Employment and Earnings (Survey of)

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    Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS)

    The annual Survey of Employment and Earnings (SEE) is designed to measure the number of wage and salary earners and their gross earnings for the public sector. Estimates of earnings and employment numbers are available for State by Level of Government and by Industry.

    Prior to the 2007-08 financial year, the survey was conducted on a quarterly basis. Until the March 2002 quarter, the SEE collected data from both the private and public sectors. Since then, the survey has covered public sector employment only.

    The primary purpose of the SEE is to provide estimates of employee earnings for the public sector as a key input into the gross domestic product component of the Australian National Accounts, specifically compensation of employee estimates. Data are also used by federal and state departments and other analysts to monitor employment and earnings trends in the public sector and to assist in developing and reviewing earnings and labour market policies.


      All public sector employees are represented in the survey, except:
      • members of the Australian permanent defence forces;
      • employees of overseas embassies, consulates, etc.;
      • employees based outside Australia;
      • employees on workers' compensation who are not paid through the payroll; and
      • directors or office holders of public sector enterprises who are not paid a salary.


    Conceptual framework
    For earnings data, the revised Australian conceptual framework for measures of employee remuneration applies from the 2007-08 reference period. (See Information paper: 6313.0). Prior to 2007-08 the earnings data excludes salary sacrificed amounts.

    Main outputs
    For public sector only:

    • Employees: 1 - Number of employees by state/territory and level of government; 2 - by industry division
    • Earnings: 1 - Cash wages and salaries (including salary sacrifice) by state/territory and level of government; 2 - by industry division
    • Employees and Earning by Institutional sector is also available but not published

    • Estimates are published at the state level.
    • They are not available for any smaller geographical area.

    • Estimates are published at the sector level (private/public) prior to March quarter 2002. From that time only public sector data are available. Public sector is split into level of government (Commonwealth, State and Local). These are further broken down into institutional sub-sector i.e 'public trading enterprises', 'financial enterprises' and 'general government'. The institutional sector breakdown is not published but is available as a special data service.

    • Estimates are published at the ANZSIC division level (1 digit).

    5.3.1 State
    State/Territory Name

    New South Wales
    South Australia
    Western Australia
    Northern Territory
    Australian Capital Territory

    5.3.2 Sector/Level of government (LOG)

    Commonwealth Government
    State Government
    Local Government

    5.3.3 NASISCA

    General Government
    Public Trading Enterprises
    Public Financial Enterprises

    5.3.4 Industry

    ANZSIC DIVISION Industry Name

    A Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing
    B Mining
    C Manufacturing
    D Electricity, Gas, Water and Waste Services
    E Construction
    F Wholesale Trade
    G Retail Trade
    H Accommodation and Food Services
    I Transport, Postal and Warehousing
    J Information Media and Telecommunications
    K Finance and Insurance Services
    L Rental, Hiring and Real Estate Services
    M Professional, Scientific and Technical Services
    N Administrative and Support Services
    O Public Administration and Safety
    P Education and Training
    Q Health Care and Social Assistance
    R Arts and Recreation Services
    S Other Services

    Other concepts (summary)
    Not applicable

    New South Wales
    South Australia
    Western Australia
    Northern Territory

    Comments and/or Other Regions


      Frequency comments
      Not applicable

      A sample survey of employers based on the existing ABS Business Register was introduced in September 1983. This new 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.

      • 1983: Survey of Employment and Earnings commenced.
      • 1989: Seasonally adjusted estimates introduced.
      • 1992: First data collected electronically.
      • 1993: Trend estimates introduced.
      • 1995: Publication suspended after March quarter, but collection continued.
      • 1997: Survey sample was redesigned on Australia New Zealand Standard Industry Code (ANZSIC), 1993. SEE publication was re-instated with backcast ANZSIC based estimates information. New stratification was undertaken at the Standard Institutional Sector Classification of Australia (SISCA) for the private sector to provide National Accounts Branch with required data.
      • 1999: Beta imputation introduced; introduction of significance editing.
      • 2002: Collection of private sector data discontinued from March quarter 2002. Monthly employment and the full-time/part-time split of employment in the middle month of the quarter discontinued.
      • 2006: Data analysis established that GFS was a viable alternative source to quarterly SEE earnings data as an input into National Accounts. User review established that external demand was not sufficiently strong to justify the continuation of the quarterly survey.
      • 2007: Quarterly collection discontinued after the June quarter 2007 cycle.
      • 2008: Collection conducted on an annual basis commencing with the 2007-08 financial year. Introduction of new question regarding salary sacrificed amounts. Survey sample redesigned on ANZSIC06 basis. Survey processing and estimation systems changed to ABS E2E facilities.
      • 2009: Sample redesign undertaken for 2008–09 survey, based only on the 2006 edition of ANZSIC. Sample size decreased from about 2,500 units (2007–08) to about 2,000 (2008–09), resulting in increases of standard errors.
      • 2011: Collection for 2010/11 financial year integrated into the MLC 2010/11 survey for this year only.
      • 2013: Information collected using online web form.
      • 2014: Sample redesign and small domain estimation methodology implemented resulting in decreased standard errors and a small shift in the level of State by Level of Government estimates.


      Data availability comments
      Preliminary data are only made available to National Accounts Branch. They are not for public dissemination.

      01/12/2014 05:02 PM