Tim Stones swapped selling gin for making it in 2017 when the travel for his former job began to take a toll. He is now the head distiller for Hickson House, a boutique distillery that opened in the Rocks in Sydney late last year.
“It was a logical progression for me to move from providing the delights of gin over the bar, to being a global brand ambassador for a major gin company, to actually … making it,” he said. “It’s been a lot of fun.”
Head distiller at Hickson House Distilling Tim Stones.Credit:Steven Siewert
Gin distilling is one of many industries that has blossomed since the last census, with the number of people employed in spirit manufacturing growing by 240 per cent.
On Wednesday, the Australian Bureau of Statistics is publishing the second tranche of data from the 2021 census. It takes a deep dive into the working lives of Australians – from what they earn and the sort of unpaid work they do to where they moved during the COVID-19 pandemic. It shows some industries have grown exponentially since 2016, while others have dwindled.
Australian Statistician David Gruen said the data provided a “fascinating” snapshot of education and employment in Australia.
Healthy growth in health care, IT
The four biggest industries combined – healthcare, retail, construction and education – employed more than 40 per cent of the country’s workforce last year, the data showed.
The healthcare and social assistance sector ballooned to more than 1.7 million workers, including more than a quarter of a million registered nurses.
The number of aged and disability carers grew by 72 per cent to about 227,500, occupational therapists by 57 per cent to nearly 19,500 and speech pathologists by 49 per cent to just over 13,600.
Information technology jobs also grew. IT support and test engineers increased by 54 per cent to more than 15,600 and software and app programmers by 47 per cent to nearly 117,000.
In comparison, the broader workforce grew by 13 per cent between 2016 and 2021.
But some jobs trends had not changed, Gruen said. Sales assistants, registered nurses and general clerks had been the top occupations for the past three censuses.
One of the occupations with the fewest workers was video and other media rental hiring services, with just 160 people employed in that industry on census night.
The popularity of some qualifications has skyrocketed since 2016, according to the ABS.
The fastest-growing qualification was security science – the study of preventing unauthorised access to programs or data and securing information – which grew by 460 per cent to just over 5800 qualified people in 2021.
Gruen said the number of people gaining qualifications in southern Asian languages had more than doubled, making it the third-fastest growing field of study.
“This is in line with Punjabi emerging as one of the top five languages used at home, and the continuing growth in Indian and Nepalese communities throughout Australia,” he said.
The most common fields of study were business, teaching, nursing and building.
A 38-hour work week still the norm
Fewer Australians reported working 40 hours or more a week, and the median hours worked remained at 38 hours. But hours worked varied by occupation, Gruen said.
“Interestingly, school principals worked as many hours as surgeons, with each recording a median of 50 hours per week,” he said.
According to the census, more than 7 million people worked full-time while another 4 million worked part-time. Two in three part-time workers were women, and two in three full-time workers were men.
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