EXTRACT from an article posted by Penny Vandenbroek
The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) has released the 2017 results from their survey of Participation, job search and mobility. This survey data provides information on job seekers and job switchers, as well as people who are not in the labour force; that is, those who are not working, nor looking for work. Within this group of people, there are various reasons as to why people do not need or want a job. The main reasons people are not in the labour force is the focus of this article.
Not in the labour force To be part of the labour force a person needs to be either employed (i.e. working, generally for some type of remuneration) or unemployed. To be classified as unemployed, a person has to be actively seeking work and available to start work within a defined period. Actively seeking work includes such things as applying for jobs or having an interview with a prospective employer. The steps taken are considered more substantial than a general declaration of looking for work. People who are not working and do not meet the definition of unemployed are considered to be outside of the labour force.
Main reason for not actively seeking work. Unless a person is permanently unable, or not intending, to work, the ABS asks whether they would like a job. If a person indicates they would like to work, or might like to work, they are asked about their availability to accept and commence a job. From a list of reasons, people are asked to select any reason that has impacted on their ability to look for work. The reasons include: study commitments; illness or injury (either short or long-term); care responsibilities (children, the elderly or infirm); and perceptions about the availability or suitability of potential work. From the selected reasons, people are then asked to select their main reason. It is this reason that is explored below. Note that people whose main reason was ‘they had a job to go to’ have been excluded from the calculations.
The main reason a person did not actively seek work varies by sex. Figure 1 provides selected main reasons why men and women were not in the labour force, at February 2017. The largest difference between men and women was childcare responsibilities, with 29% of women citing this as their main reason, compared with 4% of men. The second most common reason women were not actively seeking work was study commitments (22%). Women were also more likely than men to cite ‘Other family considerations’, as well as ‘Caring for an ill or elderly person or family member’. For men, the top reason was that they were studying (35%), followed by their own long-term health condition or disability (11%). Men were more than twice as likely as women to say they had moved house or were on holidays.
SOURCE: Vandenbroek, Penny. “Not working, nor looking for work, then what?” ParlInfo, 29 November, 2017.
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