The ACTU will release the results of a major study of workforce trends at the ‘Future of Work’ conference in Sydney today.

The study, carried out by ACCIRT (Australian Centre for Industrial Relations Research & Training),

raises important questions for all workers which will be discussed by a line-up of social and industry experts attending the conference.

“The main findings of the study show that Australia’s prosperity has increased as a result of a more open economy but a majority of workers are not sharing in the newly created wealth,” said ACTU Secretary Greg Combet.

Some of the trends highlighted in the report show:

  • Wage inequality has grown – only the top 40% of income earners had
    real wage growth throughout the 1990s
  • Little more than half the Australian workforce is now employed on a
    permanent basis
  • The net increase in jobs in the 1990s consisted almost entirely of casual
    and part-time jobs
  • Half of all employees work overtime and 60% of them are not paid for it
  • The standard model of work has disappeared – only 7% of employees work 9 to
  • The jobs with the largest number of employees in 2001 were sales assistants,
    secretaries and cleaners. Middle income jobs declined.
  • One million people are casual workers – by 2010, one in three workers will
    be casual
  • Half of casual workers, who are mostly female, have been in the same job for
    over a year
  • 51% of employees working more than 45 hours a week would prefer fewer
  • In NSW alone, workers compensation claims for stress have risen from 5% to
    19% of all claims in 6 years
  • 55% of large workplaces (500 or more employees) use labour hire
  • “Employers are reaping the benefits of greater job flexibility, but this flexibility isn’t being extended to workers who also need to plan and balance their lives. We need new, fairer standards to underpin casual, part-time and short term contract work,” Mr Combet said.

    The Future of Work report will be released at a news conference today at 12.45pm, Level 8, Merchant Court Hotel, Market St, Sydney 2000 by ACTU Secretary Greg Combet, ACTU President Sharan Burrow and ACIRRT Deputy Director John Buchanan.

    Read ACTU Secretary Greg Combet’s speech to the Future of Work conference.