6342.0 - Working Arrangements, Australia, Nov 2003  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 09/06/2004   
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1 The statistics in this publication were compiled from data collected in the Working Arrangements Survey conducted throughout Australia in November 2003 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 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 which are relevant to both the monthly LFS and supplementary surveys.

3 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 further 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).


4 The ABS has begun the progressive implementation of computer assisted interviewing (CAI) into the LFS. Under CAI, interviewers record responses directly onto an electronic questionnaire in a laptop computer.

5 In the November survey, the CAI method was used on a random 10% sub-sample of survey interviews. The remaining 90% of interviews were conducted using the traditional 'pen and paper' method. The change of interviewing method is not expected to affect the published estimates in any meaningful way.


6 The conceptual framework used in Australia's Labour Force Survey 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) which is also available on the ABS web site <https://www.abs.gov.au> (About Statistics - Statistical Concepts and Classifications).


7 The scope of the LFS was restricted to persons aged 15 years and over and excluded the following persons:

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

8 Students at boarding schools, patients in hospitals, residents of homes (e.g. retirement homes, homes for persons with disabilities), and inmates of prisons are excluded from all supplementary surveys.

9 The survey was conducted in both urban and rural areas in all states and territories, but excluded approximately 120,000 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 produced for individual states and territories, except the Northern Territory where such persons account for around 20% of the population.

10 In addition to those already excluded from the LFS, employees who worked solely for payment in kind in their main job and persons aged 15-19 years who were attending school are also excluded from this survey.


11 The estimates in this publication relate to persons covered by the survey in November 2003. 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.


12 The initial sample for the November LFS consisted of 40,084 private dwelling households and special dwelling units. Of the 33,002 private dwelling households and special dwelling units that remained in the survey after sample loss (e.g. households selected in the survey which had no residents in scope for the LFS, vacant or derelict dwellings and dwellings under construction), approximately 30,861 or 93.5% were fully responding to the Working Arrangements survey. The number of completed interviews obtained from these private dwelling households and special dwelling units (after taking into account scope, coverage and subsampling exclusions) was 25,457.


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 further information on sampling error refer to 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 through 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, may not be representative of other months of the year.


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

16 Industry data are classified according to 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 November 2003 there were 46,400 persons for whom sector of main job could not be determined. These persons were included in the private sector for the purpose of this publication.

19 Those persons who were away from work for four weeks or more were not asked if they worked shift work in the last four weeks. In the 2000 publication, this resulted in an additional 43,500 persons being included in the 'Did not work shift work in the last four weeks' category. In 2003 this group has been shown separately in the category 'Away from work for the last four weeks'.

20 Those persons who usually work 35 hours or more are not asked if they work in a job-share arrangement. In the 2000 publication some 5,698,600 persons who usually work 35 hours or more were included in the 'Does not job-share' category. In 2003 this group has been shown separately in the category 'Does not usually work part-time'.


21 Revisions are made to population benchmarks for the LFS after each five-yearly Census of Population and Housing. The estimates for this survey are based on the revision made in February 1999 to take account of the results of the 1996 Census of Population and Housing.

22 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. As a result of the reduction in sample size, standard errors for this survey differ from those applicable to previous surveys.

23 Since the release of the 2000 survey results, it has been identified that 'with leave entitlements' was calculated incorrectly in 2000. Those who had only paid sick leave or paid holiday leave, but not both types of leave, were incorrectly classified as being without leave entitlements. The number of employees excluded in 2000 was 199,000. The total number with leave entitlements in 2000 should have been 5,722,100 (74.2%) of employees compared to 71.6% as published.

24 A change was made in the method used to determine whether an employee works full-time or part-time in their main job. Previously, 'full-time or part-time employees in main job' was derived from a self-perception question in which all employees were asked 'Is your job full-time or part-time?'. Following the redesign in 2001 of the LFS questionnaire, actual hours worked in main job in the reference week is now collected. For the November 2003 survey, data on hours worked in main job are used to derive full-time or part-time status of employees in main job.

25 This approach is consistent with the method used in the LFS to derive full-time or part-time status in all jobs. For further details see Glossary entries 'Full-time employees in main job' and 'Full-time workers'.


26 Due to differences in 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.


27 Results of similar surveys, conducted in August 1993, August 1995, August 1997 and November 2000 were published in Working Arrangements, Australia (cat. no. 6342.0), and in the standard data service Working Arrangements, Australia (cat. no. 6342.0.40.001).


28 The ABS plans to conduct this survey again in November 2006.


29 ABS surveys draw extensively on information provided 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.


30 Other publications which may be of interest include:

  • Australian Labour Market Statistics, cat. no. 6105.0.
  • Employee Earnings, Benefits and Trade Union Membership, Australia cat. no. 6310.0.
  • Career Experience, Australia, cat. no. 6254.0.
  • Labour Force, Australia, cat. no. 6202.0.
  • Labour Statistics: Concepts, Sources and Methods, cat. no. 6102.0.

31 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 from 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.