Survey shows diversity of job arrangements

Updated November 12 2009 - The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) conducts six-yearly surveys on the diversity of working and superannuation arrangements. The most recent survey, conducted between April and July 2007, shows that almost a fifth of Australian jobholders regarded their job as casual. Just over 40% of these 'self-identified casuals' were working a set number of days every week - and most were happy with their working patterns.

The percentage of 'traditional' workers - working for an employer, having some paid leave entitlement and not on a fixed-term contract - is down to just over half of all jobholders (55%). This compares with 22% owner managers and the (almost) 20% of of self-identified casuals.

Detailed findings

Examining the 4.8 million 'traditional' employees:
- 86% had full-time jobs
- 68% were satisfied with the number of hours in their usual working week
- 13% normally worked over 50 hours a week, with 30% of these saying they would prefer to work fewer hours
- 15% of the respondents with full-time jobs and 24% with part-time jobs said they would prefer to work more hours for more pay
- almost three quarters of respondents worked a five-day week
- 84% worked a set number of days per week, fortnight or month with three quarters of these preferring their current working pattern.

1.6 million people classified as self-identified casuals. These are employees (excluding owner managers of incorporated enterprises) without entitlements to both paid sick and paid holiday leave, and who identified themselves as being in a casual job:
- many were young
- 41% were aged under 25 years
- more than three quarters of those aged 15-19 years were full-time students
- more than 75% were working fewer than 35 hours a week (44% worked 15 hours or less a week)
- almost 40% indicated a preference to work more hours for more pay.

1.9 million jobholders working in their own business, i.e. owner managers
- 30% were working on a contract basis
- 54% were working a set number of days each week
- many owner managers were working long hours, with 18% normally working 50-60 hours per week, and another 18% working over 60 hours a week.


94% of 'traditional' employees aged 15-54 said their employer contributed to their superannuation. This compares with only 58% of self-identified casuals. At least part of the explanation of this difference may be due to the fact that employers are not obliged to contribute for employees aged under 18 working few hours. Many self-identified casuals come within this category.

36% of 'traditional' employees made personal contributions to their superannuation This compares with just 6% of self-identified casuals. ABS suggests that this may be due to their younger age, fewer hours worked and lower earnings. In fact, the proportion of people making personal superannuation contributions increased with age, from 7% of those aged 15-24 years to 39% of those aged 45-54 years.

For jobholders aged 15-54, two main reasons were given as to why some did not make personal contributions to superannuation: that they could not afford to (38%) or they were not interested or had not thought about it (18%).

Details are in the publication Employment Arrangements and Superannuation, Australia, April to July 2007, Australian Bureau of Statistics (Cat. No. 6361.0) available from ABS bookshops.