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2003-03: A Note on Educational Attainment and Labour Force Participation in Australia

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Authors: Steven Kennedy and David Hedley

This note examines trends in labour force participation for people with different levels of educational attainment. The note offers insights into the labour market behaviour of people with different skill attributes and discusses the possible implications of a more highly educated workforce. Using census data, we find that while the labour force participation rates of prime age males have fallen for all educational attainment groups between 1981 and 2001, the fall for those males with no post-school qualifications was particularly dramatic. In contrast, female participation rose for all educational attainment categories and for most age groups, though at a slower rate in the 1990s than in the 1980s.