6102.0.55.001 - Labour Statistics: Concepts, Sources and Methods, Apr 2007  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 19/04/2007   
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21.3.1 The Forms of Employment Survey was first conducted in August 1998. The survey was then conducted in 2001, 2004 and 2006, and has been conducted on an annual basis since November 2006.

21.3.2 The Forms of Employment Survey presents information about employed persons (excluding contributing family workers) aged 15 years and over and their employment arrangements. Topics covered in this survey include: the different types of employment arrangements including fixed-term contracts (for employees), casual employment and leave entitlements, independent contractors, use of labour hire firms/employment agencies (as part of a three-yearly module), and employment characteristics such as hours worked, industry and occupation. The survey also provides a range of information on demographic and employment characteristics of people with different employment types.

21.3.3 This section describes only those aspects of the methodology that are unique to this survey, and hence should be used in conjunction with the overview part of this chapter which outlines the survey methodology used in supplementary surveys (
Chapter 21).


21.3.4 Data from the survey are published in
Forms of Employment, Australia (cat. no. 6359.0). More detailed estimates are available on request, and a confidentialised unit record file from the 1998 and 2008 surveys is also available.

21.3.5 The main population of interest is employed persons (excluding those who were contributing family workers in their main job). Estimates are produced on an original basis only (i.e. not seasonally adjusted) and include:

Socio-demographic information

State or territory of usual residence, sex, age, area of usual residence, region of usual residence, marital status, relationship in household, country of birth and period of arrival, and number of children in family aged under 15 years.

Employment characteristics

Full-time or part-time status, occupation of main job, industry of main job, hours actually worked, hours usually worked, status in employment, employment type, form of employment, educational attendance, continuous duration with current employer/business, expected future duration with current employer/business, reason expected duration with current employer/business less than one year, whether earnings/income varied from one pay period to the next, whether usually works the same number of hours each week, whether usually required to be on call or stand-by, whether had any say in start and finish times, days and number of days usually worked each week, and whether worked weekdays and/or weekends.


Whether had paid leave entitlements, whether entitled to paid holiday leave, whether entitled to paid sick leave, whether entitled to paid long service leave, whether entitled to paid maternity/paternity leave, whether employment had a set completion date/event, length of set employment completion date/event from the date of interview, whether worked on a fixed-term contract, whether expected contract to be renewed, and whether considered job to be casual.

Independent Contractors

Whether usually able to work on more than one active contract, whether had more than one contract for work in reference week, whether contract prevented doing similar work for multiple clients/employers, whether able to (sub)contract own work, main reason unable to (sub)contract own work, whether had authority over own working procedures, who had authority over own working procedures, number of employees, whether responsible for organising own workers' compensation, whether responsible for organising own liability insurance, and whether responsible for organising own superannuation contributions.

21.3.6 Data collected in the survey are compiled according to concepts and definitions outlined in
Chapter 4 (Employment Measures and Classifications), and Chapter 16 (Other Classifications used in Labour Statistics).


21.3.7 The scope of this survey is restricted to employed persons aged 15 years and over. The standard scope restrictions for supplementary surveys outlined in the overview part of
Chapter 21 (Labour Force Supplementary Surveys) also apply to this survey.


21.3.8 In order to provide a high degree of consistency and comparability over time, changes to survey methods, concepts, data item definitions, the frequency of collection, and analysis methods are made as infrequently as possible. Changes to the scope and sample size of the survey mean that the standard errors for the survey differ over time. The change in scope had a small impact on estimates. Changes affecting the Labour Force Survey may also affect this survey. Such changes are outlined in
Chapter 20 (Labour Force Survey) and are not repeated here. The main changes to the Forms of Employment Survey are outlined below.


Survey conducted in August.
Persons working for payment in kind excluded from survey.


Survey moved to November.
Scope of survey restricted to persons aged 15-69 years.
Revised employment type classification implemented.


Scope of survey was expanded to include all persons aged 15 years and over.
People working for payment in kind included in the survey.
Further revisions to employment type classification.
Survey content reduced.


In previous surveys, people who received both paid sick and paid holiday leave were not asked if they worked on a contract basis. In 2006, all employed people were asked if they worked on a contract basis.
In previous surveys, only information on hours actually worked was collected. From 2006, information on both hours actually worked and hours usually worked were collected.

Occupation data were classified according to the ANZSCO—
Australian and New Zealand Classification of Occupations, First Edition, 2006 (cat. no. 1220.0). This classification replaced the ASCO—Australian Standard Classification of Occupations, Second Edition, 1997 (cat. no. 1220.0). Data classified according to the ASCO are available on request.

Industry data were classified according to the ANZSIC—
Australian and New Zealand Standard Industrial Classification, 2006 (cat. no. 1292.0). This classification replaced the ANZSIC—Australian and New Zealand Standard Industrial Classification, 1993 (cat. no. 1292.0). Data classified according to the ANZSIC 1993 are available on request.


Only owner managers (both of incorporated and unincorporated enterprises) were asked if they worked on a contract basis, while employees (excluding owner managers of incorporated enterprises) were asked if they worked on a fixed-term contract.

'Status in employment' and 'Employment type in main job' classifications used in previous surveys replaced with the 'Form of employment in main job' classification. Form of employment in main job divides employed people into three categories: Employees, Independent contractors and Other business operators. This resulted in a break in series for employees. Data classified according to 'Status in employment' and 'Employment type' are available on request.
Owner managers (of incorporated enterprises and unincorporated enterprises) no longer asked if they worked on a contract basis. Instead, a series of screening questions have been asked of all employed people to identify independent contractors (for the 'Form of employment' classification).
Three-yearly labour hire module collected.

Three-yearly labour hire module collected.


21.3.9 For further details contact the Labour Market Statistics Section, on Canberra (02) 6252 7206 or email <labour.statistics@abs.gov.au>.

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