6239.0 - Barriers and Incentives to Labour Force Participation, Australia, July 2014 to June 2015 Quality Declaration 
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 03/05/2016   
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1 This publication contains results from the Barriers and Incentives to Labour Force Participation Survey, a topic on the Multipurpose Household Survey (MPHS) conducted throughout Australia from July 2014 to June 2015. The MPHS is conducted by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) as a supplement to the monthly Labour Force Survey (LFS), and is designed to collect statistics for a number of small, self-contained topics. The topics collected in 2014–15 were:

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

3 The publication Labour Force, Australia (cat. no. 6202.0) contains information about survey design, sample design, 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 the modes of data collection, 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 personal interviews by either telephone or in person at selected households during the 2014–15 financial year. Each month a sample of households were selected for the MPHS from the responding households in the LFS. In these households, 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 persons aged 15 years and over and excludes the following:
  • members of the permanent defence forces;
  • certain diplomatic personnel of overseas governments, customarily excluded from census and estimated population counts;
  • overseas residents in Australia; and
  • members of non-Australian defence forces (and their dependants).

7 In addition the 2014–15 MPHS excluded the following:
  • households in Indigenous communities; and
  • persons living in non-private households 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 persons with disabilities).

8 For the Barriers and Incentives to Labour Force Participation topic, the scope was further restricted to persons 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 household and hence has only one chance of selection in the survey. See the Explanatory Notes of Labour Force, Australia (cat. no. 6202.0) for more details.


10 The initial sample for the MPHS 2014–15 consisted of approximately 23,000 private households. Of the 13,800 private households 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 73% fully responded to the MPHS. The number of completed interviews obtained from these private households (after taking into account scope, coverage and sub-sampling exclusions) was 5,500 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 statistics presented in this survey have been benchmarked to the Estimated Resident Population for March 2015, independently produced according to the scope of the survey. This ensures that the survey estimates conform to person benchmarks by state, section of state, age and sex. The statistics have been further benchmarked to LFS estimates averaged over the 12 month MPHS reference period. This ensures that survey estimates are also consistent with the estimated in-scope population by state, section of state, sex, age and labour force status.


13 Estimates in this publication are subject to sampling and non-sampling errors:
  • Sampling errors are the difference between the published estimate and the value that would have been produced if all households had been included in the survey (for more information see the Technical Note); and
  • Non-sampling errors are inaccuracies that occur because of, for example, 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 minimise non-sampling error by careful design of questionnaires, intensive training and supervision of interviewers, and effective processing procedures.


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

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

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


17 To minimise the risk of identifying individuals in aggregate statistics, a technique is used to randomly adjust cell values. This technique is called perturbation. Perturbation involves small random adjustment of the statistics and is considered the most satisfactory technique for avoiding the release of information that could identify individual survey respondents while maximising the range of information that can be released. These adjustments have a negligible impact on the underlying pattern of the statistics. After perturbation, a given published cell will be consistent across all tables. However, adding up cell values to derive a total will not necessarily give the same result as published totals.


18 Due to differences 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.


19 The Barriers to Labour Force Participation survey was last conducted in the 2012–13 financial year. Results of this survey were published in:


20 For the 2012–13 survey, questions were included on Previous full-time job details and Main source of current personal income. These were excluded from the 2014–15 survey.

21 For the 2014–15 survey, enhancements were made to the Previous job payment arrangements question, adding the response category of 'Unpaid trainee/work placement'. Enhancements were also made to survey questions on why not looking for work or more hours, trouble finding work or more hours and wanting more hours. The response categories of 'No need/satisfied with current arrangements/retired (for now)' and 'Visa requirements' were added to these questions.

22 For a more detailed list of available data items and their categories – Barriers & Incentives to Labour Force Participation and Retirement & Retirement Intentions 2014–15 Data Items List, is available in an Excel spreadsheet, on the ABS Website under the Downloads section.


23 The ABS plans to conduct this survey again during the 2016–17 financial year.


24 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.


25 ABS publications which may also be of interest include: