This month’s chart investigates the Water industry, specifically focusing on gender diversification and the growth of part-time employment over the last 30 years.

The majority of people working in the Water industry have been and still are men. But things are changing. This reflects broader trends in the Australian labour market. This greater participation of women in the workplace can encourage positive work experiences and enhance productivity. A diverse workforce provides wide-ranging skills and offers new ideas and outlooks to individual businesses and the industry1. Furthermore, enhancing gender equality may assist with future shortages in the workforce caused by an ageing population2.


The chart shows the percentage of full-time and part-time employment by gender. As of 2017, males comprised 75 per cent of the water workforce, of which roughly 5 per cent are part-time.

Females comprise roughly 25 per cent of the water workforce, up from 10 per cent in 1984. Women make up more than a half of part-time workers, which equates to about 7 per cent of total employment in the industry.

Moving through time, from left to right, there has been a noticeable increase in both female participation in the water industry, and the rate of part-time employment across both genders. It’s notable that part-time work in the industry was essentially non-existent 30 years ago but makes up nearly 12 per cent of the workforce today.

According to the most recent census, women are slightly underrepresented at the managerial level in the water industry. However, women make up more than a third of professionals, particularly in the areas of human resources, public relations and marketing. Additionally, females make up 64 per cent of administrative roles. Only 5 per cent are labourers or machinery operators3.

1 Australian Water Association (2016) Cultural diversity key to strengthening water businesses.
2 de Vette, K (2016) Unlocking the Untapped Resource, the Business Case for Workforce Diversity. International Water Association (IWA).
3 Australian Bureau of Statistics (2017) 2016 Census – Employment, Income and Education. Australian Government.