Childcare the largest barrier to female workforce participation in Australia

Employers can offer the flexibility to work part-time hours as a means to increase female workforce participation.
By: | November 8, 2022

Childcare responsibilities is still the largest barrier to female workforce participation in Australia, according to data by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS). 

Bjorn Jarvis, head of labour statistics at the ABS, said, “In 2020-21, there were 250,000 women who wanted a job or to work more hours but were unavailable, of whom 61,600 (25%) indicated that caring for children was the main barrier.”

“It was highest for women with children under 15, with more than half (56%) reporting this as their main barrier to work or working more hours. While female participation in the labour force is at record high levels, this data shows that childcare remains the key for increasing the opportunities for women to participate in the labour market”, he highlighted. 

Among men, the main barrier to entering the labour force was long-term sickness or disability, at 35%. 

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Both women and men would be attracted to join the workforce for different reasons. Findings revealed that for women, the most important incentive to work or work more hours was the ability to work part-time hours, at 49%, while 43% of men were drawn to finding a job that matched their skills and experience.