1136.0 - Directory of Education and Training Statistics, 2007  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 06/07/2007   
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Contents >> Statistical Collections >> Labour Force >> Underemployed Workers Survey

Underemployed Workers Survey


Labour Market Section
Australian Bureau of Statistics, Canberra
Telephone (02) 6252 7206


The is the primary ABS data source on underemployment. It provides a wide range of information about underemployed workers, aged 15 years and over. Information collected relates to the number of hours usually worked, number of preferred hours, steps taken to find work with more hours, and difficulties finding work with more hours. Summary information on underemployed workers is also collected in the Labour Force Survey (LFS) on a quarterly basis.


The scope of the survey is restricted to persons aged 15 years and over, who were: unemployed in July of the survey year; and people employed in July of the survey year who started their current job in the previous year. It excludes the following people:

  • members of the permanent Australian defence forces;
  • certain diplomatic personnel of overseas governments, customarily excluded from the census and estimated populations;
  • overseas residents in Australia; and
  • members of non-Australian defence forces (and their dependants).

The survey was conducted in both urban and rural areas in all states and territories, but excluded people living in very remote parts of Australia. Students at boarding schools, patients in hospitals, residents of homes (e.g. retirement homes, for people with disabilities), and inmates of prisons are also excluded.

Reference Period


Frequency of Collection


Method of collection

The Underemployed Workers Survey, was conducted throughout Australia in September 2006 as a supplement to the ABS's monthly Labour Force Survey (LFS). People who worked less than 35 hours in the week prior to the survey (i.e. the reference week) and who would have preferred to work more hours, were asked about whether they were available to start work with more hours, whether they were looking for work with more hours, and their experience in looking for work with more hours.


Release schedule

The results of this survey are usually released in February of the following year.


Underemployed Workers, Australia (ABS cat. no. 6265.0)


Data are available for Australia, state and territory, and capital city/balance of state (excluding territories).

Data Service

Customised tables are available on request.



State or territory of usual residence
Area of usual residence
Region of usual residence
Marital status
Relationship in household
Whether household has children aged under 15
Country of birth and period of arrival
Age group

Level of highest educational attainment

Historical Data

The Underemployed Workers Survey was conducted in May 1985, 1988 and 1991. In 1994, the survey became an annual survey, collected each September. Results of the 1996 and later surveys are available electronically as 'Past & Future Releases' in Underemployed Workers, Australia (ABS cat. no. 6265.0).

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