In December 2010, 41% (250,400) of Victorians not in the labour force (and not on long-term unpaid leave), indicated they would like to return to or start work, according to figures released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).


The ABS found that the availability of flexible working arrangements was a key requirement for a majority (83%) of these Victorians, to ensure that work would fit in with family and social commitments.


Part-time work or job-sharing was the flexible working arrangement preferred by 49% of respondents. Additionally, 26% wanted flexible start and finish times, 24% would like to have more convenient access to the workplace (including working from home), and 18% said they needed appropriate child care facilities.


The most commonly-reported reasons for not seeking work (by those who had previously worked for pay and who would like to return to work) were personal ill health, disability, injury, pregnancy or to have children (49%). Others believed no work was available, were engaged in studies (12%), or were caring for others (11%).


Proportions of people wanting to work were similar for men (40%) and women (42%) who were not in the labour force and not on long-term unpaid leave. Overall, the highest proportion of people wanting to return to or start work was found in the 18 to 24 age group (67%). For women, however, it was the 35 to 44 age group (63%). The older age group (55 and over) was the least likely to want to return to or start work (15% for men and 16% for women).


People not in the labour force and not on long-term unpaid leave living in Melbourne also had similar proportions wanting to work (42%) compared to those in the rest of Victoria (39%).


Further details can be found in Workforce Participation and Workplace Flexibility, Victoria, Dec 2010 (cat. no. 6210.2).