Name: Hugo Mahony
Teacher: Mr Langford
Due Date: 23rd August 2013
Essay – Business Changes in Australia
Over the past four decades, life as an Australian has changed significantly, not only socially but also economically. All of these changes are a direct result of the evolution of the business and the labour force over the forty-year period. Business within Australia has been altered by many different factors, such as gender in the workforce and changes of employment laws, but no factor has had such a significant impact more than the progression and advancement of technology within Australian businesses.
A significant factor that has changed the face of the Australian workforce over the past 40 years is the change and increased flexibility of working hours, and is a result of more leverage by workplaces, family commitments and extended trading hours. This change to the working lifestyle has decreased the number of people working full-time from 89% to only 69% over the past four decades. Studies have shown that currently one in four workers are employed part-time [Skwirk], and this is a significant change in the working culture of Australia. Much of the change to casual and part-time work is a result of the popularity shown by the young Australians (15 – 19 years of age) because it is a secure form of income, and offers flexible work hours whilst at school, university, or other commitments. An increase in part-time and casual work can have a negative effect on Australia’s economy for many different reasons. Young students and married women make up majority of the casual and part-time labour force because of their other commitments, however only work to earn enough income to pay for the basic necessities such as fees, bills etc. Little of their saved income is put back into the economy because they rarely earn enough to buy “wanted” items, things that are “wants” not “needs”.
The progressive change of work hours within Australia have also affected the people involved in the workforce. The rate of women working has constantly been high between 20 – 24 years of age; however overall, the number of women involved and participating in the Australian labour force has increased significantly over past decades. In 1978, 35% of the labour force consisted of women, and today that number has increased by over 10%. This increase in number would relate to not only the new rights and benefits for women in the workplace, but also the increased flexibility of casual and part-time work.
Forty years ago, women on average were married earlier at 21 years of age and had an average of 3.5 children [A.B.S.] and would be unable to work with family commitments. However, women are now aided by the government when they are working, and can receive up to 18 months maternal leave from their work, with a financial aid. This aid to mothers was a major improvement in the Australian business workforce because it allowed women to keep their jobs and continue to work and contribute to the Australian economy whilst pregnant and having families. It eliminated the decision for women to choose whether to work or have children. The introduction of “Maternity Leave” into the Australian workforce allowed the participation of two members of a family to be earning income to support the family, as well as aiding single mothers in their struggle to raise families alone.
“Maternity Leave” did not only benefit families within Australia upon introduction, but also the Australian economy. It allowed women to continue to stay in the workforce, and gave them the chance to spend the money earned on their family and putting back into the Australian economy. This was not occurring so regularly before its insertion into Australian business 40 years prior.
Possibly the most significant factor that has altered Australian business and the economy is the introduction and