We’re not working in retail anymore: Five highlights from the latest batch of census data

Australians are working fewer hours, have left retail jobs and are more educated than they used to be.

At least, these are some of the newest findings from last year’s census. A new batch of data has just been released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics, and the findings show some interesting information on who’s moving to the country – and who’s getting an education.

Even more interesting are the findings related to business: We’re working fewer hours; a quarter of the people in Western Australia questioned on the census had come from overseas; but, curiously, the number of unskilled workers is on the decline.

There’s a lot of information to get through. Here are five key points you can take away from the latest census data:

1. We’re working fewer hours

Although entrepreneurs may know very well the pains of working more than 60 or 70 hours a week, (and the results of our recent SmartCompany survey back that up), workers are putting in fewer hours than they used to.

According to the latest data, the number of Australians working 40 or more hours a week fell from 47.2% in 2006 to 45.3%.

2. Managers are on the way out

While employees may be putting in fewer hours, the workforce itself is changing too.

Women are in more important positions, taking up 35.4% of management jobs as opposed to 28% in 2011. And women also take up 53.8% of professional positions, up from 51% in 2001.

Management, on the other hand, is experiencing a change. The number of Australians describing themselves as a manager has dropped from 13.3% to 12.9%, while the proportion of “professionals” has risen from 18.7% to 21.3%.

The number of unskilled workers has also fallen to fewer than 10%, which is the lowest rate ever recorded.

3. Retail is no longer king

We often say that retail is the biggest employer in the country, but that’s no longer true. According to the census, “healthcare and social assistance” has taken the top spot with 1.17 million workers, the majority of them women. It gained 211,000 employees in the past five years.

4. We’re more educated than we used to be

We’re getting smarter (or just more educated)! The latest data shows 2.3 million Australians have a bachelor’s degree, up from 1.4 million 10 years ago. And the number of people with post-grad qualifications has increased from 473,000 in 2001 to 900,100.

For men, the most popular area of study was engineering, while women chose management and commerce fields of study.

5. Surprise, surprise – migration is on the increase

We’re a nation of migrants. The data shows 6.4% of the population was living overseas five years ago, up from 4.8% in 2001. They’re likely to be either recent migrants, or Australians who have returned after a stint overseas.

Western Australia has received the biggest influx of migrants: One-fifth of residents who changed addresses in the past five years come from overseas, up from 12% in 2001.

The biggest increase was in the WA town of Karratha, where 15% of people who had moved there came from overseas.



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