The great escape: How young workers led charge of 1.3m Aussies to quit their job

About 1.3 million Australians took advantage of a huge number of jobs available and quit their roles and moved to another employer in the year to February, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

Jun 30, 2023, updated Jun 30, 2023
More than a million workers quit and moved to another job in the year to February

More than a million workers quit and moved to another job in the year to February

The booming healthcare sector was the employer of choice. According to the ABS, about 13 per cent of people who quit their jobs were into health care of social assistance, followed by construction (10 per cent) and professional, scientific and technical services.

The jobs data released also showed that despite historically low unemployment there were still 1.8 million Australians sitting on the sidelines wanting to work and about a million who could start a new job in the next week.

But the decision to quit their job was generally to work less. About a third took up a role with more hours and 37 per cent went to a job with the same hours.

There were also 792,000 part-time workers who were under-employed.

Younger workers were the ones who took the most advantage of the situation with about 15 per cent of people aged 15 to 24 years changing jobs. This was followed by 11.2 per cent of 25 to 44-year-olds, and 5.9 per cent of 45 to 64-year-olds.

Prior to the last two years, job mobility has generally been trending down for younger workers.

People were more likely to change their industry, at 58 per cent, than their occupation, which was 44 per cent, in the year ending in February 2023.

“Over the year, 37 per cent of people changed to a job with the same usual hours, while 33 per cent changed to a job with more hours, and only 30 per cent changed to a job with fewer hours.

But while the ABS said there were 1.8 million who wanted to work, it also revealed that about half did not look for work. There were also 356,000 who had a job to return to.

The main reasons they did not look for work were because they were attending an education institution (165,000 people), caring for children (130,000 people), or discouraged job seekers (87,000 people).



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