Department of Family and Community Services

4.1 Occupational segregation

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The percentage of women and men in major occupational groups

Current position

Clerical and administrative, community and personal services, and sales jobs are mainly undertaken by female workers.

Managers; technical and trades jobs; machinery operators and drivers; and labourers have a mainly male workforce.

Gender gap

  • Women make up only 9 percent of machinery operators and drivers, 14 percent of technical and tradespeople and 35 percent of both managers and labourers in NSW.
  • Professional occupations is the major occupational group split most evenly with 52 percent women to 48 percent men.
The direction of
change over time

In the period 1996-97 to 2012-13 some occupational groups became more integrated and others became more segregated (Table 4.6).

Women increased their share of the occupational group ‘managers’ from 29 to 35 percent over the 16-year period, making it a more gender-balanced occupational group.

Each of the gender unbalanced groups, community and personal services; machinery operators; and labourers became more segregated with fewer men in the first of these groups, and fewer women in the second two.

More women entered the sales and technicians and trades occupational groups, as well as the already gender-balanced group, professionals.

There was no change between 2011-12 (last year’s data) and 2012-13.

Discussion

Professionals is the only major occupational group that is currently split evenly between women and men.

Australia’s workforce, like that in other countries, is gender segregated. Occupational gender segregation persists across most countries, irrespective of other social and economic differences.1 However, difficulties in comparative measurement make it hard to rank countries in terms of the degree of segregation.

Indicator 4.1 is occupational segregation at the major occupational group level within the Australian and New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations (ANZSCO). Note that the degree of integration or segregation visible depends on the level of disaggregation selected – within each occupational group is a range of subgroups with their own patterns of segregation.

Year collected: Four quarters to February 2013 and previous years.
Data source: ABS Labour Force, Australia, Detailed, Quarterly. Cat no. 6291.0.55.003. SuperTABLE E08. More information is available at www.abs.gov.au

Table 4.6 Women’s share of major occupational groups, 1996-97 to 2012-13

Occupational group 

1996-97 % 

2012-13 % 

Machinery operators and drivers 

13

9

Technicians and tradespeople 

13

14

Managers 

29

35

Labourers 

35

35

Professionals 

48

52

Sales workers 

61

63

Community and personal service workers 

66

68

Clerical and administrative workers 

76

76

Total workforce 

43

46

Note: The occupational classification follows 1-digit ANZSCO major groups. The industries are listed in order of lowest to highest women’s representation in 2012-13, using a four-quarter average. Population: All employed people 15 years or older.
Source: ABS Labour Force, Australia, Detailed, Quarterly. Cat no. 6291.0.55.003.