This page belongs to: STEM Equity Monitor
Australia’s Labour Force Survey reports how many women and men work in occupations each year.
Compare the number of women and men working in STEM occupations, non-STEM occupations and health occupations over different years.
The number of women in STEM-qualified occupations increased by around 42,000 in 2021, a 20% increase. In comparison the number of men increased by around 11,000, a 1% increase.
The proportion of women in STEM-qualified occupations increased by 2 percentage points, growing from 13% in 2020 to 15% in 2021. In comparison, women have made up approximately 50% of people in non-STEM occupations and 76% of health occupations since 2009.
From 2018 to 2021, the number of women in STEM-qualified occupations rose at a faster rate than men. In 2020, women’s participation in STEM-qualified occupations fell slightly, whilst men’s increased by 3%. However, in 2021, women’s participation in STEM-qualified occupations increased again. As a result, from 2016 to 2021, women in STEM-qualified occupations rose from approximately 165,000 to approximately 247,000 – about a 50% increase. In contrast, the number of men in STEM-qualified occupations increased by about 13% during this time.
From 2009 to 2021, the proportion of women in both university STEM-qualified occupations and mixed STEM-qualified occupations increased from 19% to 24%.
Occupations where most of the workforce has VET STEM qualifications have shown extremely low gender balance since 2009. Women comprised only 3% of this group in 2021, the same proportion as in 2019. This was the highest proportion of women in these occupations between 2009 and 2021.
About the data
We determined the average number of people employed in each occupation per year by summing total employed for each of the four reporting periods in a year, and dividing by 4, before rounding the final answer.
This survey reports occupations using the Australian and New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations (ANZSCO) at a 4-digit level. We defined STEM-qualified occupations by identifying occupations in which the majority of people reported a qualification in a STEM field of education in the 2016 Census of Population and Housing. We further classified occupations by the source of the majority of participants’ qualifications—university, VET or a combination of both (mixed).
View the ABS Labour Force, Australia methodology.
Read more about our methodology and this data.