6248.0.55.002 - Employment and Earnings, Public Sector, Australia, 2011-12 Quality Declaration 
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 11/12/2012   
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1 This publication contains estimates of public sector employees and cash wages and salaries obtained from the annual Survey of Employment and Earnings (SEE).


2 The conceptual framework used in SEE 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 employment and earnings 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).

3 Estimates of employee earnings presented in this publication are based on the Australian conceptual framework for measures of employee remuneration. Refer to paragraphs 22 and 23 for further details.


4 The businesses that contribute to the statistics in this publication are classified:

  • by institutional sector, in accordance with the Standard Institutional Sector Classification of Australia (SISCA), which is detailed in Standard Economic Classifications of Australia (SESCA) (cat. no. 1218.0);
  • by industry, in accordance with the Australian and New Zealand Standard Industrial Classification (ANZSIC), 2006 edition (cat. no. 1292.0);
  • by state and territory;
  • by level of government.


5 Although earnings estimates relate to the full twelve months, employment estimates relate to the last pay period ending in June of the given year. As a result, estimates of wages and salaries per person employed may be affected by any fluctuations in employment during the reference period.

6 Financial data incorporate all units in scope of the SEE that were in operation at any time during the year.


7 Type of Legal Organisation (TOLO) codes 21-36 are used to identify all public sector employing organisations. TOLOs 21-26 relate to Commonwealth government units, TOLOs 31-33 and 36 relate to State government units and TOLOs 34 and 35 relate to Local government units. These organisations and their employees are represented in the survey, except:
  • ANZSIC class 6330 Superannuation funds;
  • ANZSIC class 7552 Foreign government representation;
  • ANZSIC 9559 Other interest group services n.e.c. with SISCA 5000 Non profit institution serving households; and
  • ANZSIC subdivision 96 Private households employing staff and undifferentiated goods- and-service-producing activities of households for own use;

8 In general, the following organisations and their employees are excluded:
  • members of the Australian permanent defence forces;
  • employees of overseas embassies, consulates, etc.;
  • employees based outside Australia;
  • employees on workers' compensation who are not paid through the payroll;
  • directors and office holders of public sector organisations who are not paid a salary.


9 This section discusses frame, statistical units, coverage issues and improvements to coverage.


10 Businesses contributing to the estimates in this publication are sourced from the ABS Business Register (ABSBR), which has two components as described below.

Statistical units

11 The ABS uses an economic statistics units model on the ABSBR to describe the characteristics of businesses, and the structural relationships between related businesses. Within large and diverse business groups, the units model is used to define reporting units that can provide data to the ABS at suitable levels of detail.

12 In mid 2002, the ABS commenced sourcing its register information from the Australian Business Register and at that time changed its business register to a two population model. The two populations comprise what is called the Profiled population and the Non-profiled population. The main distinction between businesses in the two populations relates to the complexity of the business structure and the degree of intervention required to reflect the business structure for statistical purposes.

Non-profiled population

13 The majority of businesses included on the ABS Business Register are in the Non-profiled population. Most of these businesses are understood to have simple structures. For these businesses, the ABS is able to use the Australian Business Number (ABN) as the basis for a statistical unit. One ABN equates to one statistical unit.

Profiled population

14 For the population of businesses where the ABN unit is not suitable for ABS statistical requirements, the ABS maintains its own units structure through direct contact with the business. These businesses constitute the Profiled population. This population consists typically of large, complex and diverse businesses. The statistical units model described below caters for such businesses.
  • Enterprise group: This is a unit covering all the operations in Australia of one or more legal entities under common ownership and/or control. It covers all the operations in Australia of legal entities which are related in terms of the current Corporations Law (as amended by the Corporations Legislation Amendment Act 1991), including legal entities such as companies, trusts and partnerships. Majority ownership is not required for control to be exercised.
  • Enterprise: The enterprise is an institutional unit comprising:
      • a single legal entity or business entity, or
      • more than one legal entity or business entity within the same enterprise group and in the same institutional subsector (i.e. they are all classified to a single SISCA subsector).
  • Type of activity unit (TAU): The TAU is comprised of one or more business entities, sub-entities or branches of a business entity within an enterprise group that can report production and employment data for similar economic activities. When a minimum set of data items is available, a TAU is created which covers all the operations within an industry subdivision (and the TAU is classified to the relevant subdivision of the ANZSIC). Where a business cannot supply adequate data for each industry, a TAU is formed which contains activity in more than one industry subdivision.


15 The SEE uses a sample survey methodology and collects information using a mail-out/mail-back collection methodology. Some government departments provide their information to the ABS electronically.

16 The statistical unit for the survey comprises all activities of a public sector employing unit in a particular state or territory. Statistical units are stratified by state, industry and employment size, and within each stratum, statistical units are selected with equal probability.

17 A sample of public sector employing units is selected from the ABN and TAU units on the ABS Business Register to ensure adequate state and industry representation. Commencing with the 2008-09 survey, a sample redesign was implemented based on the 2006 edition of ANZSIC. The sample for the 2007-08 survey was designed on both the 2006 and 1993 editions of ANZSIC.

18 Commencing with the 2008-09 survey, the ABS also implemented a number of improvements to the ABS Business Register. Employment benchmarks for non-profiled population units (refer paragraph 14) have been updated to reflect more up-to-date information for use in stratification and estimation.

19 Due to the sample redesign, the sample size has decreased from about 2,500 employer units for the 2007-08 survey to about 2,000 units for 2008-09 onwards. The reduced sample size has resulted in increased standard errors for the 2008-09 estimates, compared with the 2007-08 estimates.


20 Estimates of employee remuneration for the public sector are one of the inputs to the gross domestic product component of the Australian National Accounts, specifically compensation of employees estimates. The private sector component of compensation of employees estimates are provided by the Quarterly Business Indicators Survey which are published in Business Indicators, Australia (cat. no. 5676.0). For further details see Australian National Accounts: Concepts, Sources and Methods (cat. no. 5216.0).


21 The SEE was not conducted in respect of 2010-11. The 2010-11 estimates of public sector employment and cash wages and salaries were produced from the Major Labour Costs Survey.

22 As noted in paragraph 3, estimates of employee earnings from the annual survey have been produced in accordance with the Australian conceptual framework for measures of employee remuneration.

23 The measure of employee earnings presented for the annual series is 'cash wages and salaries', which is regular and irregular wages and salaries in cash, including amounts salary sacrificed.

24 Care should also be taken when comparing data for the public sector over time. Estimates of public sector employment and earnings can change over time due to: privatisation of public financial and public trading enterprises; changes to machinery of government, especially resulting from a change of government; and other changes to statistical unit structures, including industry classification, resulting from periodic updating of the Profiled population (refer paragraph 15).


25 Estimates for the 2010-11 reference year have been revised since the previous issue of this publication due to correcting errors to previously published data and more recent data becoming available. The revisions are incorporated in this publication.


26 Where figures have been rounded, discrepancies may occur between sums of the component items and totals.


27 A range of further information is available, as described below.

Related publications

28 The following publications contain related information:
  • Australian Labour Market Statistics (cat. no. 6105.0);
  • Average Weekly Earnings, Australia (cat. no. 6302.0) - issued biannually;
  • Employee Earnings and Hours, Australia (cat. no. 6306.0) - issued biennially;
  • Information Paper: Changes to ABS Measures of Employee Remuneration (cat. no. 6313.0) - issued 14 November 2006;
  • Labour Force, Australia (cat. no. 6202.0) - issued monthly;
  • Wage Price Index, Australia (cat. no. 6345.0) - issued quarterly;
  • Labour Statistics: Concepts, Sources and Methods (cat. no. 6102.0.55.001);
  • Labour Costs, Australia, 2010-11 (cat. no. 6348.0) released 07 May 2012.

Other information available

29 As well as the statistics included in this and related publications, the ABS may have other relevant data available on request and for a charge. Inquiries should be made to the National Information and Referral Service on 1300 135 070.