6306.0 - Employee Earnings and Hours, Australia, May 2014 Quality Declaration 
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 22/01/2015   
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This document was added 18/01/2017.



PEOPLE PAID AN APPRENTICE/TRAINEE OR DISABILITY RATE OF PAY


INTRODUCTION

This article presents information about employees paid at an apprentice/trainee or disability rate of pay in Australia. The article examines the prevalence of these employees and describes their characteristics by analysing data collected in the 2014 Employee Earnings and Hours (EEH) survey.

BACKGROUND

The EEH survey, conducted by the ABS, is designed to provide detailed statistics on the composition and distribution of employee earnings, hours paid for and the methods used to set employees' pay. Information is collected from a sample of employers about the characteristics of the employer (such as industry and sector) and their employees (such as occupation, type of employee, and method of setting pay). This information is used to provide comprehensive statistics about earnings and hours paid for, for various groups of employees classified by such categories as industry, occupation or pay setting method.

For the first time, the 2014 EEH survey collected data about employees who are paid either an apprentice/trainee or disability rate of pay. This was in response to a review of EEH content during 2013, which identified that information on earnings of both these groups is important, and can be used in developing policies, for example:

  • apprenticeship/traineeship rate of pay in the broader context of skills and investment,
  • disability rate of pay in the context of increasing workforce participation of people with a disability.

People employed as apprentices and trainees may be paid more than the apprentice/trainee rate of pay specified in awards. Similarly, employed people with a disability may not be paid a reduced rate of pay based on assessed work capacity. The rate of pay data in EEH specifically reflects the actual rate paid by the employer to an employee. Therefore, the analysis in this article may not relate to all people employed as apprentice/trainees, nor all employees with a disability. It follows that these data may not be equivalent to data on apprentices/trainees or workers with a disability from alternative sources. A brief comparison between EEH and some alternative data sources is included in the article.

PREVALENCE AND PAY

Throughout this article, data and analysis refers to ordinary time hourly rates of pay for non-managerial employees (endnote 1).

In May 2014, there were 9.1 million non-managerial employees (employee jobs). Of these, 188,100 (2.1%) employees were paid an apprentice/trainee rate, while 13,100 (0.1%) were paid a disability rate.

On average, employees paid an adult rate of pay received $35.70 per hour, and employees paid a junior rate received $16.60 per hour. Employees on an apprentice/trainee rate received $15.90 per hour, and those on a disability rate received $7.00 per hour from the employer. It should be noted that such data do not necessarily represent like for like comparisons between groups; many factors, including those covered below, contribute to an employee's level of earnings and these factors can be difficult to analyse independently.

CHARACTERISTICS OF EMPLOYEES PAID AN APPRENTICE/TRAINEE OR DISABILITY RATE

Age

As would be expected, given the training based nature of apprenticeships/traineeships, most employees paid at such a rate were 24 years old or younger (85%).

There is considerable interest in the rate of pay for apprentices/trainees by age. The proportion of apprentices/trainees by age group, and mean and median hourly rates, are shown below. It is important to note that the rate of pay may vary for each year of an apprenticeship irrespective of, or in addition to, the age of the apprentice/trainee. Year of apprenticeship information is not collected in the EEH survey.

Hourly earnings of employees paid an apprentice/trainee rate, by age
Age
Percent of employees on an apprentice/trainee rate (%)
Mean hourly earnings ($)
Median hourly earnings ($)
19 years and under
46.0
12.80
12.00
20-24
38.6
17.10
17.00
25-34
11.1
21.80
19.00
35-44
3.0 *
18.90
18.00
45-54
0.8 *
17.20
16.00
55 and over
0.3 **
22.70
20.00
All ages
100.0
15.90
15.00
* estimate has a relative standard error between 25% and 50% and should be used with caution
** estimate has a relative standard error greater than 50% and is considered too unreliable for general use

Over 9 in ten employees paid a disability rate were 25 years or older. More than half of employees paid a disability rate were aged 35 years or older. The age distribution for apprentice/trainee employees is markedly different from that of all employees, particularly for younger ages (see graph below).

Age profile of employees, selected pay rates
Graph: Age profile of employees, selected pay rates


Industry

The industry division with the highest share (36%) of employees paid an apprentice/trainee rate was Construction (67,700 employees); with 85% of these working in the Construction services subdivision.

The Other services industry division employed the second highest share (12%) of employees paid an apprentice/trainee rate (21,700 employees). Of these employees:
  • 57% worked in the Personal and other services subdivision, and
  • 43% worked in the Repair and maintenance subdivision.

More than half (52%) of employees paid a disability rate were employed in the Health care and social assistance industry division, (6,800 employees); with most of these (90%) employed in the Social assistance services subdivision.

The Administrative and support services industry employed 18% of employees on a disability rate (2,400 employees), with over half of these in the Building cleaning, pest control and other support services subdivision.

Occupation

Over three quarters (77%) of employees on an apprentice/trainee rate were Technicians and trade workers (144,400 employees).

Most (60%) employees on a disability rate of pay were Labourers (7,900 employees); followed by Clerical and administrative service workers (11% or 1,400 employees). Over three quarters (78%) of the Labourers were Factory process workers.

Method of setting pay

Over half (57%) of employees on an apprentice/trainee rate of pay were paid according to an award, and 29% were paid by individual arrangements. It is possible that many of these individual arrangements reflect a rate of pay referenced to an award. Fewer than 15% of employees paid an apprentice/trainee rate had their pay set by a collective agreement.

For employees paid a disability rate:
  • almost half (49%) were paid according to an award
  • 41% had their pay set by collective agreement, and
  • 10% had their pay set by individual arrangements.

The prevalence of the methods of setting pay, and associated hourly earnings, for those paid an apprentice/trainee or disability rate are shown in the table below.

Hourly earnings of employees paid an apprentice/trainee rate or disability rate, by method of setting pay
Apprentice/trainee rate
Disability rate
Method of setting pay
Percent of employees (%)
Mean hourly earnings ($)
Median hourly earnings ($)
Percent of employees (%)
Mean hourly earnings ($)
Median hourly earnings ($)
Award
57.0
13.40
12.00
48.9
7.10
4.00
Collective agreement
14.2
23.00
20.00
41.2
5.90
5.00
Individual arrangement
28.8
17.40
17.00
9.9
12.00
14.00
Total
100.0
15.90
15.00
100.0
7.00
5.00

Employer size

Employees who were paid an apprentice/trainee rate were most likely to be working in a small business. Businesses with under 20 employees accounted for 58% of employees paid such a rate.

Most employees paid a disability rate were employed by a large business. Businesses employing:
  • 100-999 employees employed 50%
  • 1,000 or more employees employed 21%
of all employees paid a disability rate.

ALTERNATIVE SOURCES AVAILABLE

There are a number of alternative data sources that provide information about people working as apprentices/trainees as well as employment of people with a disability. The data provided in EEH relate specifically to employees paid a specified rate of pay, e.g. apprentice/trainee rate.

Differences in scope, coverage and methodology between the sources affect comparability. The tables below provide a brief comparison of some of these data sources.

Sources of data on apprentices/trainees
Data sourceEEH (business survey)National Apprentice and Trainee CollectionSurvey of Education and Work (household survey)
Designed to measureComposition and distribution of employee earnings and hours paid for, as well as information on how employee rate of pay is setAll persons employed under a training contract, including both apprentices and traineesInformation on participation in education, highest educational attainment, transition from education to work and current labour force status
How apprentice/trainee population identifiedEmployers selected in the survey identify employees who are paid an apprentice/trainee rate of pay
Employer characteristics available, with accurate employee characteristics, e.g. earnings, occupation
Administrative collection of registered training contracts
Complete coverage
Details of the number of apprentices/trainees and details of their contract
Apprentices or trainees are those identified as participating in the Australian Apprenticeship Scheme
LimitationsSurvey run every 2 years
Data item includes only apprentices/trainees who were paid at this rate
No information available about year of apprenticeship
Excludes employees from businesses primarily engaged in Agriculture, forestry and fishing
Only employed in the reference period
Sample survey with associated sampling errors
Data require revisions due to reporting lags
Changes in reporting patterns over time would introduce bias into estimates, as historical reporting patterns are used to adjust estimates for recent periods
Some respondents report on behalf of others in the household which can affect the quality of data reported
Fewer and less robust information about business characteristics
Sample survey with associated sampling errors
Estimate (number of apprentices/trainees)188,100 (non-managerial employees who are paid apprentice/trainee rate)351,000 (June 2014, as released at 1 December 2014)
Includes identified apprentices/trainees regardless of their rate of pay
181,700 (May 2014)
Primary publicationEmployee Earnings and Hours, Australia (ABS cat. no. 6306.0)Apprentices and trainees data (National Centre for Vocational Education Research)
Quarterly data and annual historical data available
Education and Work, Australia (ABS cat. no. 6227.0)


Sources of data on employees with a disability
Data sourceEEH (business survey)Disability Employment Services dataSurvey of Disability, Ageing and Carers (household survey)
Designed to measureComposition and distribution of employee earnings and hours paid for, as well as information on how employee rate of pay is setKey data for the Disability Employment Services programThe prevalence of disability in Australia
The need for support of older people and those with disability
A demographic and socio-economic profile of people with disability, older people and carers compared with the general population
Estimate the number of, and provide information about people who provide care to people with disability, long-term health conditions and older people
How population of people with a disability identifiedEmployers selected in the survey identify employees who are paid a disability rate of pay
Employer characteristics available, with accurate employee characteristics, e.g. earnings, occupation
Administrative collection based on the Disability Employment Services programDetailed screening approach to identify people with disability
Detailed data on disability, including level of disability
Extensive information on employee socio-demographic characteristics
LimitationsSurvey run every 2 years
Data item includes only employees with a disability who were paid at this rate
No information available about severity of employee's disability
Excludes employees from businesses primarily engaged in Agriculture, forestry and fishing
Only employed in the reference period
Sample survey with associated sampling errors
Refers to caseload of people using the services only, including those who are looking for work, those preparing to enter employment, and those who require any ongoing support in the workplace. Short-term employment outcomes of program available, but not current employment nor total employment over the long term as a result of the program.
Data will not include people with a disability who are employed through other channels
Current frequency 3-yearly
Fewer and less robust information about business characteristics
Sample survey with associated sampling errors
Includes only people with a disability in the 15-64 year age group
Estimate (number of employees with a disability)13,100 (non-managerial employees who are paid disability rate)158,900 (May 2014 active caseload)
Includes people who are employed, and people who are not employed
144,100 (employed with profound or severe core activity limitation)
(data at 2012)
Includes employees with a disability regardless of their rate of pay
Primary publicationEmployee Earnings and Hours, Australia (ABS cat. no. 6306.0)Disability Employment Services data (Department of Employment)
Monthly data available
Disability, Ageing and Carers, Australia: Summary of Findings (ABS cat. no. 4430.0)

ENDNOTES

1. Full-time non-managerial ordinary time weekly earnings from EEH is a widely used measure, as it is unaffected by several compositional factors:
  • people working part-time hours,
  • people who are upper level managers (and have different salaries to other employees, e.g. people who work in their own incorporated business),
  • different rates of pay for overtime hours.

A prominent fraction of Australia's workforce are part-time, and it is not appropriate to exclude them from the analysis in this article. In particular, over half of those paid a disability rate of pay were part-time. Thus, ordinary time hourly rates for all non-managerial employees are used in this article.