Department of Family and Community Services

Work and financial security

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There are a number of policy reasons to encourage workforce participation by women. Lower participation rates for women than men constitute a significant source of underutilised skills to improve productivity in the NSW economy.

Underemployment affects the ability of women to save for their retirement and children in workless households are at greater risk of poverty.1

The usual pattern of family employment in Australia today is unusual in comparison to many other countries.2 One parent (usually the man) works full-time; and the other (usually the woman) works part-time.

Data presented for the first time in this year’s Report highlights the different workplace arrangements mothers and fathers use to care for children, and how frequently they use them. Future reports will monitor this issue.

The family employment pattern contributes to the gender pay gap, which, as in last year’s Report is measured using hourly, weekly and annual indicators. However, occupational and industry workforce segregation patterns are also a major factor in explaining women’s relatively lower earnings. Segregation patterns are tracked, with greater attention to the trade and technical occupations where women are highly underrepresented.

1 OECD. (2008) Growing Unequal? Income Distribution and Poverty in OECD Countries. Paris: OECD.

2 OECD (2002) Chapter 2: Women at work: who are they and how are they faring? in Employment Outlook.