As of 2001, the Australian workforce numbered 9.42 million people. In 1997, the occupational pattern was as follows: services 73%, industry 22%, and agriculture 5%. The unemployment rate stood at 6.3% in 2002.
As in many other highly developed industrial nations, union membership has declined significantly: from around 53% of the workforce in 1980 to 25% as of 2000. The drop has resulted in a consolidation of labor unions: there were 300 unions in 1989, but only 188 in 1993. The traditionally de facto right to strike was legalized in 1994. The Federal Workplace Relations Action puts limits on strikes and unfair dismissal.
Although there is a standard minimum wage, 80% of workers have their pay determined by minimums that apply to their particular industry or profession. All of these wages are sufficient to support a family. The standard workweek is under 40 hours, generally from Monday through Friday. Nearly all Australian workers receive four weeks of annual vacation, many at rates of pay 17.5% above regular pay. There is no nationally mandated minimum age for employment, but education is compulsory which precludes children under 16 years old from full-time work.