Media and Communications Manager
The industries forecast to generate the most new jobs are also the most gender segregated, putting growth and innovation at risk.
Employment data projects that Health Care, Scientific, Technical, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) and Education industries will represent the biggest growth areas for employment in Australia in the coming years.
There is a concern however, that these same industries are also the most gender segregated – having a workforce dominated by one gender – and will exacerbate a pattern that has persisted over decades.
Research has shown that diversity improves innovation and organisational performance. If Australia is to realise its full potential in these growth industries the stubborn dynamic of gender segregation will need to be addressed.
“Women quite rightly are being encouraged to pursue careers requiring scientific, technical, engineering and mathematics skills, but we should also be encouraging men to pursue careers in female dominated industries such as health care, to help meet the needs of our future population,” Libby Lyons, Director of the Workplace Gender Equality Agency, says.
“If we are serious about being an innovation nation, we need to start improving gender diversity in industries that will be growth areas in the years to come.”
The impact a divided labour market has on gender equality and women’s economic equality will be examined in an upcoming Senate Inquiry in March. The inquiry will look at the nature and extent of occupational segregation in Australian workplaces, how it affects the gender pay gap and what remedies can be implemented.
In the 2015-16 WGEA dataset, women make up 80.2% of employees in the Health Care and Social Assistance industry – a figure that has increased over the last two decades.
➢ Listen to WGEA Director Libby Lyons on Radio National Breakfast discussing gender segregation in Australia's workforce.
➢ Read Andrew’s story: from the battlefields of Afghanistan to a small practice in Birdsville, Queensland, nursing has offered him a ‘rich and fulfilling life.'
➢ Download our gender segregation in the Australian workforce factsheet for more detailed insights.