The growth in “secondary jobs” might not be coming from where you would expect

Last week the ABS produced their first release of the new Labour Account data series (see commentary here) which, among other things, gives us an insight into the number, and industries, of “main” and “secondary” jobs. To be clear the ABS define these terms as:-

  • Labour Account main job
    • Labour Account main job is the main activity carried out by an employed person. In the Australian context, this is the job in which most hours are usually worked. An employed person can only have one main job.
  • Labour Account secondary job
    • Labour Account secondary job is any job held by an employed person, other than main job. A person can have multiple secondary jobs.

As we noted last week, secondary jobs growth over the past five years has been at a faster pace (+1.8% pa compound over the period) than for main jobs (+1.3% pa). In 2015-16 secondary jobs accounted for 5.8% of all jobs, up from 5.7% in 2010-11.

However, when we consider the industry breakdown of this data some surprises become evident.

When we consider those industries with the largest number of secondary jobs (Admin & Support Services, Health Care, Education & Training and Accommodation & Food Service which together make up 54% of all secondary jobs) we see a decline in the percentage of total jobs that are secondary in virtually all sectors.

  • Admin & Support Services fell from 17.3% of total sector jobs in 2010-11 to 16.% in 2015-16
  • Health Care edged slightly higher from 6.8% to 6.9%
  • Education & Training fell from 9.5% to 9.0%
  • Accommodation & Food Service fell from 7.3% to 7.1%

So in which industries have we seen the most growth in secondary jobs? Increases in the percentages of total jobs coming from secondary jobs have been spread across many industry sectors but those that warrant particular attention are:-

  • Wholesale Trade which has seen the percentage raise from 4.9% in 2010-11 to 5.6% in 2015-16
  • Rental, Hiring & Real Estate services which have seen a 29% increase in secondary jobs over the 5 years and the percentage rise from 4.9% to 6.1%
  • Professional Services have seen secondary jobs jump from 4.4% of total jobs to 4.8%; secondary jobs are up 32% over the 5 years
  • Retail Trade (which is the fifth biggest secondary job sector) has seen a 13.7% increase in secondary jobs since 2010-11 and their share of total jobs increase from 4.4% to 4.9%


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