Changing Patterns of Work in Australia and Their Consequences

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Work patterns refer to which a manner in which a particular job is performed and in Australia have drastically changed over the past couple decades as a result of a variety of factors impacting on this issue. during the nineteen hundreds nearly one third of the labour force worked in primary industries but since then the proportion of primary industry workers have dwindled to almost four percent. As opportunities for employment have decreased in some occupations, they have significantly increased in others with now the demand great in tertiary Industries providing services such as finance, education, health, computing, hospitality, tourism and child care. This area of work in fact occupies 76 percent of the labour force. These changes in work patterns can be seen as the result of technological advancements impacting immensely on the way work is carried out, the casualisation and working conditions and hours in the labour force.

Technological change was one if not the most influential factor impacting on Australian work patterns and conditions and in essence started the so called “information revolution”.

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This revolution undoubtedly changed the workplace with increased productivity, efficiency, performance and at the same time has allowed for easy communication and the implementation of new skilled jobs. although this has allowed for the increased productivity and efficiency in the workplace it has most notably allowed for many to work at home. This essentially means that work is now no longer a destination that involves a chaotic commute and eight hours at the office. These advancements are improving businesses efficiency and assisting in their ability to compete in a global market whilst obscuring the divide between personal and professional lives. Surprising enough it is proven that at home workers are more productive and less likely to quit. One case study has highlighted this showing that from employees that worked from home in a 9-month period they were 13.5% more productive than at there office and another showing that 91% of at home workers believed they were more productive. These statistics accentuate the positive impact of at home workers, stemming from the change’s technology has had on the workplace.

In addition, another notable change in work patterns can be seen in the casualisation in the labour force with in the last 20 years with which has obtained a slight increase in casual employment. As a proportion of the labour force casual work has fluctuated between 19% and 21% over the past two decades. As of February 2018, 12.5 million people were engaged in paid work in Australia. of these 2.6 million or 20.6% were employed on a casual basis, this was of the same proportion of the workforce two decades earlier in 1998 where the percentage was 20.1%. some industries such as retail and hospitality are employing up to half of their labour force as casuals. The impact of this increase in casuals can be seen in usually the young who find it difficult in obtaining full time employment. Their working life often ends up dominated by periods of part time and casual work and this resulting in fewer opportunities for promotion and are usually the first retrenched when the business experiences financial difficulties.

Another significant change in Australian work patterns is demographic changes. The amount of women in the workplace has risen swiftly in the past couple decades with females now compromising 45% of the workforce and have a participation rate of 70 percent. Also, it is Only now are employers starting to recognise the savings in cost and advantages of family friendly workplace practices in order to motivate and retain skilled staff. Another factor is that the Australian workforce is aging. Due to this fact health and superannuation costs relating to age have and will continue to increase, requiring employees to plan and budget for these future expenses. As a consequence of this issue the federal government is recommending that workers consider extending their working life and retiring later rather than earlier with the average retiree age in Australia being 65. This furthermore emphasises and expresses the impact of Australia’s work patterns on factor such as demographic.

Australia’s work patterns are ever changing and have received drastic changes in the past two decades in areas such as casualisation, demographic and through technological advancement we have observed the dramatic impact on Australians work patterns through the introduction of at home workers. These changes will continue to take place and will change and evolve as the society around us progresses into the future. 

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