1 The purpose of this publication is to provide new information about the number and nature of filled jobs in Australia, the people who hold them, and their employers. It includes information about multiple job-holding and employment in local areas. Jobs in Australia counts all jobs held during the reference year. This complements and expands on quarterly stock estimates of filled jobs presented in the Australian Labour Account.
2 A job is a relationship between an employed person and their employing enterprise. This can be a relationship between an employee and an employer or between an owner manager of an unincorporated enterprise and their own enterprise. Owner managers of incorporated enterprises have not been identified in the underlying data and are included in the employee population.
3 The statistics in this publication are produced from a linked employer-employee dataset (LEED).
4 The LEED covers five consecutive financial years, 2011-12 through to 2015-16. All statistics in this publication are in reference to these financial years.
5 The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) acknowledges the continuing support of the Australian Tax Office (ATO) in compiling these statistics.
LINKED EMPLOYER-EMPLOYEE DATASET
6 The LEED is a cross-sectional database. It is comprised of a person file, a job file, and an employer file. These are discussed in more detail below.
7 Employed persons are linked to employers via jobs. A person can have a number of jobs throughout the year with one or many employers, some of which may be held concurrently with others.
8 The LEED includes person and employer-level information provided to the ABS by the ATO and the Registrar of the Australian Business Register (ABR).
8 The LEED includes tax data supplied by the ATO to the ABS under the Taxation Administration Act 1953, which requires that such data is only used for the purpose of administering the Census and Statistics Act 1905. Any discussion of data limitations or weaknesses is in the context of using the data for statistical purposes, and is not related to the ability of the data to support the ATO's core operational requirements.
9 The LEED also includes ABR data supplied by the Registrar to the ABS under A New Tax System (Australian Business Number) Act 1999, which requires that such data is only used for the purpose of carrying out functions of the ABS. Any discussion of data limitations or weaknesses is in the context of using the data for statistical purposes, and is not related to the ability of the data to support the ABR’s core operational requirements.
10 The tax forms and instructions used to collect the underlying data used in this publication can be found on the ATO website. Information about business registration can be found on the ABR website.
11 LEED uses this data via the Business Longitudinal Analysis Data Environment (BLADE). BLADE combines ABS Business Register data, business tax data and information from ABS surveys with data about the use of government programs. Survey and program data are not included in the cross-sectional sub-set used in this publication. Information from the ABS business profiling process is included in BLADE and used in the compilation of LEED.
12 Legislative requirements to ensure privacy and secrecy of these data have been followed. In accordance with the Census and Statistics Act 1905, results have been confidentialised to ensure they are not likely to enable identification of a particular person or organisation. All personal information is handled in accordance with the Australian Privacy Principles contained in the Privacy Act 1988.
Scope, coverage and reference periods
13 The LEED includes information about all employers recorded in the BLADE and Australia's personal income tax data sets, regardless of their residency. It also includes all sources of income, regardless of whether the income provider resides within Australia's economic territory.
14 The LEED includes data for all persons who either submitted an individual tax return (ITR) or individuals who had a payment summary issued by an employer and then remitted to the ATO. Employees who did not submit a tax return and have not provided their Tax File Number to their employer will not appear in the LEED. Owner managers of unincorporated enterprises (OMUEs) who did not submit an ITR are also excluded.
15 The ABS receives data from the ATO approximately 16 months after the end of the financial year. This data then requires processing time to construct BLADE and to produce a coherent and clean persons dataset. These factors contribute to the long delay between the end of the financial year and the publication of statistics from the LEED.
16 Because taxation data may be submitted to the ATO after the ITR cut-off date, it may not be available at the time the ATO provides data to the ABS and is only added in future provisions. As such, annual data in the LEED can become more complete over time. This is estimated to have a slightly greater impact on the self-employed population than on the larger employee and employer populations, and a negligible impact overall.
The person file
17 Each cross-sectional person file contains data for all persons who either submitted an ITR or who were identifiable on a payment summary in the reference year. Each record includes de-identified demographic and geographic data, and aggregate income information.
18 Persons are classified as either not employed or employed (11% and 89% respectively in 2015-16).
19 Employed persons may be either employees (including owner manager of incorporated enterprises (OMIEs)), owner managers of unincorporated enterprises (OMUEs), or both. In 2015-16, 76% of records on the person file were employees (including OMIEs), 7% were OMUEs, and 6% were both.
20 Employees are identified by the presence of aggregate employee income and at least one linked employee job.
21 Employees who have not submitted an ITR but who have provided their Tax File Number to their employer are imputed from PAYG payment summary data. In 2015-16, 10% of person records included imputed payment summary data. This rate decreases in earlier years as more complete ITR data becomes available.
22 OMUEs are identified by the presence of any of the own unincorporated business income types (as listed in Table 3) and a linked OMUE job.
23 Tax lodgers who are not employees or owner managers are included on the person file to support statistical analysis that requires a more complete view of the tax lodger population.
The employer file
24 The employer file contains all employers in a job relationship with someone on the person file at any point during the reference year.
25 An economic units model is used to describe the characteristics of employers and the structural relationships between related organisational units. This model defines organisations by enterprise group, type of activity, location and legal entities.
26 The ABS profiles large, complex and economically significant organisations, and structures them to accord with the economic units model. Legal entities that are under common ownership or control make up an enterprise group, and are included in the profiled population. Legal entities are usually represented by a single Australian Business Number (ABN). Enterprise groups are broken up into one or multiple type of activity units, each of which represents their economic activity within a specific industry subdivision. The remainder of ABN registrants are assumed to have simple structures and are regarded as a single legal entity. These units are known as the non-profiled population. The two populations are mutually exclusive and cover all organisations in Australia which have registered for an ABN.
27 For further information on the economic units model, refer to Australian System of National Accounts: Concepts, Sources and Methods (cat. no. 5216.0, paragraphs 4.25 to 4.37).
28 In the LEED, an employer is any legal entity in the non-profiled population that is linked to a job; and any type of activity unit in the profiled population that is linked to a job.
29 Most employers are present in BLADE, however the LEED employer population also includes unincorporated entities, which are identified in personal income tax data and are not otherwise included in BLADE or cannot be identified in BLADE. Industry and several other employer variables are not available for these unincorporated entities. Further information about missing variables is included in Table 2, below.
The jobs file
30 The jobs file is a complete list of the job relationships held at any time during the reference year.
31 The jobs file is constructed primarily from PAYG payment summary data. PAYG payment summaries describe the payments made to an individual by an employer within a financial year. Payment period start and end dates are included with this information. Conceptually, payment summary data should include most employee-employer job relationships. OMUE jobs are derived from ITR data and added to the jobs file, some of these link to businesses in BLADE.
32 In some cases a synthetic employee job record has been created based on information in the person file. This has occurred when a person has recorded wage or salary information that can not be identified in payment summary data. In 2015-16, 13% of jobs were created in this way. In some cases an employee job may not be able to be linked to an employing organisation due to recording errors or missing information.
33 A person can hold several jobs during the year, either concurrently (as a multiple job-holder) or non-concurrently. For a person who is an employee of several employers, each relationship is listed as a separate job. While a person may own and manage more than one enterprise, due to data limitations only one self-employment job can be recorded for any OMUE. In the LEED, an OMUE can hold other jobs as an employee.
34 PAYG payment summary start and end dates are used to determine the start and end of a job relationship, to identify concurrent job-holding, and to determine the duration of the job. These dates are known to have high measurement error rates, which are likely to inflate job and concurrent job counts. Some of this error may be due to misinterpretation and recording errors, but it is also expected that payroll system and report design have an influence.
35 Some treatments have been applied to address overcounts of jobs or concurrent job-holding, including:
- in cases where a person has received several PAYG payment summaries from the same employer, and the time between the end of the first payment summary and the start of the next payment summary is 31 days or less, this is counted as a single job.
- in cases where a person has received several PAYG payment summaries from different employers, they are only considered to be concurrent if they overlap by more than 31 days.
- in cases where a person has more than 10 jobs, those within the same industry sub-division are counted as a single job.
36 These treatments are aimed at minimising the impact of administrative errors while also reflecting a reasonably accurate view of differing job structures.
37 The LEED jobs file does not capture voluntary jobs and unpaid contributing family worker jobs.
LEED integration method and results
38 ABS data integration practices comply with the High Level Principles for Data Integration Involving Commonwealth Data for Statistical and Research Purposes.
39 The LEED uses deterministic integration. Jobs are linked to legal entities using ABNs.
40 Where a legal entity is part of the profiled population, the assignment of an employed person to a type of activity unit may be modelled. This occurs when the legal entity is part of an enterprise group with more than one type of activity unit. Approximately 13% of jobs fall into this category.
41 Modelled assignment to type of activity units is based on a logistic regression model developed using 2016 Census data. The model references independent variables common to both Census and personal income tax data, including sex, age, occupation, and region of usual residence. These are used to predict the industry of employment, which conceptually aligns to a type of activity unit.
42 Where an employee has multiple job relationships with the same reporting ABN in an enterprise group, each job relationship is assigned to the same type of activity unit.
43 Based on the model, each job record is assigned a probability of being in any of the type of activity units present in the employing enterprise group. Referencing these probabilities, iterative random assignment is undertaken until employment benchmarks are met. Benchmarks are based on Quarterly Business Indicators Survey (QBIS) data. Where a unit falls out of scope of QBIS, BLADE employment levels are substituted where possible, otherwise no benchmarking is done.
44 Table 1 shows the number of jobs that required modelled assignment.
TABLE 1. Jobs with modelled type of activity unit assignment
Total job relationships
Jobs in profiled population
Jobs with modelled type of activity unit assignment
45 As a result of the linking and imputation processes in LEED, the underlying data used in Jobs in Australia statistics has very high rates of missing variables for items describing employers (such as industry). This has a significant impact on the OMUE population.
46 Missing rates for occupation codes are also very high. Occupation is only recorded in relation to wage and salary income types on a person's ITR. Therefore some employed persons do not identify an occupation on their ITR because they have no wage and salary income types. Other employed persons may not submit an ITR at all (eg those below the tax free threshold). Measurement error can also be a factor.
47 Start and end dates are not available for OMUE jobs.
48 Table 2 shows the missing rates for selected variables.
TABLE 2. Missing variables for populations
Quality notes for selected variables
Missing rate for employed persons (all employees and OMUEs)
Missing rate for OMUEs
Missing rate for employee jobs
Missing for OMUE jobs
Less than 1%
Less than 1%
Less than 1%
Less than 1%
Usual residence (SA2)
Less than 1%
Less than 1%
(job-holder's usual residence) Less than 1%
n/a - occupation is reported in relation to a person's main employee job
49 In this publication, the main job held by a person is the job in which they received the highest employment income.
50 Using income or earnings to identify a person's main job differs from ABS household surveys, which define a person's main job as the job in which the most hours are usually worked.
Multiple job holders and concurrent jobs
51 In this publication, multiple job holders are persons who have two or more concurrent jobs at any point during the financial year.
52 Due to data limitations, concurrency cannot be determined for self-employment jobs and they have been excluded from concurrent job counts.
53 The tendency for employees who leave a job during the year to be retained in pay systems until the end of the financial year results in some jobs being incorrectly identified as concurrent.
Employed persons and their status in employment
54 Any person with one or more job at any point during the year is considered to be an employed person. Employed persons can be employees (including OMIEs), OMUEs, or both.
55 An employee is an employed person who holds a job with a public or private employer and receives remuneration in wages, salary, on a commission basis (with or without a retainer), tips, piece-rates, or payment in kind. Employees in this publication are identified through the receipt of any of these types of payments as recorded on an ITR or on a PAYG payment summary.
56 OMIEs have not been identified separately to employees and so are included in employee counts.
57 Attributed personal services income is also counted as employee income, however data limitations mean that employer relationships for employees with this type of income are not able to be established.
58 Employees include owner managers of incorporated enterprises. Incorporated enterprises are business entities registered as a separate legal entity to its members or owners (also known as limited liability companies). These employees cannot be separately identified in this publication.
59 OMUEs are identified through ITRs, where a person has recorded business or personal services income (other than attributed personal services income). Where the person has recorded the ABN of their unincorporated enterprise, this may be able to be linked to a BLADE record. In cases where no BLADE record is identified, an employer record is created from the information on the ITR. These records contain limited information.
60 The conceptual definition of employment income used in this publication is a component of personal income as described in Standards for Income Variables
(cat. no. 1287.0), and is based on the international standards agreed by the International Conference of Labour Statisticians which are explained in the Canberra Group Handbook on Household Income Statistics, Second Edition
61 Employment income in this publication is limited to income that is conceptually consistent with the standard, but has some limitations as a result of using administrative data. A more complete and conceptually accurate view of personal income from all sources is published in Household Income and Wealth
(cat. no. 6523.0).
Table 3. Data items used to derive personal income variables in this publication
Adjusted employee income per job
|Personal income tax items|
|Income from employment|
|Employee income||Salary or wages (item 1). If income tax information is missing, this item is imputed from individual non-business payment summary 'gross payments' item.|
Allowances, earnings or tips (item 2). If income tax information is missing, this item is imputed from individual non-business payment summary 'total allowances' item.
Employer lump sums (item 3). If income tax information is missing, employer lump sums and employer termination payments are imputed from individual non-business payment summary 'lump sum A and B' items.
Employment termination payments (item 4). If income tax information is missing, employer lump sums and employer termination payments are imputed from individual non-business payment summary 'lump sum A and B' items.
Attributed personal services income (item 9).
Employee share schemes (item 12).
Total reportable fringe benefits amounts (item IT1). If income tax information is missing, this item is imputed from individual non-business payment summary 'reportable fringe benefits amount' item.
Reportable employer superannuation contributions (IT2). If income tax information is missing, this item is imputed from individual non-business payment summary 'reportable employer superannuation contributions' item.
Assessable foreign sourced income - other net foreign employment income, exempt foreign employment income (sub-components of item 20). If income tax information is missing, this item is imputed from individual non-business payment summary 'exempt foreign employment income' item.
|Own unincorporated business income||Primary production distributions and distributions from non-primary production partnerships (sub-components of item 13).|
Personal services income (item 14).
Net income or loss from business (item 15).
62 Adjusted employee income per job is a supplementary view of income per job that accounts for the length of time an employee job was held. Because many jobs are held for less than the entire financial year, per job employee income is low relative to employee income. Adjusted employee income per job is designed to partially correct this by emulating an 'annual salary' for each job.
63 For example, an employee who earns $50,000 per year but changes jobs half way though the year may have an employee income
of $50,000 but a per job employee income
of $25,000 (for both jobs, assuming they are identical). Their Adjusted employee income per job
will be $50,000, which is the assumed amount each job would have paid, should the employee have held it for the entire year.
64 Adjusted employee income per job is calculated by dividing regular payments (the following items on an individual non-business payment summary: 'gross payments', 'total allowances', 'reportable fringe benefits amount', and 'reportable employer superannuation contributions') received on a per-job basis by the number of days the job was held. This figure is then multiplied by the number of days in the reference year. Irregular payments ('lump sum A and B') are then added to this figure.
65 Adjusted employee income per job is available for employee jobs only. It is not calculated for jobs held for only 1 day or for any jobs for which duration of job can not be calculated.
Occupation in main job
66 Occupation in main job is recorded for each employee in reference to their main job only. This is reported by an employee or their tax agent in relation to the occupation of the job with the highest wage or salary. The ATO code reported occupations according to the Australian and New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations
(ANZSCO) (cat. no. 1220.0) with some minor exceptions. Supplementary coding used by the ATO is subsequently concorded to ANZSCO by the ABS. Occupation in main job cannot be determined for a person who is only employed as an OMUE. In cases where the person’s main job is as an OMUE but where they have one or more secondary employee jobs, occupation will refer to the main employee job.
67 Occupation is missing or unable to be determined for approximately 21% of employed persons in 2015-16, with similar levels in other years. No bias is evident at the Major Group level.
68 For employers in the non-profiled population, industry information in LEED is based on information provided by the registrant to the Australian Business Register. This is usually completed at the time of registration and may not be updated.
69 For employers in the profiled population, industry is based on information collected by the ABS. Industry is determined through the profiling process for each major activity in which a business operates and is recorded at the type of activity level. Profiling information is back and forward-cast in BLADE, and this impacts on the industry information in this publication.
70 All geographic variables are based on a person’s home address as reported on their ITR form. Addresses are coded to the Australian Statistical Geography Standard
71 If a geography variable is missing on the ITR, if possible it is imputed from the individual's most recent PAYG payment summary.
72 All personal income tax statistics were provided to LEED analysts in de-identified form with no home address or date of birth. Addresses were coded to the Australian Statistical Geography Standard and date of birth was converted to an age at 30 June of the reference year prior to data provision.
73 To minimise the risk of identifying individuals in aggregate statistics, perturbation has been applied. Perturbation involves small random adjustment of the statistics and is considered the most satisfactory technique for avoiding the release of identifiable statistics, while maximising the range of information that can be released. These adjustments have a negligible impact on the underlying pattern of the statistics. Some cells have also been suppressed due to low counts.
COHERENCE WITH OTHER ABS DATA
74 There are differences between Jobs in Australia statistics and similar statistics produced by the ABS. When compared to other ABS sources, differences in the number of jobs, the number of employed persons and median employment income in this publication may be due to:
- differences in the concepts, scope and methodology used in the LEED and those used in household and business surveys
- the LEED containing a combination of administrative data collected for taxation purposes from both individuals and businesses, whereas other ABS data sources are compiled for the explicit purpose of creating statistics
- unreported cash in hand payments, which are excluded from the LEED but may be reported in household and business surveys, and
- the LEED including employment information relating to the whole financial year, rather than at a particular point in time.
75 The job counts in this publication differ from the filled job estimates in the Australian Labour Account. Most significantly, this is due to the Labour Account being a stock measure, while the LEED includes information relating to the entire financial year. The Labour Account also differs in that it is a compiled account. Numbers of filled jobs are sourced from business and household surveys, ABS business register information, defence force information, child workers information and estimates from the ABS Labour Force Survey for contributing family workers. The LEED is also limited to paid employment that is reportable in the tax system, while the Labour Account includes some unpaid work.
76 Some changes to personal income derivations have been made since the publication of Estimates of Personal Income for Small Areas
(cat. no. 6524.0.55.002), which results in minor differences between the two publications. Differences in underlying data treatments, such as outlier editing, also has a minor impact.
77 More information about the quality of Jobs in Australia statistics is included in the Quality Declaration.
POSSIBLE FUTURE ENHANCEMENTS
78 This publication is a first issue. It aims to describe the number and nature of jobs in Australia using a new, linked data source. During the development of this publication, several opportunities for future enhancements have been identified, including:
- using additional information from the ATO and the ABR to reduce the number of missing variables
- researching ways to separate multiple OMUE jobs held by the same person
- imputing missing information
- developing an employee job stock measure (eg, a monthly measure)
- researching ways to identify OMIEs separately from employees within the LEED.
79 For further information about these and other statistics, please contact the National Information and Referral Service on 1300 135 070.