6227.0 - Education and Work, Australia, May 2006  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 13/12/2006   
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1 The statistics in this publication were compiled from data collected in the Survey of Education and Work (SEW) that was conducted throughout Australia in May 2006 as a supplement to the monthly Labour Force Survey (LFS). Respondents to the LFS who were in scope of the supplementary survey were asked further questions.

2 The SEW provides a range of key indicators relating to the educational participation and attainment of persons aged 15-64 years along with data on people's transition between education and work. The annual time series allows for ongoing monitoring, and provides a link with the more detailed range of educational indicators available from the four-yearly Surveys of Education and Training. Specifically, the supplementary survey provides information on: people presently participating in education; level of highest non-school qualification; characteristics of people's transition between education and work; and data on apprentices.

3 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.

4 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 more 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).


5 In October 2003, the ABS began the progressive implementation of computer assisted interviewing (CAI) into the LFS (and its supplementary surveys). Under CAI, interviewers record responses directly onto an electronic questionnaire in a notebook computer.

6 In the May 2004 survey, the CAI method was used on a random sub-sample of 40% of survey interviews. The remaining 60% of interviews were conducted using the traditional 'pen and paper' method. In the 2005 and 2006 surveys, the CAI method was used for all survey interviews. The change of interviewing method is not expected to have affected the SEW estimates in any meaningful way.


7 The conceptual framework used in Australia's LFS 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. 6102.0.55.001) which is available on the ABS web site <https://www.abs.gov.au> (Methods, Classifications, Concepts & Standards).


8 The scope of the supplementary survey was restricted to persons aged 15-64 years and excludes the following persons:

  • members of the permanent defence forces
  • certain diplomatic personnel of overseas governments, customarily excluded from the Census and estimated resident population figures
  • overseas residents in Australia
  • members of non-Australian defence forces (and their dependants)
  • persons permanently unable to work.

9 Patients in hospitals, residents of homes (e.g. retirement homes, homes for persons with disabilities), boarding school pupils and inmates of prisons are excluded from all supplementary surveys.

10 Boarding school pupils have been excluded from the scope of the 2005 and 2006 SEW, but were included in earlier collections. The 2004 survey had yielded an estimated 24,100 boarding school pupils aged 15 years and over. Such persons were assumed to be 'not in the labour force' and to be enrolled for secondary school study - 'Year 12 or below'. They were also assumed to be usually resident in the same location (i.e. state and territory and part of state or territory) as their school. The only information collected directly on these persons was age, sex and marital status. All other characteristics were unknown.

11 This supplementary survey was conducted in both urban and rural areas in all states and territories, but excluded 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 23% of the population.


12 The estimates in this publication relate to persons covered by the survey in May 2006. 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.


13 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 more information see 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.


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


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

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

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


18 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.

19 Level of Education is defined as a function of the quality and quantity of learning involved in an educational activity. There are nine broad levels, 15 narrow levels and 64 detailed levels. For definitions of these levels see the Australian Standard Classification of Education (ASCED), 2001 (cat. no. 1272.0).

20 The relationship between categories in the Level of Education classification should be essentially ordinal. In other words, educational activities at Broad Level 1 Postgraduate Degree should be at a higher level than those at Broad Level 2 Graduate Diploma and Graduate Certificate, and so on. However, when this idea is applied to the reality of educational provision in Australia, it is not always possible to assert that an ordinal relationship exists among the various levels of education.

21 This is particularly evident in the case of the relationship between Certificates I-IV in Broad Level 5 Certificate Level, and School Education included in Broad Level 6 Secondary Education. In this instance, the level of education associated with secondary education may range from satisfying the entry requirements for admission to a university degree course, to the completion of units in basic literacy, numeracy and life skills. Educational activity in these categories may therefore be of an equal, higher or lower level than Certificates found in Broad Level 5 Certificate Level.

22 Field of Education is defined as the subject matter of an educational activity. Fields of education are related to each other through the similarity of subject matter, through the broad purpose for which the education is undertaken, and through the theoretical content which underpins the subject matter.

23 There are 12 broad fields, 71 narrow fields and 356 detailed fields. For definitions of these fields see the Australian Standard Classification of Education (ASCED), 2001 (cat. no. 1272.0).


24 Level of Highest Educational Attainment can be derived from information on Highest Year of School Completed and Level of Highest Non-school Qualification. The derivation process determines which of the 'non-school' or 'school' attainments will be regarded as the highest. Usually the higher ranking attainment will be self-evident, but in some cases some Secondary Education is regarded, for the purposes of obtaining a single measure, as higher than some Certificate level attainments.

25 The following decision table is used to determine which of the responses to questions on Highest Year of School Completed (coded to ASCED Broad Level 6) and Level of Highest Non-school Qualification (coded to ASCED Broad Level 5) will be regarded as the highest. It is emphasised that this table was designed for the purpose of obtaining a single value for the output variable Level of Highest Educational Attainment and is not intended to convey any other ordinality.


26 The decision table is also used to rank the information provided in a survey about the qualifications and attainments of a single individual. It does not represent any basis for comparison between differing qualifications. For example, a person whose Highest Year of School Completed was Year 12, and whose Level of Highest Non-school Qualification was a Certificate III, would have those responses crosschecked on the decision table and would as a result have their Level of Highest Educational Attainment output as Certificate III. However, if the same person answered 'Certificate' to the highest non-school qualification question, without offering any further detail, it would be crosschecked against Year 12 on the decision table as 'Certificate not further defined'. The output would then be 'Year 12'. The decision table, therefore, does not necessarily imply that one qualification is 'higher' than the other.


27 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 2004 to take account of the results of the 2001 Census of Population and Housing. Estimates from supplementary surveys conducted from and including February 2004 are therefore based on revised population benchmarks.

28 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. Since it was introduced, this survey has been conducted on various proportional samples and therefore sampling errors associated with previous supplementary surveys may vary from the sampling error for this survey.

29 Boarding school pupils have been excluded from the scope of the 2005 and 2006 SEW, but were included in earlier collections. See paragraph 10 of the Explanatory Notes for further details.


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


31 Results of similar surveys have been given in previous issues of this publication. These surveys were conducted annually from February 1964 to February 1974, in May 1975 and 1976, in August 1977 and 1978, and annually in May since 1979. Results of previous surveys were published in:

  • Transition from Education to Work, Australia, (cat. no. 6227.0)
  • Standard data service, Transition from Education to Work, Australia, May 1995 (cat. no. 6227.0.40.001 - available in hardcopy only)
  • Education and Work, Australia (cat. no. 6227.0).


32 The ABS intends to conduct this survey again in May 2007.


33 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.


34 Other publications which may be of interest include:

  • A Directory of Education and Training Statistics (cat. no. 1136.0)
  • Education and Training Experience, Australia (cat. no. 6278.0) - issued four-yearly, latest issue 2005 released in May 2006
  • Education and Training Indicators, Australia (cat. no. 4230.0) - issued irregularly, first issue 2002 released in December 2002
  • Labour Force, Australia (cat. no. 6202.0) - issued monthly
  • Schools, Australia (cat. no. 4221.0) - issued annually, latest issue 2005 released in February 2006
  • Information Paper: Measuring Learning in Australia, Dictionary of Standards for Education and Training Statistics (cat. no. 4232.0.55.001) - issued irregularly, latest issue 2004 released in October 2004
  • Information Paper: Measuring Learning in Australia, Framework for Education and Training Statistics (cat. no. 4213.0) - released on a single issue basis in January 2003
  • Information Paper: Measuring Learning in Australia, Plan to Improve the Quality, Coverage and Use of Education and Training Statistics (cat. no. 4231.0) - issued irregularly, first issue 2004 released in September 2004.

35 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 the ABS web site <https://www.abs.gov.au>. The ABS also issues a daily Release Advice on the web site which details products to be released in the week ahead.