, or have regular hours or paid leave.
In particular there is a growing movement away from full-time employment to part-time and casual employment. Watson et al (Fragmented Futures, The Federation Press, 2003, pg 53) notes that most job losses have been in industries with high levels of full-time employment, while most of the gains have been in industries characterised by high levels of part-time work'.
How does this affect your job seekers? There will probably be a different attitude or acceptance of this in the young 'new' worker than an older worker, perhaps made redundant, who has been used to a more stable, full-time work environment.
The ABS defines employment in its surveys as anyone working for one hour a week or more. In 2004, the occupations with the highest proportion of people working only one to seven hours each week, and with the highest number of part-time workers, and requiring lower levels of education were:
- elementary clerical, sales and service workers
- intermediate clerical, sales and service workers.
Almost 70 per cent of those who worked one to seven hours per week were women, although 31 per cent of them wanted to work more hours (Commonwealth of Australia, 2006 Year Book Australia, pg 167).
Casual employment has also grown. Most part-time employees in 2004 were in fact casual employees. This is still the main type of work on offer. Positions in the industries and occupations that offer part-time jobs are often filled by young workers seeking a 'foot in the door' for job experience, part-time students, or women who are combining work and childcare.
The greatest numbers of casual workers in 2005 were in cafes, accommodation and restaurants, followed by agriculture, forestry and fishing (2006 Year Book Australia, pg 172).