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.
The biennial Survey of Employee Earnings and Hours (EEH) produces statistics on the composition and distribution of earnings of employees, the hours for which they are paid, and the methods used to set their pay. Information is collected about the characteristics of employers, such as industry and sector, and their employees, such as occupation, type of employee, and method of setting pay. The principle users of the survey are located within Commonwealth and State government agencies, employer associations, industrial tribunals and unions. The estimates represent a critical information source for the Fair Work Commission and the Department of Employment. The survey also serves as an important data source for other ABS statistics such as the Wage Price Index.
Estimates are available by state/territory, industry, sector, occupation, sex, rate of pay (adult, junior, apprentice or trainee and disability), age group, managerial status, employee type, employer size, permanent/fixed term contract/casual status, full-time/part-time status and methods of setting pay.
The reference period for the 2014 Survey of Employee Earnings and Hours is the last pay period ending on or before 16 May 2014.
EEH estimates are released approximately eight months after the reference period for the May 2014 edition.
Information for the EEH survey is collected via web form questionnaires from a sample of approximately 8,000 private and public sector employers selected from the ABS Business Register. The employer sample is stratified by state, sector, industry division and employment size to ensure adequate state, sector and industry representation. These employers select a sample of employees from their payroll(s) using instructions provided by the ABS. Approximately 55,000 employees are sampled. A target minimum response rate is 95% for the survey as a whole and 95% 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 direct follow up with providers where significant errors are detected.
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 EEH survey has been conducted, either annually or biennially, since 1975. The survey has been biennial since 1996. Ordinarily, the survey is conducted in respect of the last pay period ended on or before the third Friday in May of the reference year. The 2008 EEH survey, however, was conducted in respect of the last pay period ended on or before the third Friday in August.
Estimates of employee earnings produced from the EEH survey are based on the Australian conceptual framework for measures of employee remuneration. From 2006, the measure of employee earnings for estimates produced from the survey is regular wages and salaries in cash (including amounts salary sacrificed), that is, cash earnings. Prior to 2006, estimates of employee earnings excluded amounts salary sacrificed by employees. Estimates from the 2002 and 2004 surveys have also been reproduced on the new conceptual basis as an aid to analysis, and broad level estimates for these years were included in the electronic data release accompanying the May 2006 publication.
Data on how employees' pay was set in the reference period have been collected in the survey since 2000. The 2000 survey collected data on whether all or any part of employees' pay was set by an individual agreement, collective agreement, award, or a combination of these. From 2002, each survey cycle has collected information on whether the main part of employees' pay was set by an individual agreement, collective agreement or award.
The EEH Survey uses Australian standard classifications to facilitate data comparability across statistical series. Industry data from August 2008 onwards are classified according to the Australian and New Zealand Standard Industrial Classification, 2006 (cat. no. 1292.0). Data for earlier series are classified to the 1993 edition of ANZSIC. From May 2006 onwards, data on employee occupation are classified according to the Australian and New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations, 2006 (First Edition) (cat. no. 1220.0). Data for earlier series, issued since 1996, are classified to the Australian Standard Classification of Occupations, 1997 (Second Edition) (cat. no. 1220.0).
The ABS conducts a number of sample surveys of businesses which collect information about employee earnings, or other measures of employee remuneration, and estimates of numbers of employees, including the Survey of Average Weekly Earnings and the Labour Force Survey. Care should be taken when comparing estimates of average weekly earnings compiled from the EEH survey with those published biannually in Average Weekly Earnings, Australia (cat. no. 6302.0) because of differences in the earnings concepts being measured, methodological differences between the surveys and differences in the two samples used. Estimates of numbers of employees from the Survey of Employee Earnings and Hours are published for the first time in May 2010. Users are directed to Labour Force, Australia (cat. no. 6202.0) as the primary source of official ABS statistics of employment. Caution should be exercised when comparing estimates of numbers of employees from EEH with those published monthly in Labour Force, Australia (cat. no. 6202.0) as there are a number of differences in sample design, survey methodology and scope and coverage, between the two collections.
Employee Earnings and Hours, Australia, May 2014 (cat. no. 6306.0) contains Explanatory Notes, a Glossary and a Technical Note which provide further information about data sources, terminology and other technical aspects of the series.
Employee Earnings and Hours, Australia, May 2014 (cat. no. 6306.0) is available electronically from the ABS website and includes downloadable Excel data files.