The nature of the Australian labour force has changed drastically in a very short time. In the late 1970s, eight in 10 workers had full-time jobs. Today, only 65 per cent of workers are considered to be in full-time work. Jobs are now increasingly casual (currently 20.1 per cent of the labour force according to the ABS), part-time, or subcontracted.
How did this happen? Rising unemployment, declining trade union strength and the automation of work are often blamed for the rapid decline in full-time jobs. But there’s more to the story.