6239.0 - Barriers and Incentives to Labour Force Participation, Australia, July 2012 to June 2013 Quality Declaration 
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 28/11/2013   
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1 The statistics presented in this publication were compiled from data collected in the MPHS that was conducted throughout Australia in the 2012–13 financial year as a supplement to the ABS monthly LFS. The MPHS is designed to provide statistics annually for a small number of labour, social and economic topics. The topics collected in 2012–13 were:

2 For all topics, information on labour force characteristics, education, income and other demographics are also available.

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 monthly LFS, which also apply to the MPHS. It also contains definitions of demographic and labour force characteristics, and information about telephone interviewing which are relevant to both the monthly LFS and the MPHS.

4 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).

5 ABS interviewers conducted interviews by either telephone or in person at selected dwellings during the 2012–13 financial year. Each month a sample of dwellings were selected for the MPHS from the responding households in the LFS. In these dwellings, after the LFS had been fully completed for each person, a usual resident aged 15 years and over was selected at random and asked the additional MPHS questions in a personal interview. Information was collected using Computer Assisted Interviewing (CAI), whereby responses are recorded directly onto an electronic questionnaire in a notebook computer.

6 The scope of the LFS is restricted to people aged 15 years and over and excludes the following people:

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

7 In addition the 2012–13 MPHS excluded the following:
  • people living in Indigenous communities in very remote parts of Australia; and
  • people living in non-private dwellings such as hotels, university residences, students at boarding schools, patients in hospitals, inmates of prisons and residents of other institutions (e.g. retirement homes, homes for people with disabilities).

8 For the Barriers and Incentives to Labour Force Participation topic, the scope was further restricted to people aged 18 years and over.

9 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 The initial sample for the MPHS 2012–13 consisted of approximately 23,000 private dwellings. Of the 15,300 private dwellings that remained in the survey after sample loss (e.g. households with LFS non-response, no residents in scope for the LFS, vacant or derelict dwellings and dwellings under construction), approximately 78% were fully responding to the MPHS. The number of completed interviews obtained from these private dwellings (after taking into account scope, coverage and sub-sampling exclusions) was 8,200 for the Barriers and Incentives to Labour Force Participation survey.

11 Weighting is the process of adjusting results from a sample survey to infer results for the total in scope population. To do this, a 'weight' is allocated to each sample unit, which, for the MPHS, can either be a person or a household. The weight is a value which indicates how many population units are represented by the sample unit. The first step in calculating weights for each unit is to assign an initial weight, which is the inverse of the probability of being selected in the survey. The initial weights are then calibrated to align with independent estimates of the population of interest, referred to as 'benchmarks'. Weights are calibrated against population benchmarks to ensure that the survey estimates conform to the independently estimated distribution of the population rather than the distribution within the sample itself.

12 The 2012-13 survey was benchmarked to the projected civilian population aged 15 years and over, living in private dwellings in each state and territory. The process of weighting ensures that the survey estimates conform to person benchmarks by state, part of state, age and sex, and to household benchmarks by state, part of state and household composition. These benchmarks are produced from estimates of the resident population derived independently of the survey. The estimation procedure ensures estimates of persons calibrate exactly to independently produced population totals at broad levels. The known population totals are produced according to the scope of the survey. The same is true for estimates of households produced in this survey. However, in these cases the household benchmarks are actually estimates themselves as this population is not known.

13 This survey has been weighted using the latest estimates of the population, based on quarterly Estimated Resident Population. While Labour Force survey benchmarks are revised every 5 years, to take into account the outcome of the 5-yearly rebasing of the Estimated Resident Population following the latest Census, the supplementary surveys and multi-purpose household surveys (from which the statistics in this publication are taken) are not. Small differences will therefore exist between the civilian population aged 15 years and over reflected in the Labour Force survey and other labour household surveys estimates, as well as over time (eg. between the 2010-11 and 2012-13 Barriers and Incentives to Labour Force Participation surveys).

14 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 effective processing procedures.

15 Country of birth data are classified according to the Standard Australian Classification of Countries (SACC), 2011 (cat. no. 1269.0).

16 Occupation data are classified according to the ANZSCO – Australian and New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations, 2013, Version 1.2 (cat. no. 1220.0).

17 Industry data are classified according to the Australian and New Zealand Standard Industrial Classification (ANZSIC), 2006 (Revision 2.0) (cat. no. 1292.0).

18 Educational attainment data are classified according to the Australian Standard Classification of Education (ASCED), 2001 (cat. no. 1272.0).
19 Due to difference in the scope and sample size of the MPHS and that of LFS, the estimation procedure may lead to some variations between labour force estimates from this survey and those from LFS.

20 Changes to the LFS population benchmarks impact primarily on the magnitude of the Labour Force estimates (i.e. employment and unemployment) that are directly related to the underlying size of the population. For more details on population benchmarks used in the Labour Force Survey, see the Explanatory Notes in Labour Force, Australia (cat. no. 6202.0). See paragraph 13 for issues to note when comparing with estimates from 2012–13 with previous surveys.

21 The Barriers and Incentives to Labour Force Participation survey was last conducted in the 2010–11 financial year. Results of this survey were published in:


22 The following changes were made to the Barriers and Incentives to Labour Force Participation survey for the 2012–13 cycle:
  • For the 2012–13 survey, the scope of the survey was changed to include employed people who were working less than 35 hours, in addition to those not employed. For previous surveys, only employed people who worked less than 16 hours were included in the survey;
  • The 2012–13 survey included questions on incentives to join or increase participation in the labour force. Some enhancements were made to these questions since they were last included in the 2008–09 survey; and
  • For the 2012–13 survey, the new items satisfaction with current hours worked and satisfaction with current work arrangements were included and have been shown in this publication. Data is also available for the other new items, preferred number of hours per week for the unemployed and long-term health conditions.

23 For a more detailed list of available data items and their categories – Barriers & Incentives to Labour Force Participation and Retirement & Retirement Intentions 2012–13 Data Items List, is available in an excel spreadsheet, on the ABS Website under the Downloads section.

24 The ABS plans to conduct this survey again during the 2014–15 financial year.

25 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.

26 An electronic version of the tables released in this publication is available on the ABS web site in spreadsheets attached to this publication. The spreadsheets present the tables and the related relative standard errors (RSEs) for each publication table.

27 ABS publications which may also be of interest include:

28 Current publications and other products released by the ABS are available from the Statistics Page on the ABS website. The ABS also issues a daily Release Advice on the website which details products to be released in the week ahead.