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Union membership for private sector workers has hit a record low of 8.2%, following a national trend.

In 2022, 779,700 private sector employees were members of a union in their primary job, down 20% from 956,200 in 2016 according to a granular analysis of Australian Bureau of Statistics data for the The Australian Financial Review. Membership in Australia’s public sector is much higher at 33.7%, dropping just slightly over the same six-year period from 38.8%.

Across the board, only 12.5% of Australian employees are union members, a fall of 76,000 over a two-year period. (Read more:

Other findings include:
– Women are more likely to be union members than men.
– Australia’s biggest unions were for nurses, shop employees and educators.
– Around 94,000 private sector workers were union members, but not in their main job.

Some unions have called for a ‘bargaining fee’ to be paid by non-union members who enjoy the benefits of negotiated agreements without forking out for union memberships. (LinkedIn Article 16/01/23)

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