1136.0 - A Directory of Education and Training Statistics, 2009  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 24/03/2009   
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Labour Market Statistics

Australian Bureau of Statistics
Telephone (02)
6252 7206


The 2007 Survey of Employment Arrangements, Retirement and Superannuation (SEARS 2007) was conducted throughout Australia between April and July 2007. The survey collected detailed information about employment arrangements, work and caring, retirement and retirement intentions, superannuation coverage and other characteristics.

Besides basic demographic characteristics and income, SEARS 2007 collected information to describe:

  • the diversity of employment arrangements in Australia, including the types of employment people have, aspects of job stability and flexibility, and working patterns;
  • the working arrangements that people use, or would like to use, to balance their work and caring responsibilities;
  • plans that people aged 45 years and over have for retirement, including transitions to retirement, expected sources of income at retirement, reasons for retiring and retirement income; and
  • the superannuation coverage of individuals, including superannuation contributions and account balances.


The scope of SEARS 2007 includes persons aged 15 years and over who were usual residents of private dwellings throughout Australia, excluding the very remote areas, and covering about 97 per cent of the people living in Australia. Private dwellings are houses, flats, home units, caravans, garages, tents and other structures that are used as places of residence at the time of interview. Long-stay caravan parks are also included. These are distinct from non-private dwellings which include hotels, boarding schools, boarding houses and institutions.

Reference Period

Different reference periods were used for collecting various components of SEARS 2007 data, to correspond with information that would be readily available to respondents of the survey. Labour force status was determined on the basis of activity in the week prior to the interview. Details of employment arrangements were generally collected on a 'usual working arrangements' basis. Income data were collected using the la
st financial year as the reference period for business and property income, and the last pay period for wages and salaries and other sources of private income. The preferred reference period for collection of superannuation data was the 2005-2006 financial year. However, where information was not available for this period, information was accepted for other periods, providing they commenced no earlier than 1 July 2004.

Frequency of Collection

A similar survey was conducted in 2000, and the next SEARS is planned to be conducted in 2013.

Method of Collection

The majority of the survey information was collected directly from respondents by trained interviewers using computer assisted interview (CAI) technology. Questions related to household composition and tenure were asked of an adult (18 years old or over), and then all usual residents aged over 15 years in the selected households were separately interviewed.

Some respondents who were unable to refer to appropriate superannuation records chose to authorise their superannuation fund to provide specific information to the ABS, on behalf of the fund member, about their superannuation contributions and balances.


Release schedule

Results of SEARS 2007, were released in November 2008.


Employment Arrangements, Retirement and Superannuation, Australia, Apr to Jul 2007 (ABS cat. no. 6361.0)
User Guide: Employment Arrangements, Retirement and Superannuation, Australia, April to July 2007 (ABS cat. no. 6361.0.55.002)


Information is available for Australia, the states and territories.

Data Service

The data service for this survey includes state tables, data cubes of publication tables and of relative standard errors, a microdata file, and data available on request (table requests).

Employment Arrangements, Retirement and Superannuation; State Tables, Apr to Jul 2007 (ABS cat. no. 6361.0.55.003)
Datacubes: Employment Arrangements, Retirement and Superannuation, Australia, April to July 2007 (ABS cat. no. 6361.0.55.004)
Microdata: Employment Arrangements, Retirement and Superannuation, Expanded CURF, Australia, Apr to Jul 2007 (ABS cat. no. 6361.0.55.001)


Education items
Level of highest non-school qualification
Main field of highest non-school qualification
Level of highest educational attainment
Full- or Part-time study status (current study)
Educational institution type (current study)

Other topics
Demographics and Housing
Working patterns and preferred working arrangements
Job stability and flexibility
Contract work
Home based work
Time stress
Retirement and retirement intentions
Previous employment
Income and sources of income
Caring responsibilities
Working arrangements used for caring responsibilities

Historical Data

SEARS was a follow up of the Survey of Employment and Superannuation (SEAS) conducted in 2000. SEARS 2007 had a similar focus to SEAS 2000 and collected a similar range of data. However data items are not strictly comparable, due to changes in the survey scope, methodology and concepts.