Attractions of mining boom fail to send us west
FAR from making Australia more dynamic, the mining boom seems to have pushed us back into our shells.
The second wave of results from the 2011 census released on Tuesday shows that in the five years in which the boom was its strongest Australians became less likely to move house and less likely to work long hours, although they were keener to study.
An extraordinary quarter of a million of the West Australians questioned on census night had arrived from outside the boom state in the preceding five years. But the census finds the overwhelming majority came from overseas. Only 22,000 came from New South Wales, 19,500 from Victoria and 19,500 from Queensland.
Nationwide, 84.1 per cent of those surveyed slept in the same house on census night as they had one year earlier, up from 81.3 per cent in 2001 and the highest proportion in decades. A long-term high of 58.3 per cent slept in the same house they had five years earlier.
The proportion of workers who put in 40 or more hours a week fell from 47.2 per cent in 2006 to 45.3 per cent. Women became more important as managers, accounting for a record 35.4 per cent of all management positions in 2011, up from just 28 per cent in 2001. Women also increasingly dominated professional positions, accounting for 53.8 per cent of all professionals, up from 51 per cent a decade earlier.
Some 21 per cent of Australian workers now call themselves professionals, about one in every five. When taken together with managers the proportion is one in three.
But management is slowly shrinking as an occupation, counterbalanced by a rise in the description ''professional''. Managers have slipped from 13.3 to 12.9 per cent of the Australian workforce in the past 10 years. Professionals have climbed from 18.7 to 21.3 per cent.
The proportion of unskilled workers employed in jobs including cleaning, labouring, process work and food preparation has fallen below one in 10 - the lowest on record.
Retailing is no longer Australia's biggest employer. In the latest census it cedes the crown to ''healthcare and social assistance'', which employs health and welfare-support workers, carers and aides, hospitality workers, protective service workers and sports and personal services workers. The sector now accounts for 1.17 million workers (79 per cent of them women) after putting on an extra 211,500 in the past five years. By contrast, mining remains tiny, directly employing only 176,500 workers in 2011, up from 107,000.
Australians are more educated than ever. More than 2.3 million now hold at least a bachelor's degree, up from 1.4 million in 2001. The number with postgraduate qualifications has doubled from 473,000 in 2001 to 900,100.
Women increased their dominance in higher education, climbing from 53.8 per cent of all degree holders in 2001 to 55.9 per cent in 2011.
Engineering is by far the most popular field of study for men, with 1.4 million enrolled in 2011. Management and commerce was the next most popular (700,806 enrolments), followed by architecture and building (505,352).
Women are most likely to study management and commerce, with 1.04 million enrolments, followed by health (677,693), society and culture (671,036) and education (537,607).
The Bureau of Statistics says 152,800 Melbourne residents had higher degrees in 2011, up from 57,800 in 2001. One in every 20 Melbourne residents has a higher degree, and almost one in four has a bachelor's degree.