Sex segregation set to get worse says RBA chief economist Luci Ellis

Link to article

Australia’s workforce is becoming even more divided by gender. A greater proportion of women are studying traditionally ‘female’ or ‘caring’ fields such as education, health and hospitality, while a greater proportion of males are studying science and IT. The proportion of women studying economics is nearing all-time lows.

How does this relate to the HSC syllabus?

  • Job choice is potentially a structural factor which has led to the inequality of wages between males and females. (HSC Topic 3)
    • In Australia, females earn less than males on average. Several reasons have been cited, including preference for part time work, greater time spent off work due to maternity leave and workplace discrimination.
    • Another potential reason could be job choice. Different job choices would influence salary levels, and therefore influence average income.
  • Skill shortages typically occur in the fields which are dominated by a particular gender.
    • Due to structural factors that lead to a field being dominated by a particular gender, there is a lower potential supply for that type of labour. For example, there is generally a low supply of nurses because many males choose not to enter that field.
    • Skills shortage typically lead to lower productivity in those industries, as capacity constraints are reached.
    • On the other hand, the lower supply of labour means that the average real wage is higher.

Mining recovery reaches the coalface

Link to article

There are signs that mining in Australia is recovering.

How does this relate to the HSC syllabus?

  • In recent years, many economists have asserted that the mining boom is ‘over’. (HSC Topic 3)
    • The mining boom, primarily driven by China’s demand for commodities, has been the primary reason for Australia’s strong economic growth since 2000. Because Australia is a resource rich country, we have greatly benefited from the increase in exports, and therefore increase in economic growth. In fact, many attribute Australia’s lack of recession during the global financial crisis to China.
    • However, as China has begun to slow down, so has demand for commodities from Australia. Subsequently, Australia’s economic growth has declined and unemployment rate increased.
  • However, in recent months, the prices of key Australian commodities such as iron ore, thermal coal and coking coal have surged.
    • Iron ore prices have doubled over the past 12 months to $US92 a tonne.
    • As a result, fourth quarter GDP rebounded at a rate of 2.4 per cent while national income increased due to an increasing terms of trade.
    • We can also see an increase in the number of mining job ads and arrivals at mining airports.
    • If we do see that mining continues to recover, then it is possible that Australia’s economic growth will be elevated over the next year and that the ‘crash’ of the mining boom will be softer than first expected.

Gary Liang GARY LIANG
Gary Liang is the founder and director of Keystone Education. He attended Sydney Boys High and achieved an ATAR of 99.95 in 2012. He achieved 5 state ranks in Mathematics, Mathematics Ext 1, Mathematics Ext 2, Chemistry and Economics. He is now studying Economics and Science (Advanced Mathematics) at the UNSW Australia, where he is the recipient of six scholarships. He has experience at a top tier investment bank and a technology startup.

Comment