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Part-time work is on the rise. How will this affect you?

RecruitmentNovember 16, 2016

Part-time work is on the rise. How will this affect you? (Last Updated On: November 16, 2016)

The Australian workforce is constantly changing and adapting, with Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull claiming that 300,000 new jobs were created in 2015 alone. However, of these new jobs, approximately 190,000 of these were part-time roles only.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) recently released their employment data findings and the result was unexpected to say the least. Part-time workers are on the rise, with more than a quarter of Australians (31.7%) now being employed on a part-time only basis.

To put this into perspective, 40 years ago only one in 10 workers were employed part-time, whereas today, approximately 3.8 million workers out of the total workforce of 11.9 million are now working part-time. Data from the ABS indicates that the typical hours of these workers is generally the equivalent of three days per work.

Why is the demand for part-time work increasing?

There are many reasons as to why employees may seek part-time work, including wishing for a more flexible work-life balance. The biggest trend that most adequately describes the rising demands of part-time work is the increasing rates of women in the workforce. It is currently approximated that 47% of women are working part-time whereas only 19% of men are in part-time employment.

Another reason that employees and job seekers are searching for part-time employment is the ageing population, with older workers preferring to work lesser hours towards the end of their careers. This is also related to the rising rate of education for 15 to 24 year olds, with more and more students wanting to fit work around their studies.

However, this does not explain why employers are now more willing to offer part-time work, and share the work amongst more people rather than have a workforce of only full-timers. Changes in the industry composition of our workforce, in particular healthcare, welfare services and hospitality, has helped push up the rate of part-time jobs now on offer.

At the same time, the shift from industrial to service related jobs in opening up more opportunities within the workforce. While the industrial industry in previous years typically had a very low rate of part-time employment, the rate of part-time jobs now being offered within this sector is slowly but consistently rising to keep up with demands.

What are the benefits of part-time employees?

Many employers may have pre-conceived notions of part-time workers, in particular that they may not be as committed to their job as their full-time counterparts are. However, this is not necessarily true. In fact, part-time employees may actually be more productive because they have less time to do everything they need to get done.

Small businesses, and increasingly larger companies, are beginning to make regular use of part-time employees. This is due in part to the larger degree of flexibility, such as employing part-time employees to cover busy periods. Many businesses employ part-timers to cover evening and weekend shifts that are not allocated to full-time employees.

As mentioned above, part-time workers also assist with spreading the workload within a business. Rather than one full-time employee struggling with an increased workload, many employers are choosing to utilise part-time workers to ensure their workforce runs as smoothly as possible.

Another large benefit of employing part-time workers is the increase seen in employee retention. Employees who have the option to move from full-time to part-time work are typically more likely to stay with a company, as more and more employees are rating lack of flexible working the main reason for leaving a role.

According to the ABS approximately 29% of job seekers in August 2016 were only looking for part-time work, and would not consider a full-time role. This data suggests that there is a strong element of worker preference in regards to part-time work.

As Australia’s leading workplace relations specialist, Employsure can assist with any questions you have in relation to employee types, entitlements and your obligations as an employer. Call us today on 1300 651 415 to speak to a specialist.

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