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Voting with their feet: family friendliness and parent employment in Australian industries, 1981-2001.


Most Australian industries have instigated some family-friendly provisions, but these vary. In some industries, the span of ordinary work hours has also changed, requiring work on evenings, weekends and holidays. Have these changes affected where parents work? Charting 1981 to 2001 Census data, we found that fathers showed an overall decline as a proportion of employed men, with little difference among industries. Mothers also declined as a proportion of employed women, but with divergent industry trends. Retail showed a steep (7 per cent) drop in mothers, following the deregulation of shopping hours. By contrast, the industry with the most family-friendly conditions at the start of the study period (public service) increased its share of mothers by 6 percent. Minimal family-friendly provisions and a wide span of hours may make it harder to recruit or retain mothers and could be a disincentive for mothers' employment.

In February of 2005, the voters of Western Australia rejected a referendum that would have extended trading hours in the Perth metropolitan area. Campaigning against the referendum, unions and community groups argued that Sunday and evening trading would disrupt the family life of retail employees. This debate defined when employees could be required to work (their span of ordinary work hours) as part of family-friendliness alongside part-time jobs, childcare, flexible hours, maternity leave, and time off to care for sick children.

Nationally, the past two decades have encompassed dramatic demographic and labour market change. Efforts to reform industrial relations have redoubled, as have demands for work to become more family friendly. But changes have been uneven. Not all industries have been equally affected by the shift to around-the-clock work times or have introduced the same family-friendly conditions, and it is unclear what impacts these changes may have had on parent work choices.

In this paper we briefly describe the countervailing influences on Australian parents' employment over the two decades 1981-2001. We use Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) Census data to describe employed parents as a proportion of all employed people (i.e., mothers as a proportion of employed females and fathers as a proportion of employed males), and then across seven industry groupings (i.e., within each industry's workforce, mothers as a proportion of female employees and fathers as a proportion of male employees) (1). Parents are defined as those who had at least one dependent child aged 15 years or younger in their household. Our definition includes single and couple parents. For the industry-specific trends, we ask if the proportion of employed mothers (or fathers) relative to employed females (or males) in their workforce has changed over time, and if the same trends are observed for both mothers and fathers. We argue that any shifts observed could reflect changes in the relative family friendliness of the industry. Examining this possibility, we chart parent employment in retail and in the public service (two industries showing distinctive trends) against milestones in trading hours and other family-friendly conditions (defined as work conditions that can benefit workers with family responsibilities, DEWRSB 1998, p. 5). The milestones are drawn from previous research, government documents, industry and union websites, and permit a more in-depth analysis of working conditions, work times and changes in where parents are employed.

Workforce Participation of parents

Attention to the family friendliness of paid work has been stimulated by mothers' increased participation in the paid workforce. Fifty years ago, Australian mothers who could afford to do so withdrew from paid work upon the birth of their first child. They returned--if at all--only when the youngest child had left home. From the 1960s onwards, that pattern shifted, and it became more more common for mothers to withdraw briefly, returning to work relatively soon after a birth. Now, most mothers in couple families are back in paid work by the time a child goes to school (ABS 2000). Indeed, in the last 20 years, women's employment has increased steadily from 50 per cent to 64 per cent, and the trend is especially marked among mothers with dependent children, with employment rising from 46 per cent to 63 per cent (Cass 2002, p. 145).

The labour force is ageing, and people in their prime reproductive years (2545) have become a smaller percentage of the workforce than previously. Older workers are less likely to have dependent children living with them, and historically low fertility (ABS 2005) means that younger workers are also less likely to bear children. Thus, despite the influx of mothers into paid employment, between 1981 and 2001 there was an overall reduction in the proportion of parents in the paid workforce. And indeed, Figure 1 shows a consistent proportional decline in working parents from 1981 from 2001. There has been an 8 per cent decline in fathers as a proportion of male workers, and a 2 per cent decline in mothers as a proportion of female workers, even though relatively more mothers were returning to work.


Industry Changes in Parent Employment

With this overall decline in parental share of the paid workforce, do all industries show the same proportional drop in mothers and fathers, or are there declines in some industries and increases in others? In this section we examine changes in the proportion of parents employed within seven industry groupings (see endnotes for more detail) from 1981 to 2001.

This period provides an ideal context to examine industry-specific changes in parent employment in Australia. These two decades witnessed historic moves in the determination of pay and working conditions: from centrally arbitrated awards to collective and individual bargaining. Casual jobs increased from 19 per cent in 1988 to 27 per cent in 1998 (ABS 1999), union membership declined (Hancock 2002, p. 23), and industrial relations reforms targeted labour flexibility rather than family friendliness. Some reforms to increase flexibility served both functions. For example, the availability of part-time jobs increased. Sixteen per cent of workers were employed part-time in 1978, compared with 27 per cent in 2000 (Industrial Relations Victoria 2005, p. 12). Part-time or reduced-hour work is also a key strategy used by parents to help them combine work with family care (OECD 2002, p. 48).

In contrast to most OECD countries, however, there were no universally legislated family-friendly conditions, with the exception of 12 months unpaid parental leave. This was granted to Commonwealth public servants in 1973 and to all permanent employees through a test case in 1979, and was set in legislation and extended to all non-casual workers through the Industrial Relations Reform Act 1993. Family-friendly provisions are included in legislation, awards, collective agreements within industries, workplace-specific enterprise-bargaining agreements, and individual agreements. In many workplaces, they are not formalised through the workplace relations system but are instead informal arrangements between employers and employees. These differences in implementation have led to variability across industries and between workplaces (Earle 2002; Whitehouse 2001). Although most Australian workplaces introduced at least some family-friendly conditions (Whitehouse 2001), they were most widely implemented in the federal and state public sector (ACIRRT 2002; Earle 2002) and in private-sector industries with skilled employees. In these private sector industries, family-friendly conditions were most often provided if they were considered cost effective, for example if there was a greater investment in training and the cost of replacing employees was high (Gray and Tudball 2002, p. 31). It is not known whether this uneven implementation of family-friendly conditions altered industry patterns as to where parents worked.

Similarly, the shift to a 24-hour, 7-day-a-week economy affected some industries more than others. Work times reflect the operational requirements of the industry, and in Australia the period 1981 to 2001 involved unprecedented deregulation to meet changing demands for services and a desire to increase productivity (Campbell and Brosnan 1999). A series of State and federal reforms were implemented in the late 1980s and early 1990s to deliver more flexibility in when employees worked, and a widened span of work hours was a key feature. Twelve-hour shifts were introduced in primary production and in manufacturing. In retail, manufacturing and hospitality, ordinary work hours were redefined to include early morning, late evening or weekend work with reduced or no penalty rates (Campbell and Brosnan 1999, p. 380). Retail employees were perhaps the most affected by the changes in working time, as this period witnessed the removal of restrictions on shop trading hours, and rostering to cover the extended hours became unavoidable.

Work times are an important consideration for parents who must fit their work around children's school and care. Studies in the US and UK indicate that, while some parents choose evening, night or weekend work times to help with child care, a sizable majority of parents find that these nonstandard schedules interfere with family routines, meals and time together (La Valle et al. 2002; Presser 1995, 2003). Thus the expansion of the ordinary span of hours to include evenings, nights or weekends could affect the relative family friendliness of retail jobs. It is not known, however, if changes in work times were accompanied by changes in the proportion of parents employed by the industry.

Our first question is therefore whether, within each industry, the proportion of employed parents has changed between 1981 and 2001 and, if so, whether the same pattern is observed for mothers and for fathers. We expect to see some changes in the proportion of parents within industries, linked to disparities between industries in both the availability of family-friendly conditions and pressures to expand work hours beyond the standard 9-to-5 weekday. We compare percentages (not numbers) of mothers and fathers (calculated as the proportion of mothers to females and fathers to males in the industry workforce) to assess compositional change within each industry's workforce (not growth or shrinkage in that industry or in the wider economy). We also expect stronger industry shifts for mothers compared with fathers. Although fathers are expressing an increasing desire to be active parents, the continuing gender divisions in responsibility for children and domestic work may motivate mothers to move industry, seeking family-friendly work if they can (Goward et al. 2005).

Table 1 presents census data on mothers as a proportion of employed females within seven industry groupings. The right hand column presents the percentage change from 1981 to 2001. The overall trend of a 2 per cent decline in mothers as a proportion of employed females is presented at the bottom of the table, and if there were no industry specific factors at play we would expect this 2 per cent decline to be uniform across all industries. Instead, clear industry variations are evident. Goods-producing industries (comprising agriculture, forestry, fishing and mining, manufacturing, electricity, gas and water supply and construction--see appendix) and the retail and hospitality industries show a marked relative loss of mothers (7 to 8 per cent decline). The proportion of mothers in the public service and, to a lesser extent, in finance, property and business services show an opposite trend, with a strong rise (6 and 4 per cent increase respectively).

Changes in where mothers worked over the two decades are further illustrated by comparing across industries in Figure 2. Notably, over this 20 year period, retail and hospitality became the industries with the lowest relative employment of mothers, although they were in the middle ranks at the beginning of the 1980s. In contrast, public service jobs in government administration and defence rose from being the lowest relative employer of mothers to join the middle ranks. Although declining, goods-producing industries (which include manufacturing and primary production) continued to employ relatively high proportions of mothers, as did the health, education and community service industries.


Table 2 and Figure 3, which present comparable information for fathers, indicate less industry shift in fathers' employment. Virtually all industries showed a steady decline that reflects the underlying 8 per cent drop of fathers in the employed male workforce overall (shown in Table 3 as the overall change). The only support for an industry specific trend was for fathers working in retail, where the downward trend was stronger (a loss of 13 per cent). Most other industries hovered around the average decline. There was no evidence of an increase in the proportion of fathers in government administration and defence, or in the finance, property and business services, although there was a slightly mitigated decline in the proportion of fathers working in the government administration and defence (2 per cent less than the average decline). Similarly, industry rankings of fathers as a proportion of male employment remained fairly constant over the 20 year time frame (see Figure 3).


Public Service and Retail Industry Milestones 1981-2001

The census analysis shows that, over the two decades, Australian industries changed in the proportion of mothers (and to a lesser extent fathers) that they employed. The decline was especially notable for retail, whereas the public service (government administration and defence) went against the overall trend, with a rising proportion of mothers among the employed females in its workforce. Do these contrasting industry patterns correspond to changes in work hours or family-friendly conditions? We assess this possibility by charting historical milestones in family-friendly conditions and hours against the proportion of mothers and fathers employed.

Public service. The Australian public service has the most family-friendly provisions compared to all other industries, and some of these were in place before 1981 (Earle 2002). Although it imposed a 'marriage bar' prohibiting the employment of married women until 1966, the public service was the first to introduce paid maternity leave (1973), providing 12 weeks paid leave to employees in federal government agencies. Flexible start and stop times were considered by the Public Service Board in 1972, and were formally introduced in 1977 (Public Service Board 1977). Many public servants could therefore choose when they worked within a specified bandwidth of hours, adjusting their start and stop times to accommodate family commitments.

Explicit strategies to improve women's employment opportunities were included in the Public Service Reform Act 1984, further extended in 1993, and a series of initiatives to improve family friendliness was introduced subsequently (DEIR 1998, p. 4). Extending existing family-friendly conditions such as paid maternity leave and flexible start and stop times, parental leave without pay was granted in 1985, giving public servants who took leave for family reasons the right to return to their previous positions. In 1986, the option of permanent part-time work was introduced. Following a test case in 1990, which extended access to maternity, paternity and adoption leave, the Australian Public Service developed further reentry provisions for employees who had resigned to have children, with the aim of improving retention (Australian Public Service Commission 1998).

For most of the two decades of our study, the public service was at the forefront of family-friendly work (Earle 2002). The 1994-95 Family Leave Test Case (ACTU 1997) followed by the Workplace Relations Act 1996 (WRA) may have narrowed the gap between the public service and other industries. The first part of the test case decision, delivered in 1994, entitled workers to use their own sick leave to care for sick family members. In 1995, the second part of the decision combined sick leave and bereavement leave into a single personal and carer's leave provision and set an annual limit of five days paid carer's leave that could be accumulated from one year to the next (Queensland University of Technology 1999). These entitlements were incorporated into the Workplace Relations Act 1996 and extended to include additional unpaid carer's leave to be used when other leave entitlements had been exhausted.

The stated objective of the Workplace Relations Act 1996 was to assist employees to balance their work responsibilities by developing mutually beneficial work practices with employers (DEWRSB 1998, p. 3). Since 1996 some family-friendly provisions were mandated throughout all industry awards, with unpaid parental and personal carer's leave as a minimum. There is evidence of a general convergence in the availability of other provisions across industries since 1996. A survey of Australian industry enterprise agreements in 2001 (the end of our study period), indicates that although the public service was still more likely to provide paid maternity leave, job sharing and the opportunity to work from home, other industries including community services and retail were equally or more likely to contain provisions for part-time employment and paid family or carers leave beyond those provided under legislation (ACIRRT 2002, pp. 9-19).

Figure 4 plots the percentage of mothers and fathers in the public service (government administration and defence personnel) against these milestones. The upward trend in mothers as a proportion of the female public service workforce is apparent from 1981 to 1996. Since 1996 the increase slowed, possibly reflecting the more widespread adoption of family-friendly provisions across other industries or a slow-down in improvements in the public service. Strikingly, the proportion of fathers within the public service appears to be unaffected by these developments.


Retail. Retail is one of the largest industry employers of men and women, so that any change in the family friendliness of retail jobs has widespread impacts on employed parents (ABS 1997; Earle 2002). Unlike the public service, the retail industry lacks paid maternity leave. Like all other Australian employees, retail workers have had access to unpaid maternity leave since 1979, but there is little evidence of industry-specific family-friendly provisions until the 1990s. In the years just prior to the 1994 Parental Leave Test Case a range of family-friendly provisions were introduced into retail awards and agreements, including extended unpaid maternity leave, limited paid family and carer's leave, paid prenatal leave (usually as part of paid sick leave), and the right to return to work part-time after maternity leave (personal communication from Therese Bryant, Shop, Distributive and Allied Employees Association). In 1996, following the ACTU family leave test case, basic parental and family or carers leave were available across industries. Since then, retail industry provisions such as part-time employment, work hour averaging and banking, and flexible work hours have become relatively common (ACIRRT 2002, pp.14-19). Unlike the flexitime provisions of many public service agreements, however, much of the work hour flexibility contained in retail agreements allows employers rather than employees to vary when they start or stop work. In 2001, 35 per cent of Federal retail agreements allowed for employer discretion to change hours of work, compared to 8 per cent of public service agreements (ACIRRT 2002, p. 19).

Retail work times changed dramatically during the period 1981-2001. Prior to the 1970s, State and federal laws permitted stores to open 5.5 days per week (Monday to Friday 9am-5pm plus Saturday morning until midday). This pattern changed as one State after another instigated variations in shopping hours (NCA 2002). In 1972, Victoria and NSW initiated one night per week late night trading (until 9pm). By the late 1980s Saturday afternoon trading was introduced and the ordinary span of employee work hours was redefined to include early mornings and late evenings. In some stores retail employees received the same rate of pay whether they started work at 7am or 9am, and whether they they finished work at 5pm or at 10pm on weekdays. Work shifts could be rostered anywhere within these hours. In the 1990s, states began to introduce Sunday trading, and a general phasing-in of deregulated trading hours began. Victoria and NSW continued to be the innovators, with Tasmania, South Australia, Queensland and Western Australia introducing more limited changes, and doing so later than the more populous Eastern states (NCA 2002). By mid-1990s, weekend work had become part of the job, with most shops open seven days a week. Thus by the end of the two decades studied, normal retail opening days rose from 5.5 days per week to 7 days a week in NSW, ACT and Victoria (the most populous states), and operating hours for shops such as supermarkets became around-the-clock.

Figure 5 presents milestones in shop hours and retail work conditions against the proportion of mothers and fathers employed in the retail industry. Mothers' employment remained steady from 1981 to 1986, but from 1986 to 1996 there was a decline in the percentage of mothers corresponding to the deregulation of shop hours in most Australian states. A slight flattening in the decline appears from 1996 to 2001, corresponding to the introduction of family-friendly conditions during the early 1990s and the widespread incorporation of minimum, family-friendly entitlements in 1996. Interestingly, fathers' share of the male retail workforce began to drop even before work hour deregulation and our chart shows no evidence of responsiveness in fathers' employment to any of the family-friendly milestones or to the widened span of ordinary work hours.


Perhaps retail changed its hiring practices over the twenty year period, targeting younger workers including those who were studying. These data do not allow us to separate employees by age. We were able to consider the category 'child', defined as an employee aged 15-25 who is living with their parents. Among retail workers there was a slight rise in the percentage of male and female 'children' over the 1981-2001 period, but this would not be enough to account for the drop in either mothers' or fathers' employment. Twenty-five percent of male retail employees were 'children' under this definition in 1981, and the percentage rose to 29 in 2001. Similarly 27 per cent of female retail employees were 'children' in 1981, rising to 29 per cent in 2001.


Census data show that over the period from 1981 to 2001 there were distinct shifts in the proportion of mothers employed within Australian industries. Goods production lost its place as the industry with the highest concentration of mothers, and retail moved from having the third highest to the lowest percentage of mothers among its female workers. In contrast to all other industries, the relative share of mothers rose in public sector administration and defence jobs, and to a lesser extent in finance, property and business services. For fathers, any industry shifts were muted, although there was also a stronger decline in the percentage of fathers working in retail compared to other industries. Behind the industry specific trends lay an average decline in the proportion of employed mothers and fathers, linked to workforce ageing and declining fertility. The average decline for mothers was relatively slight, however, due to countervailing trends for increased maternal workforce participation.

We argue that the shifts in employment within Australian industry reflect changes in the relative family-friendliness of some industries, and our analysis of retail and public service conditions from 1981-2001 supports this view. Family-friendly milestones included the introduction of family leave, re-entry provisions and permanent part-time work. The evolution of 24/7 services was a notable feature of the two decades, reflecting new demands for services on weekends and evenings and global pressures on productivity. We also charted changes in the work hours parents may be expected to cover, especially when they involved weekends, evenings and nights. These times could affect parents' availability and time with children, and make it harder to organise childcare, affecting the family friendliness of the industry.

Employment trends for mothers in the public service and in retail followed industry milestones in hours and family-friendly provisions. In the case of the public service, the introduction of parental leave, permanent part-time work end additional support for return to work were accompanied by an increase in mothers' (but not fathers') share of employment. The upward trend was steady over most of the two decade period, although there was some suggestion of a slowing after 1996, when the Workplace Relations Act 1996 mandated minimum family-friendly conditions across all industries. In retail, the appeal of part-time employment appears to have been offset by the widened span of ordinary work hours to include early morning, evening and weekend work. The clear drop in the proportion of mothers working in retail after shop trading hours were deregulated suggests that this acted as an important disincentive. On the other hand, the decline flattened somewhat after 1991, perhaps reflecting the introduction of family-friendly provisions such as extended unpaid maternity leave and the opportunity to return to work part-time after maternity leave.

Our aim was to study trends across industry in parent employment and map these against historical data on availability of family-friendly conditions. We did not track individuals and directly assess individual parent's work choices, so that these results must be interpreted as reflecting changes in employed parents as a group, over time and across industries, rather than as describing the movement of individuals across industries. Because we consider proportions rather than numbers of employed parents, our data reflect changes in workforce composition (that is, changes in mothers as a proportion of female employeesand changes fathers as a proportion of male employees) within each industry, not industry expansion or contraction in numbers of employees.

A key question is whether parents move into industries that offer family-friendly conditions or whether industries employing many parents implement family-friendly conditions to serve parents' needs. Over the period studied, the need for family-friendly provisions was widely recognised, as evidenced by test cases and the Workplace Relations Act 1996, which might suggest that conditions are an industry response to their employees. Three aspects of our findings contradict this interpretation, indicating instead that conditions influence where parents work. First, industries that were the most important employers of parents relative to nonparents at the start of the study period did not have, nor did they subsequently introduce, the most family-friendly conditions. In fact the data show that industries with the most family-friendly conditions at the start of the period (public service) increased their relative share of parents in their workforce over time, and those industries that failed to match these provisions showed a relative loss over time.

Second, economic theories of value would predict that family-friendly conditions drive parent employment, and that although employers may respond to their workforce need, this response is selective (Gray and Tudball 2002, p. 31). This framework would indicate that the business case sets the parameters for family-friendly provisions. Costs and profitability drive employer decisions to implement family-friendly conditions, and these are linked to employee skills and replacement costs. Family-friendly conditions therefore become available in industries with highly skilled and educated employees and, in the case of the public service, where the bottom line is not the only consideration. This availability of provisions in some industries but not others also contours employed parents' choices and options. Parents who place a high value on family-friendly work practices will seek employers who offer these arrangements. This is reflected in the greater movement of mothers compared to fathers into industries with more family-friendly conditions and out of industries with family-unfriendly conditions such as evening, holiday or weekend work hours. Finally, the deregulation of shop trading hours was introduced to meet business needs and customer demand. After their introduction, the proportion of parents working in retail declined. It is not plausible that shop hour deregulation was a response to rises or falls in the employment of parents in retail; rather, it was a business decision that subsequently altered the conditions of work in that sector, and so affected where parents worked.

A key limitation was the information available on family-friendly milestones within industries. The dismantling of the award system and move to workplace-negotiated agreements was a feature of the period we studied, which meant that within industries workplaces could offer different conditions and pay. We were unable to access all agreements for our analysis of either the retail industry or the public service. Furthermore, state and federal awards and agreements varied, as did the extent and the date of shopping hour deregulation. Thus, our capacity to specify when conditions were introduced or when shopping hours changed was limited and some of the milestones were not applicable to all people employed in each industry. Secondly, we could not stratify employed mothers or fathers by the ages or number of children in the household. Our data cover all employed parents with children up to the age of 15 years in their household, and it is possible that parents with infants or preschool aged children may prefer different working times or provisions compared to parents with older, school aged children, leading to lifecourse-specific trends. Finally, we were not able to separate public service employees from defence force personnel. In the Australian Defence Forces, noncivilian employees do not have the same work conditions as civilian employees (whose conditions are comparable to the Australian Public Service). This probably led to some imprecision in the trends for the public service against the milestones on family-friendliness.

There was little evidence that fathers shifted industries over the two decades. Only mothers' employment appeared to be responsive to the conditions offered within industries. An industry shift in mothers' but not fathers' employment suggests that either the task of juggling paid work and children's care remained very much women's work or that fathers could not access family-friendly conditions at work. In line with other analyses, the data indicate little if any gender convergence in reconciling work with children's care (Goward et al 2005).

Despite its comparative family friendliness, the public service was not the largest employer (proportionally) of mothers. Goods producing (mostly manufacturing and primary production) and the health and community service industries (mostly nursing and teaching) still showed the highest concentration of mothers in their female workforce. Historically, both industries have been major employers of women. Although the proportion of mothers declined in the goods producing workforce, very little change was observed for health and community services, perhaps because many of these employees are also covered by State or Federal public service awards and agreements, with similar family-friendly provisions.

We documented increasing availability of family-friendly provisions across Australian industry, especially since 1996. But mandated family-friendly entitlements are still among the most limited in the OECD, and there are likely to be contradictory pressures bearing on their availability in the future. Beyond the guaranteed period of unpaid maternity leave, most other family-friendly provisions are negotiable and so their availability is dependent upon employees, business and workplaces. Potentially these negotiations are vulnerable to economic and operational pressures on business and the bargaining power of employees.

The findings could help inform government, union and business policy. On the one hand, the ageing population places urgent pressures on governments and business to maximise the participation of all working age adults, including parents, in the paid workforce. On the other, global competition places increasing pressures on business to reduce costs. Our data suggest that any erosion of family-friendly provisions, including widening the span of ordinary work hours, could act as disincentives for parent employment and make it harder for some industries to recruit or retain parents. Policies that broaden access to family-friendly conditions for all parents, especially the less skilled and educated, could be an important step in ensuring that they can sustain workforce participation.

The authors are grateful to Erica Fisher, Mark Clements, Bernadette Loughrey and Elena Nobleza for their advice and help with this manuscript. They gratefully acknowledge the salary support provided by the Australian National Health and Medical Research Council for LS (NHMRC grant number 224215) and SM (NHMRC grant number 224200). BW's contribution was supported by an Australian National University Summer Scholarship. Lyndall Strazdins is the corresponding author.


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(1) For the 1981, 1986, and 1991 censuses, Industry was classified using the Australian Standard Industrial Classification (ASIC) (ABS Cat. 1201.0) (466 classes). For the 1996 and 2001 Censuses, Industry (INDP) was classified according to the Australian and New Zealand Standard Industrial Classification (ANZSIC) (ABS Catalogue 1292.0) (465 classes). In most cases (close to 70per cent), there was one-to-one matching of 1991 and 1996 data; where the classifications were not identical, we reclassified using recommendations from ABS publications on Australian and New Zealand Industrial Classification (ANZSIC) Concordance, ASIC to ANZSIC and Australian and New Zealand Industrial Classification (ANZSIC) Concordance, ANZSIC to ASIC. Australian and New Zealand Industrial Classification (ANZSIC) Chapter 2.

We then simplified industry groupings following the schema used by Wooden (2002). Goods producing services comprised agriculture, forestry, fishing and mining, manufacturing, electricity, gas and water supply and construction. Goods related services encompassed transport, storage, and wholesale trade industries. Retail encompassed food, household, personal and motor vehicle retailing. Finance, property and business services included the communication, finance, insurance, property and business service industries.

Personal and hospitality services combined cultural and recreational industries with accommodation, cafe and restaurant industries, as well as personal and other services. Government administration and defence comprised public service administration and defence force personnel. Health, education, community and other services combined education, health and community services industries and non-classifiable economic units.

Lyndall Strazdins *, Dorothy H. Broom, Shannon Meyerkort * and Belinda Warren **

* National Centre for Epidemiology and Population Health, Australian National University (

** University of the Sunshine Coast
Table 1: Mothers as a Percentage of Employed Females by Industry,

Census year Census year % Change

Industry 1981 1986 1991 1996 2001 1981-2001

Goods Producing Services 42 41 37 36 34 -8
Goods Related Services 32 33 32 30 31 -1
Retail Trade 33 33 29 27 26 -7
Finance, Property & 26 29 30 31 30 4
Business Services
Government 27 29 31 33 33 6
& Defence Health,
Education, Community
Other 36 39 39 38 36 0
Personal & Hospitality 34 34 32 28 27 -7
All industries 33 34 33 32 31 -2

Source: Australian census data for 1981, 1986, 1991, 1996 and 2001.

Note. Mothers defined as employed females with at least one child 0-15
in household. Within industry percentages refer to mothers as a
proportion of employed females within that industry.

Industry classification from Wooden (2002).

Table 2: Fathers as a Percentage of Employed Males by Industry,

Census year Census year % Change

Industry 1981 1986 1991 1996 2001 1981-2001

Goods Producing
Services 41 40 36 35 34 -7
Goods Related Services 41 40 37 35 34 -7
Retail Trade 38 34 30 27 25 -13
Finance, Property &
Business Services 40 40 37 35 33 -7
& Defence 39 38 36 35 33 -6
Health, Education,
Services, Other 42 42 39 36 34 -8
Personal & Hospitality
Services 36 34 30 28 27 -9
All industries 40 38 35 33 32 -8

Source: Australian census data for 1981, 1986, 1991, 1996 and 2001.

Note. Fathers defined as employed males with at least one child 0-15
in household. Within industry percentages refer to fathers as a
proportion of employed males within that industry.
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Author:Warren, Belinda
Publication:Australian Bulletin of Labour
Geographic Code:8AUST
Date:Dec 1, 2006
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