Work/life balance drives flexible working market growth upwards

The local jobs market has seen increasing growth in part-time employment over the past five years, with a trend emerging away from full-time employment towards more flexible working hours.

Part-time employment has grown at a rate of 2.8 percent per annum, compared with 1.5 percent growth in full-time employment, according to a report by business analysts at IBISWorld.

IBISWorld general manager Karen Dobie credits this shift to factors including an increase in independent workers, as well as employers allowing workers to balance their home and work life.

“Many savvy Australian employers are using work/life balance to attract and retain staff, boost morale and increase productivity. Whether it’s working from home, starting late to avoid peak hour traffic, taking time out for children’s school events, or a combination of home and office-based work – you name it – companies are doing it,” Dobie said.

This growth has been most prominent in service based industries with 5.5 percent of retail workers now employed part-time.

The aging workforce could also be a contributing factor, with semi-retired employees opting to work part-time or consult as they desire flexibility in working hours for leisure and family activities.

“By offering flexible working practices, companies enable and encourage staff to study and retrain, eventually upskilling their workforce without having to train new blood,” Dobie said.

The number of part-time and independent workers is expected to continue to increase in subsequent years.

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