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More physiotherapists and nurses make healthcare nation’s top employer

By Karen Keast | Last Updated: 20-11-2013

Census stats show healthcare is now the nation's top employer

More Australians than ever before are now working in the healthcare and social assistance sector, which has been crowned the largest primary employment industry in the nation.

Healthcare and social assistance now accounts for 11.6 per cent of the nation’s employment, toppling the retail trade and manufacturing sector which held the top spot in 2006 and now sits in second position, employing 10.5 per cent of Australians.

The healthcare and social assistance sector includes allied health professionals, such as physiotherapists and occupational therapists, along with nurses, dentists, doctors, child care workers and aged care providers.

The changing face of the nation’s employment has been revealed in Australian Bureau of Statistics' (ABS) data from the 2011
Census of Population and Housing

The data provides a new picture of Australia’s labour force which consisted of more than 10,658,458 people aged 15 and over on August 9, 2011 – up 1,050,471 working people from the 2006 Census.

Census data reveals growth in the healthcare sector also included Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, with more Indigenous Australians than ever before also reporting employment in healthcare and social assistance.

The sector now accounts for 14.6 per cent of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employment; up 3,854 people since the last Census and reveals a shift away from public administration.

The Census shows almost 60 per cent of the nation’s workers are employed full-time, and of those 63.9 per cent are male.

In the part-time workforce, 67.9 per cent of workers are female.

The figures also reveal a drop in the number of Australians reporting they worked 40 hours or more in the week before Census, from 47.2 per cent in 2006 to 45.3 per cent last year.
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