Women make up almost half of the Australian workforce.
But even though they have made great strides over the years, there are still some areas where they face significant challenges.
This article will explore the latest women in the workplace statistics, covering everything from pay inequality to job satisfaction and giving you an overview of the current state of women in the Australian workplace.
The Most Important Women in the Workplace Statistics
- Women make up 47.4% of the workforce in Australia.
- Over a quarter of all employed persons in Australia are women working full time.
- Over 60% of women spend at least five hours on unpaid indoor housework.
- In Australia, women hold 14.6% of chair positions.
- Australia’s national gender pay gap is 13.8%.
- 88 per cent of all primary carer’s leaves are taken by women, while men account for 12%.
- As many as 23% of women have been sexually harassed at work.
- 98.2% of businesses have a formal policy or plan in place to prevent sex-based harassment and discrimination.
- More than 300,000 women drained their superannuation accounts to cope with Covid-19.
- The number of women enrolled in universities or other educational institutions has risen by just 1% since 2012.
What Percentage of Women Work in the Workplace?
1. Women make up 47.4% of the workforce in Australia.
The labour force participation rate for women is 61.4%, and 70.7% for men. This represents a slight decrease for males compared to February 2021, when the workforce participation rate was 70.9%. The percentage of women in the workforce remained the same, however.
The employment participation rate among persons aged 15 to 64 is 75.4% for women and 83.5 per cent for males, male vs female employment statistics in 2021 indicate. On the other hand, the 2019/2020 unemployment rate in Australia was similar for men and women—recorded at 4.8% for females and 4.9% for males.
2. Women’s employment in 2020 was lowest at the age of 30.
However, compared with earlier decades, females were more likely to continue working as they age. The employment-to-population ratio of 65-year-old women in 2020 stood at 35.6 per cent, which is over three times greater than that of similarly aged women in the past, i.e., less than 7% in 1980, and around 10% in 2000.
3. Over a quarter of all employed persons in Australia are women working full time.
According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, as of August 2021, 26.1% of all employed individuals in the country are women working in full-time positions. 21.3%, on the other hand, are working part-time.
Workforce statistics by gender show that women make up 67.6% of all part-time workers but only 38.0% of all full-time employees.
4. The Health Care & Social Assistance and Education & Training industries are the two biggest female-dominated industries in Australia.
Health Care & Social Assistance (with a 77.9% proportion of female employees) and Education & Training (71.6%) have been the two biggest and only female-dominated industries in the country for the last two decades as per statistics on gender composition of the workforce by industry.
On the other hand, the industries with the highest representation of men include Construction, where 87.3% of workers are male and around 12% are female and Mining (83% men vs 17% women).
5. Over 60% of women spend at least five hours a week on unpaid indoor housework.
According to a survey carried out between 14 – 23 May 2021, 62 per cent of women spent a minimum of five hours on unpaid indoor housework as opposed to just 35% of men.
Women also assumed more care responsibilities than men. The survey reveals that at least five hours were spent on:
- Caring for or supervision of children: 38% women vs 28% men
- Caring for elders: 16% of women versus 7% of men
- Cooking and baking: 64% vs 37%.
6. Part-time employees in Australia work an average of 17.7 hours a week.
Part-time employees (men and women) worked around 17.7 hours a week, 2019/2020 data from ABS reveals. Nevertheless, women in full-time employment worked less than men or 36.2 hours a week compared to 39.8 hours on average for male employees.
Women in Leadership Stats
7. In Australia, women hold 14.6% of chair positions.
As of August 2021, women occupy 14.6% of chair positions and 28.1% of executive director posts. Of all CEOs across the country, women make up 18.3% and 32.5% of key management personnel, the most recent occupation by gender statistics show.
8. Just 0.4% of boards and governing bodies have no male directors.
On the other hand, as many as 30.2% do not have female directors. Furthermore, women make up 33.5% of ASX 200 corporate directors and 41.7% of new appointments to ASX 200 boards.
9. Australia boasts a 53% female representation in the Senate.
Women make up 38% of the federal government in Australia. While women only take up 31% of the House of Representatives, they account for a majority in the Senate with a 53 per cent female representation, ahead of Canada and the United States.
Australia’s Gender Pay Gap
10. Australia’s national gender pay gap is 13.8%.
Going up from 13.4% in 2020, the national gender pay gap in the country currently stands at 13.8%. Workforce statistics by gender from May 2021 show that women’s average weekly ordinary full-time earnings was $1,591.20 as opposed to $1,846.50 for men, which translates to women making $255.30 less than men a week.
In the private sector, pay disparity was even greater with women making an average of $986.30 a week, whereas men earned $1487.90 per week.
11. Western Australia has the highest gender pay gap at 21.2%.
South Australia (7.4%), on the other hand, has the lowest gender pay gap In terms of industries, the gender pay gap was highest in Professional, Scientific and Technical Services (a whopping 24.4%), but lowest in Other Services (3.6%) and Electricity, Gas, Water and Waste Service (7.8%).
12. In 2020, the gender pay gap in STEM-related industries was $28,994.
(Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources)
The gender pay gap in STEM-related organisations, calculated at $28,994, is higher than in other industries, earning and workforce statistics by gender reveal.
On top of that, men with a STEM qualification are 1.8 times more likely to work in a STEM-qualified position than their female counterparts even though the share of women working in all STEM-qualified industries has gone up from 24% in 2016 to 28% in 2020.
General Statistics on Women in the Workplace
13. The majority of businesses in Australia have a flexible work arrangement policy or strategy.
As of 2021, 99.6% of organisations in Australia have employed flexible work strategies and arrangements with 39.9% offering a compressed working week and 69.9% providing flexible working hours. What’s more, 66.2% allow telecommuting and 38% permit purchased leave, i.e. workers can fund extra time off from their own salary.
Furthermore, a recent survey revealed that a third of Australian female employees claim that their organisations have increased accessibility to flexible working to help employees cope with the epidemic’s impact on their mental well-being, while 25% of them have set clear boundaries around work hours.
14. 88% of all primary carer’s leaves are taken by women, while men account for 12%.
Judging by 2020/21 statistics on women in the workplace, 77.6% of organisations have a policy or strategy in place to assist employees with family or caring obligations. Of these, 54.6% offer primary carer leave with an average of 11.9 weeks, while 50.2% provide an average of 1.9 weeks for secondary carer leave.
Several employers offer non-leave based measures, including:
- Employer subsidised childcare: 6.6%
- Breastfeeding facilities: 68.8%
- Referral services to support employees with family and/or caring responsibilities: 55%
- Parenting workshops targeting mothers: 6.9%
- Parenting workshops targeting fathers: 6.6%
- Return-to-work bonus: 5.8%
60% of employers provide access to paid parental leave on top of the government’s 18-week minimum wage leave, with over half of non-public sector organisations offering this scheme. What’s more, 81% of employers offer superannuation benefits to parents while on paid leave.
15. Only a fifth of Australian women believe their companies have a gender-diverse leadership team.
19% of female workers in the country think their company has a gender-diverse leadership team. Even though 13% report that their organisation regularly talks about the importance of gender diversity, only 5% believe that their company is making a genuine effort to achieve gender equality.
Women and Sexual Harassment in the Workplace
16. As many as 23% of women have been sexually harassed at work.
According to the 2018 report by the Human Rights Commission, more than one in five women have experienced sexual harassment in the workplace. This is compared to 16% of men.
Younger workers tend to experience more incidents of this type of behaviour with 20% of 15-17 year-olds being victims of sexual harassment at work.
17. Only 17% reported incidences of sexual harassment in the workplace.
Fewer than one in five workers filed a formal complaint or report regarding sexual harassment at work. Of the ones that did so, 19% were labeled as troublemakers, 18% were ignored by colleagues and 17% quit their positions.
18. The majority of women in Australia (57%) have experienced non-inclusive behaviour at work.
Based on the latest data from Deloitte, the most common forms of microaggressions in the workplace include having one’s opinion questioned (11%) and being addressed in a disrespectful or unprofessional manner (10%). 9% said they were belittled by senior colleagues, whereas 8% of women felt they were given fewer opportunities to speak in meetings than their male colleagues.
19. 98.2% of businesses have a formal policy or plan in place to prevent sex-based harassment and discrimination.
Further women in the workplace statistics from the WGEA show that 98.1% of companies include a complaint procedure for sex-based discrimination and harassment prevention, while managers in 87.1% of businesses receive training on sex-based harassment and prejudice prevention.
Women in the Workplace Statistics and the COVID 19 Pandemic
20. More than 300,000 women drained their superannuation accounts to cope with Covid-19.
Since April 2020, a total of $13 billion has been withdrawn by more than 1.7 million women from their retirement savings. Of these, more than 300,000 women emptied their accounts, which puts them at greater risk of poverty after retirement.
21. 47% of Australian women rate their job satisfaction as positive.
This number represents a significant decline from the 69% of women in the country who rated their job satisfaction as good or extremely good before the pandemic started.
22. 57% of women worked under uncertain conditions even before Covid-10.
Women are more inclined to work in part-time positions, as well as casual and temporary jobs than males. Their employment comes with less predictable hours and fewer perks such as sick leave, long service leave, or superannuation.
Insecure employment is most common in sectors where the majority of employees are women. When looking at the gender composition of the workforce by industry, stats reveal that 945,000 women work as casuals in four major industries: Retail, Accommodation & Food Services, Education & Training, and Health Care & Social Assistance.
23. 49% of Australian women now feel less optimistic about their professional prospects than they did before the epidemic.
Additionally, 23% of women are thinking of quitting their jobs, citing a rise in workload (38%) and caregiving duties (27%) as the most common reasons.
On top of these stats, 38% of women stated that their career isn’t progressing as fast as they would like. When asked why, female employees mentioned caregiving and/or household responsibilities (30%) and mental health issues (27%) as the main reasons.
Women and Educational Attainment
24. The number of women enrolled in universities or other educational institutions has risen by just 1% since 2012.
Women represented 57.9% of all domestic students in Australian universities in 2012. Today they account for 58.9%, showing a minor increase in the past ten years.
When it comes to educational attainment, stats show that:
- 92.5 per cent of all women in the 20-24 age group have a year 12 or higher certificate, compared to 87.5 per cent of men in the same age demographic.
- Among all 25-29-year-old women, 48.3 per cent have a bachelor’s degree or higher. The same is true for 36.1% of men in a similar age group.
25. 36% of women are enrolled in university STEM fields of education.
(Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources)
This translates to over 81,000 women who studied undergraduate and graduate STEM education areas at Australian institutions. More specifically, women account for 22% of enrolments and 24% of completions of total STEM VET and university enrolments.
The women in the workplace statistics outlined above paint a clear picture: women are still fighting for equality in the workplace.
However, as more and more organisations are implementing gender equality policies and strategies, it is becoming more likely that women will become part of a more inclusive and equitable future.
1. What is the most common job for a woman in Australia?
According to the ABS in 2018-19, 76.3% of clerical and administrative jobs were held by women, making this the most popular occupation for female workers in the country. On the other end of the spectrum, almost all (88.8%) machinery operators and drivers were men.
2. What percentage of the workforce is female 2021 in the United States?
Women made up 53.2% of the workforce in the US in 2021, a considerable decrease from the peak of 57.5% reached back in 2000.
3. What percentage of the workforce is female 2020 in the UK?
Female representation in the UK workforce is high at 72.7%, recorded between December 2019 and February 2020, the latest women in the workplace statistics show.