6222.0 - Job Search Experience, Australia, Jul 2003  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 03/02/2004   
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1 The statistics in this publication were compiled from data collected in the Job Search Experience Survey that was conducted throughout Australia in July 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 LFS, which also apply to supplementary surveys. It also contains definitions of demographic and labour force characteristics, and information about telephone interviewing relevant to both the LFS and supplementary surveys.


3 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) which is also available on this web site (About Statistics - Concepts and Classifications).


4 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 the census and estimated populations
  • overseas residents in Australia
  • members of non-Australian defence forces (and their dependants).

5 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.

6 The 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 produced for individual states and territories, except the Northern Territory where such persons account for around 20% of the population.


7 The estimates in this publication relate to persons covered by the survey in July 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.


8 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.


9 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.


10 Occupation data are classified according to the ASCO - Australian Standard of Classification of Occupations, Second Edition, 1997 (cat. no. 1220.0).

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

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

13 Educational attainment data are classified according to the Australian Standard Classification of Education (ASCED) (cat. no. 1272.0). See Appendix 1 for further information.


14 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 revised population benchmarks.

15 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.


16 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.


Revision of mean and median duration of unemployment

17 The mean and median duration of unemployment in table 2 have been revised for July 2002. In the July 2002 publication, the mean and median duration of unemployment were calculated excluding durations of unemployment greater than 20 years. This has been corrected for the 2003 publication.

Change in derivation for 'whether out of work prior to starting job'

18 Persons employed in their own business are treated differently in the data item 'whether out of work prior to starting job' in the 2003 publication. In 2002, 69,400 persons employed in their own business were classified as 'out of work prior to starting job'. In 2003 the figure was 67,000 persons. For 2003, all persons employed in their own business are shown in a separate category. As a result, the proportion of persons who were out of work prior to starting their current job is lower than in 2002 (44% in 2003 compared to 52% in 2002).

Changes to employment services to the community

19 The Government made significant changes to the manner in which it provided employment services to the community between September 1997 and May 1998. As a result, the nature of job search activity undertaken by jobseekers changed.

20 Prior to the change in employment service arrangements, the Commonwealth Employment Service (CES) provided jobseekers with access to labour market assistance, and offices of the then Department of Social Security (DSS) provided jobseekers with access to income support.

21 Centrelink progressively replaced the CES and DSS shopfronts from September 1997. A competitive employment services market, the Job Network, was launched on 1 May 1998. The Job Network consists of private, community and government organisations on contract to the government to provide employment services to the community. As from that date, jobseekers register with Centrelink for job search assistance and can choose to go to any of the Job Network employment agencies. The agency then attempts to match jobseekers with jobs that are registered with them by employers.

22 During the transition to the new employment services market, Centrelink performed a similar role to the CES. Jobseekers registered at either a CES or Centrelink office, depending on which was operating in their area, for income support and/or job search assistance.

23 Due to the changes in the nature of employment services, caution should be used in comparing results for periods prior to the introduction of the changes with results from surveys conducted after the changes occurred.


24 The Job Search Experience Survey was first conducted in July 2002. Results of similar surveys on the job search experience of unemployed persons conducted in July 1984, July 1985, June 1986, July 1988, July 1990, June 1991, and annually from July 1992 to July 2001 were published in previous issues of Job Search Experience of Unemployed Persons, Australia (cat. no. 6222.0). Information on persons who had started work for an employer for wages or salary during the 12 months up to the end of the reference week was collected in June 1986, and two-yearly from July 1990 to July 2000 and were published in Successful and Unsuccessful Job Search Experience, Australia (cat. no. 6245.0).


25 The ABS plans to conduct this survey again in July 2004.


26 ABS publications 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.


27 Other publications which may be of interest include:
  • Australian Labour Market Statistics, cat. no. 6105.0
  • Career Experience, Australia, cat. no. 6254.0
  • Labour Force, Australia, cat. no. 6202.0
  • Labour Force Experience, Australia, cat. no. 6206.0
  • Labour Mobility, Australia, cat. no. 6209.0
  • Labour Statistics: Concepts, Sources and Methods , cat. no. 6102.0
  • Persons Not in the Labour Force, Australia, cat. no. 6220.0
  • Retrenchment and Redundancy, Australia, cat. no. 6266.0
  • Underemployed Workers, Australia, cat. no. 6265.0

28 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 or from the ABS web site. The ABS also issues a daily Release Advice on the web site which details products to be released in the week ahead.