Participation Rates; age and sex impacts across Queensland

Some months ago we considered the impacts of changes in age and sex demographics within the labour force and the impact this was having on Participation Rates across Queensland. You can read the original post here which outlines the methodology used to split out the Propensity and Demographic Impacts within changes in participation, and the follow-up post here which considered the impacts for both male and female cohorts.

With the Conus/CBC Staff Selection Employment Trend data for May 2019 coming out last week we have revisited the issue with the latest data. The table below shows the impacts of both propensity and demographic impacts across both sex cohorts since Oct 1998.

Looking at the broader areas there are a few comments that can be made.


  • Participation is up (2.9 ppts) but only because of the increase in female propensity to join the labour force (4.6 ppts)
  • Shifts in age demographics have deducted from the participation rate (1.9 ppts) while male propensity is virtually unchanged (up 0.2 ppts)


  • Participation is up (0.9 ppts) but by less than 1/3 of the increase in Australia
  • All the increase is due to increased female propensity (4.3 ppts)
  • The impact of shifting age demographics has been greater than at the Australia level (2.3 ppts versus 1.9 ppts) and male propensity has fallen (1.2 ppts)

Greater Brisbane

  • Participation is up (1.4 ppts) but is still less than 1/2 the increase across Australia
  • The pattern of shifts have been similar to those across Queensland except that the negative impact of age demographic shifts has been much less (1.4 ppts versus 2.3 ppts) and is more similar to the change at the national level (1.9 ppts)

Rest of Queensland

  • Participation has barely changed (up 0.1 ppts)
  • The negative impact of age demographic shifts have been far greater than in Queensland generally (3.2 ppts versus 2.3 ppts) and more than twice the impact felt in Greater Brisbane (1.4 ppts)
  • The impact of increased female propensity (4.5 ppts) has been greater than in Greater Brisbane (3.9 ppts)

Looking at the individual regions provides a wealth of stories; here are just a select few.

Brisbane – North

  • A strong increase in participation (9.9 ppts) has been driven by the fact that age demographic shifts have added (2.2 ppts), rather than deducted, from participation
  • Female propensity has also had a very strongly positive impact (7.5 ppts)
  • The area would appear to be acting as a attractor of people (particularly females) keen to be in the labour force – a youth attractor

Gold Coast

  • A strong increase in participation (9.5 ppts) driven by the fact that age shifts have had almost no effect (down 0.1 ppts) rather than the strongly negative impact seen elsewhere – anothger youth attractor
  • Both male and female have seen increases in propensity, with the female increase particularly strong (7.1 ppts)


  • The largest decline in participation across the State (7.9 ppts) caused by a big fall in male propensity (4.8 ppts)
  • The age demographic negative impacts have also been much larger here than elsewhere (4.6 ppts) and female propensity increases (1.5 ppts) are also less than usual

Consideration of individual regions and varying time-frames requires further analysis. Anyone interested in pursuing further information is invited to contact Pete at to discuss.

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