6206.0 - Labour Force Experience, Australia, Feb 2003  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 09/09/2003   
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1 The statistics in this publication were compiled from data collected in the Labour Force Experience Survey conducted throughout Australia in February 2003 as a supplement to the monthly Labour Force Survey (LFS). Respondents to the LFS who fell within the scope of the supplementary survey were asked further questions.

2 The publication Labour Force, Australia (cat. no. 6202.0) contains information about survey design, sample redesign, scope, coverage and population benchmarks relevant to the monthly LFS, which also apply to supplementary surveys. It also contains definitions of demographic and labour force characteristics, and information about telephone interviewing which are relevant to both the monthly LFS and supplementary surveys.

3 From April 2001 the LFS has been conducted using a redesigned questionnaire containing additional questions and some minor definitional changes. These changes also affect the supplementary surveys. For further details, see Information Paper: Implementing the Redesigned Labour Force Survey Questionnaire (cat. no. 6295.0) and Information Paper: Questionnaires Used in the Labour Force Survey (cat. no. 6232.0).


4 The conceptual framework used in Australia's Labour Force Survey aligns closely with the standards and guidelines set out in Resolutions of the International Conference of Labour Statisticians. Descriptions of the underlying concepts and structure of Australia's labour force statistics, and the sources and methods used in compiling these estimates, are presented in Labour Statistics: Concepts, Sources and Methods (cat. no. 6102.0).


5 The scope of the LFS was restricted to persons aged 15 years and over and excluded the following persons:

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

6 Students at boarding schools, patients in hospitals, residents of homes (e.g. retirement homes, homes for persons with disabilities), and inmates of prisons are excluded from all supplementary surveys.

7 This supplementary survey was conducted in both urban and rural areas in all states and territories, but excluded approximately 120,000 persons living in very remote parts of Australia who would otherwise have been within the scope of the survey. The exclusion of these persons will have only a minor impact on any aggregate estimates that are produced for individual states and territories, except the Northern Territory where such persons account for around 20% of the population.

8 In addition to those already excluded from the LFS, persons aged 70 years and over and visitors to private dwellings are excluded from this survey.


9 The estimates in this publication relate to persons covered by the survey in February 2003. In the LFS, coverage rules are applied which aim to ensure that each person is associated with only one dwelling and hence has only one chance of selection in the survey. See Labour Force, Australia (cat. no. 6202.0) for more details.


10 Estimates in this publication are subject to sampling and non-sampling errors:
  • Sampling error is the difference between the published estimate and the value that would have been produced if all dwellings had been included in the survey. For further information refer to the Technical Note.
  • Non-sampling errors are inaccuracies that occur because of imperfections in reporting by respondents and interviewers, and errors made in coding and processing data. These inaccuracies may occur in any enumeration, whether it be a full count or a sample. Every effort is made to reduce the non-sampling error to a minimum by careful design of questionnaires, intensive training and supervision of interviewers and efficient processing procedures.


11 The estimates are based on information collected in the survey month and, due to seasonal factors, may not be representative of other months of the year.


12 Occupation data are classified according to the ASCO - Australian Standard Classification of Occupations, Second Edition (cat. no. 1220.0).

13 Industry data are classified according to the Australian and New Zealand Standard Industrial Classification (ANZSIC), 1993 (cat. no. 1292.0).

14 Country of birth data are classified according to the Standard Australian Classification of Countries (SACC), 1998 (cat. no. 1269.0).

15 In 2001, the ABS Classification of Qualifications (ABSCQ) (cat. no. 1262.0) was replaced by the Australian Standard Classification of Education (ASCED) (cat. no. 1272.0). The ASCED is a national standard classification which can be applied to all sectors of the Australian education system including schools, vocational education and training and higher education. ASCED replaces a number of classifications previously used in administrative and statistical systems, including the ABSCQ. The ASCED comprises two classifications: Level of Education and Field of Education. See Appendix 1 for further information.


16 A number of changes have occurred since the 2001 survey.

Time worked with current employer/business

17 With the introduction of the new Labour Force Survey questionnaire in April 2001, 'time worked with current employer/business' is now collected in units of months for most persons who had been with their current employer/business for less than 12 months. Previously, this information was collected in units of weeks for all of those who had been with their current employer/business for less than 12 months. As a result, the data item is now available in units of months where it was previously available in weeks.

Number of employers/businesses during the year

18 The data item 'number of employers/businesses during the year' has been derived differently from previous surveys. Prior to 2003, where they could be identified, multiple jobs of multiple job-holders were excluded from this data item. For 2003, all employers/businesses held by all persons are now included. As a result of this change, the data item 'whether ceased a job during the year', which was based on the derivation of 'number of employers/businesses during the year', is not available for 2003.

Implementation of ASCED

19 Data items relating to educational attainment have been affected by the implementation of the Australian Standard Classification of Education (ASCED). Time series comparisons are available in an aggregated format as presented in tables 6, 7 and 9. Data for 2003, classified according to ASCED, are available at a more detailed level for level of highest non-school qualification, level of highest educational attainment and highest year of school completed. See Appendix 1 for more information on ASCED.


20 Revisions are made to population benchmarks for the LFS after each five-yearly Census of Population and Housing. The last such revision was made in February 1999 to take account of the results of the 1996 Census of Population and Housing. Estimates from supplementary surveys conducted from and including February 1999 are therefore based on these revised population benchmarks.

21 Supplementary surveys are not always conducted on the full LFS sample. Since August 1994 the sample for supplementary surveys has been restricted to no more than seven-eighths of the LFS sample. Therefore the reduction in sample size means that the standard errors for this survey differ from those applicable to surveys conducted prior to August 1994.


22 Due to differences in the scope and sample size of this supplementary survey and that of the LFS, the estimation procedure may lead to some small variations between labour force estimates from this survey and those from the LFS.


23 Results of similar surveys, conducted in February 1969, 1973, 1975, 1976, 1977, annually from February 1979 to February 1989, annually from March 1990 to March 1994, and in February 1995, 1997, 1999 and 2001 have been given in previous issues of the publication Labour Force Experience, Australia (cat. no. 6206.0) and the Standard Data Service Labour Force Experience on Hardcopy, Australia (cat. no. 6206.0.40.001).


24 The ABS plans to conduct this survey again in February 2005.


25 ABS surveys draw extensively on information provided freely by individuals, businesses, governments and other organisations. Their continued cooperation is very much appreciated: without it, the wide range of statistics published by the ABS would not be available. Information received by the ABS is treated in strict confidence as required by the Census and Statistics Act 1905.


26 Other publications which may be of interest include:
  • Career Experience, Australia, cat. no. 6254.0
  • Job Search Experience, Australia, cat. no. 6222.0
  • Labour Force, Australia, cat. no. 6202.0
  • Labour Mobility, Australia, cat. no. 6209.0
  • Persons Not in the Labour Force, Australia, cat. no. 6220.0

27 Current publications and other products released by the ABS are listed in the Catalogue of Publications and Products (cat. no. 1101.0). The Catalogue is available from any ABS office. The ABS also issues a daily Release Advice on the web site which details products to be released in the week ahead.