QUALITY DECLARATION - SUMMARY
For information on the institutional environment of the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), including the legislative obligations of the ABS, financing and governance arrangements, and mechanisms for scrutiny of ABS operations, please see ABS Institutional Environment.
Statistics on public sector employees and cash wages and salaries presented in this publication are obtained from the annual Survey of Employment and Earnings (SEE). The SEE is an Australia-wide survey covering a sample of federal, state and local government agencies. Estimates of employee earnings for the public sector are a key input to the gross domestic product component of the Australian National Accounts, specifically compensation of employees estimates. Data are also used by a number of federal and state departments to monitor employment and earnings trends in the public sector and to assist in developing and reviewing earnings and labour market policies.
Estimates are available by state/territory, level of government and industry.
The reference period for the Survey of Employment and Earnings is the year ending 30 June. Employment is reported from providers' payroll records, for the last pay period ending on or before 30 June. Employees remuneration data are reported on a cash basis from payroll records for payments made during the financial year.
Survey estimates are released approximately seven months after the reference period.
Information for the Survey of Employment and Earnings is collected via mail questionnaires which are sent to approximately 2,000 public sector employers. The employer sample selected is stratified by state, industry division and employment size to ensure adequate state and industry representation. A minimum response rate of 95% is achieved for the survey as a whole and for each state and industry.
There are two principal sources of error in surveys, sampling error and non-sampling error. Non-sampling error arises from inaccuracies in collecting, recording and processing the data. Every effort is made to minimise non-sampling error by the careful design and testing of questionnaires, detailed checking of the reported data and quality control of processing.
Sampling error occurs when a sample or subset of the population is surveyed rather than the entire population. One measure of the likely difference resulting from not including all of the population in the survey is given by the standard error. There are about two chances in three that a sample estimate will differ by less than one standard error from the figure that would have been obtained if the whole population had been included in the survey.
The annual SEE series, based on information obtained from a sample survey of public sector employers on the ABS Business Register, was introduced for the 2007-08 financial year. Prior to 2007-08 the survey was undertaken on a quarterly basis. Data for the private sector were collected in the quarterly SEE up to March quarter 2002.
The quarterly survey, which was also based on the ABS Business Register, was introduced in September 1983. This survey replaced the payroll tax based Civilian Employees series which was discontinued in April 1980 and the collection by the Government of employment and wages.
The conceptual basis of employee earnings statistics, produced from the annual Survey of Employment and Earnings and presented in this publication, is based on the Australian conceptual framework for measures of employee remuneration, as described in Information Paper: Changes to ABS Measures of Employee Remuneration, 2006 (cat. no. 6313.0).
The measure of employee earnings presented for the annual series is 'cash wages and salaries', which is regular and irregular wages and salaries in cash, including amounts salary sacrificed. For the quarterly series the published measure was 'gross earnings'. Gross earnings included regular and irregular wages and salaries in cash, but excluded salary sacrificed amounts. The quarterly series also included severance, termination and redundancy payments (STRP), which are not included in the annual series.
In addition, payments for accrued leave paid on termination are defined as part of cash wages and salaries in the annual series. In the quarterly series such payments were included as a component of STRP.
Because of these differences, care should be taken when comparing estimates of employee earnings for the annual series with those published for the quarterly series.
The SEE uses Australian standard classifications to facilitate data comparability across statistical series. Industry data for 2007-08 onwards are classified according to the Australian and New Zealand Standard Industrial Classification (ANZSIC), 2006 edition (cat. no. 1292.0). Data for the quarterly series are classified according to the 1993 edition of ANZSIC.
In addition to the Survey of Employment and Earnings, the ABS conducts a number of other sample surveys of businesses which collect information about employee earnings. These include the Average Weekly Earnings survey, Survey of Employee Earnings and Hours and Labour Price Index Survey. It is important to note that these surveys have different purposes and that there are differences in the concepts, sample selection and estimation methodologies used.
Employment and Earnings, Public Sector, Australia (cat. no. 6248.0.55.002) contains Explanatory Notes, a Glossary and a Technical Note which provide further information about data sources, terminology and other technical aspects of the series.
Employment and Earnings, Public Sector, Australia (cat. no. 6248.0.55.002) is available from the ABS website.
If the information you require is not available as a standard product or service, then ABS Consultancy Services can help you with customised services to suit your needs. Inquiries should be made to the National Information and Referral Service on 1300 135 070.