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How work has changed since the 1960s

Work in the 1960s revolved around a nine-to-five workday, men supported their wives and children at home and jobs usually involved physical labour.

Staff smoked on the job, even in the office, and there was no call for correct etiquette in the staff kitchen as tea ladies brought mid-morning refreshments around to workers.

Fast forward 50 years and social revolutions have placed women on a more equal standing in the workplace and technology has produced more sedentary and mental work.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics analysed the past five decades to find substantial growth in the number of people in the workforce, particularly women, who now return to jobs after having children.

``The traditional male breadwinner arrangements have declined since the 1960s and now both partners of couple families are likely to be employed.

``People have access to more paid leave entitlements and types of leave than those of 50 years ago. Personal carer's leave and maternity/paternity/adoption leave all form part of the family-friendly leave provisions which help parents juggle paid work and family responsibilities, the latest being the national Paid Parental Leave scheme which was introduced in January 2011.''

The 1960s marked the start of the women's liberation movement which brought wives and mothers out of the home and into part-time work, previously unheard of.

Australian Institute of Social Research executive director Professor John Spoehr said technology had transformed the way people worked.

"Where once hardly anyone used a computer in the workplace, the majority of people are engaging with computers or some form of information communication technology that's really transforming the way we communicate,'' he said.

"Hardly any letters are being opened (today) and emails are coming in to the inboxes by the dozens each day. The other big transformation is the rise of the vocational qualifications of workers in the workplace. We are better educated than we were half a century ago and that's led to higher incomes.''

He said it led to increased employment in the services sector, ranging from retail to health and community services.

It is also harder to obtain entry-level jobs straight from school today than in the 1960s, with completion of Year 12 and an additional qualification, whether vocational or from university, increasingly a prerequisite to get a job.

"On-the-job experience was important 50 years ago. Employers did invest in training of their employees and the whole apprenticeship system was more significant and more invested in by employers than it has been now,'' Prof Spoehr said.



Timeline of events which affected the workforce 1961 to 2011

1961: The Pill - oral contraceptives go on sale.

1966: Ban on married women in the public service is lifted.

1969: ACTU wins equal pay case for women.

1974: Four weeks annual leave becomes standard.

1977: First work-related child care centre since World War II opens.

1979: 12 months maternity leave introduced for women.

1984: Sex Discrimination Act comes into effect.

1986: Universal superannuation is provided for Australian workers.

1987: Female students outnumber male students at university for the first time.

1992: Unemployment peaks at 10.9 per cent

2009: Fair Work Act passed by Federal Parliament.

2011: National paid parental leave scheme introduced.


Source  : Career One Empoyment Page