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More workers staying with current employer

Business workers

Employees are increasingly opting to stay in the same job rather than move in search of greener pastures, according to ABS figures, with longevity longer now than a decade ago.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics said that more than 10 million Australian employees remained in the same job over the year to February 2019.

That, according to Bjorn Jarvis, head of labour statistics at the ABS, equates to around eight in every 10 employees staying in the same job for at least 12 months.

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“The last decade has seen fewer people leaving or losing their jobs,” Mr Jarvis said.

The statistician said that this was particularly true for women.

Mr Jarvis said that just 15 per cent of women in the Australian workforce lost or left a job over the period. That was down from 19 per cent in 2008.

Even so, an even smaller proportion of men — 14 per cent — changed or lost their job over the year, a smaller fall on the 17 per cent who did so in 2008.

Concerns about underemployment

While employment stability looks to be increasing, so too is the number of people working less hours than they want or need.

The ABS found that 8.2 per cent of Australian workers are underemployed, up from the 7.6 per cent recorded a decade ago.

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“Over 1 million Australians were underemployed in 2019. That is, they wanted to work more hours and were available to work those extra hours,” Mr Jarvis said.

This is the spare capacity in the labour market to which the Reserve Bank referred when deciding to make consecutive cuts to interest rates in June and July.

“Forty-six per cent of underemployed workers in 2019 reported that they had been working insufficient hours for a year or longer, with the median duration of underemployment now at 39 weeks, up from 26 weeks back in 2009,” Mr Jarvis said.

Despite the rise over the past decade, Mr Jarvis said that underemployment actually fell marginally in the year to February, down by 26,000 people to 1.1 million.

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Adam Zuchetti

Adam Zuchetti

Adam Zuchetti is the editor of My Business, and has steered the publication’s editorial direction since early 2016. 

The two-time Publish Awards finalist has an extensive journalistic career across business, property and finance, including a four-year stint in the UK. Email Adam at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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