6227.0.30.001 - Survey of Education and Work, Australia - Confidentialised Unit Record File, 2001  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 28/07/2003   
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  • For further information about these and related statistics, contact the National Centre for Education and Training Statistics on 02 6252 7934.
  • For further information about ABS statistics and services, contact the National Information Service on 1300 135 070.


Appendix 1: Populations
Appendix 2: Data item list
Appendix 3: Technical information


ABSAustralian Bureau of Statistics
ABSCQAustralian Bureau of Statistics Classification of Qualifications
ANZSICAustralian and New Zealand Standard Industrial Classification
ASCEDAustralian Standard Classification of Education
CURFConfidentialised Unit Record File
n.f.d.not further defined
SEWSurvey of Education and Work
TAFETechnical and Further Education



This Information Paper provides full details about the release of microdata from the 2001 Survey of Education and Work (SEW). The data will be released as a Confidentialised Unit Record File (CURF) on CD-ROM, with the approval of the Australian Statistician.

A full list of items and associated populations can be found on the CD ROM as Appendices 1 and 2.

The CURF will enable purchasers to tabulate, manipulate and analyse data to their own specifications.

More detailed information to assist in using the CURF, and in interpreting the data, is provided in the documentation on or accompanying the file, or otherwise through the ABS Website.


The SEW was conducted throughout Australia in May 2001 as a supplement to the monthly Labour Force Survey (LFS). Respondents to the LFS who fell within the scope of the supplementary survey were asked further questions.

Information collected included socio-demographic characteristics (such as age, sex and birthplace), employment characteristics (such as labour force status, occupation and industry), educational qualifications obtained (such as level and field of qualification), whether attended an educational institution and type of attendance in 2000, and whether attending an educational institution and type of attendance in May 2001.

Estimates from the survey, as well as more information on the survey sample, conceptual framework, definitions and methodology, explanatory notes and glossary, were published in Education and Work, Australia, 2001 (cat. no. 6227.0). This publication is on the CD-ROM as an Acrobat file 62270_2001.PDF.


The scope of this survey was persons aged 15-64 years, excluding the following:
  • members of the permanent defence forces
  • certain diplomatic personnel of overseas governments, customarily excluded from census and estimated populations
  • overseas residents in Australia
  • members of non-Australian defence forces (and their dependants)
  • persons permanently unable to work
  • institutionalised persons (e.g. patients in hospitals; residents of homes - retirement homes, homes for persons with disabilities; and inmates of prisons).

Students at boarding schools were in scope for this survey. The 2001 survey yielded an estimate of 19,200 boarding school pupils aged 15 years or more. The only other information collected on these persons was sex and age.

The survey was conducted in both urban and rural areas in all states and territories. However, people living in remote and sparsely settled parts of Australia were excluded. The exclusion of these people will only have a minor impact on any aggregate estimates that are produced for individual states and territories, with the exception of the Northern Territory where such people account for over 20% of the population.


Information was collected via face-to-face or telephone interviews conducted by trained interviewers who asked members of each household, or a responsible adult answering on behalf of other household members, detailed questions about their educational attainment and recent participation in education.


The data will be released under the Census and Statistics Act 1905 which has provision for the release of data in the form of unit records where the information is not likely to enable the identification of a particular person or organisation. Accordingly, there are no names or addresses of survey respondents on the CURF and some other steps have been taken to protect confidentiality, such as not including all data items that were collected and suppressing the detail of some other data items.

The SEW 2001 CURF contains 44,137 confidentialised respondent records from the survey and approximately 300 records where the field of education details were amended due to confidentiality reasons. A list of the data items, including a range of predefined populations to assist in analysing data in the CURF, is provided in Appendices 1 and 2.

Subject to the limitations of sample size and the data classifications used, it is possible to manipulate the data, produce tabulations and undertake statistical analyses to individual specifications.


As the survey was conducted on a sample of all households in Australia, it is important to take account of the method of sample selection when deriving estimates from the CURF. This is particularly important as a person's chance of selection in the survey varied depending on the state or territory or, in some cases, area of state or territory in which they lived.

One of the fields on the CURF contains a 'weight' for each person in the sample. This 'weight' reflects a person's probability of selection in the sample and the estimation procedure used.

Where estimates are derived from the CURF, it is essential that they are calculated by adding the weights of persons in each category and not just by counting the number falling into each category. If each person's 'weight' were to be ignored, then no account would be taken of the fact that a person's chance of being selected in the survey varied from region to region, and the resulting estimates would therefore be seriously biased.

The application of weights will ensure that the subsequent estimates conform to an independently estimated distribution of the population by age and sex, rather than to the age and sex distribution within the sample itself.

Due to differences in scope and sample size between this supplementary survey and the LFS, the estimation procedure may lead to some small variations between labour force estimates from this survey and those from the Labour Force Surveys conducted during April to August 2001.

For further information see the Explanatory Notes in the publication Education and Work, Australia 2001 (cat. no. 6227.0). This publication is on the CD-ROM as an Acrobat file 62270_2001.PDF.

Sampling error

Since all estimates on the CURF are based on a sample survey, any statistics produced from the CURF will be subject to sampling error. Sampling error is the difference between an estimate and the value that would have been produced if all dwellings in scope of the survey had been included. Tables of standard errors (which are a measure of sampling error) are provided in the Technical Notes of the publication Education and Work, Australia 2001 (cat. no. 6227.0).

Seasonal factors

The estimates are based on information collected over the reference period, and due to seasonal effects they may not be representative of other time periods in the year.


The CD-ROM contains both SAS and SPSS versions of the SEW dataset. If your analysis software is neither SAS nor SPSS, you may require the services of a computer programmer to re-format the data. Full details of the files on the CD-ROM are given in Appendix 3.

Four types of files relating to SEW 2001 data are provided on the CD-ROM:
  • Data and metadata - an ASCII data file holding 44,137 records, and metadata files that document the data file and every data item on that file. The metadata are provided in plain text file, for reading;
  • SAS user files - including a SAS version of the dataset, and the SAS programs that generated the SAS-formatted version;
  • SPSS user files - including an SPSS version of the dataset and the SAS programs that generated the SPSS-formatted version; and
  • Information files - including several in Adobe Acrobat format.


Access to the full detail from the survey (including data items deleted from the CURF) is only available through tables produced by the ABS. Requirements for these tables should be discussed with the National Centre for Education and Training Statistics on 02 6252 7934.


Release of CURF

The SEW CURF is released in accordance with a Ministerial Determination (Clause 7, Statutory Rules 1983, No.19) in pursuance of section 13 of the Census and Statistics Act 1905. As required by the Determination, the information contained in the CURF can only be disclosed in a manner that is not likely to enable the identification of the particular person or organisation to which it relates.

All organisations and individuals within organisations who request access to the CURF will, prior to being granted access to the CURF, be required to sign an Undertaking to abide by the legislative restrictions on use. The Australian Statistician's approval is required for each release of the CURF. Organisations and individuals who seek access to the SEW CURF are required to give an undertaking which includes, among other conditions, that in using the data they will:
  • use the information only for statistical purposes;
  • not attempt to identify particular persons or organisations;
  • not disclose, either directly or indirectly, the information to any other person or organisation; and
  • not attempt to match the information with any other unit level list of persons.

Statistical purposes means use of the information contained in the CURF to produce information of a statistical nature, i.e. the arrangement and classification of numerical facts or data, including statistical analyses or statistical aggregates. Examples of such uses are:
  • manipulation of the data to produce means, correlations or other descriptive or summary measures;
  • estimation of population characteristics;
  • use of data as input to mathematical models or for other types of analysis (e.g. factor analysis); and
  • providing graphical or pictorial representations of the characteristics of the population or subsets of the population.
All CURF users are required to read and abide by the "Responsible Access to ABS Confidentialised Unit Record Files (CURFs) Training Manual" available on the ABS Website, Access to ABS CURFs. Use of the data for unauthorised purposes may render the user liable to severe penalties. Advice about the propriety of any particular intended use of the data is available from the CURF Management Unit of the ABS at intermediary.management@abs.gov.au.
    Conditions of sale

    All ABS products and services are provided subject to the ABS conditions of sale. Any queries relating to these Conditions of Sale should be referred to intermediary.management@abs.gov.au.


    The price of the 2001 SEW CURF on CD-ROM as at July 2003 is $8,000, including freight and handling charges.

    While the utmost care is taken in handling each CURF on CD ROM, deterioration may occur between the time of copying and receipt of the file. Accordingly, if the CD-ROM is unreadable on receipt and this is reported to the ABS within 30 days of receipt, it will be replaced free of charge.


    Clients wishing to access the SEW CURF should refer to the ABS Website, Access to ABS CURFs, and read the Responsible Access to ABS Confidentialised Unit Record Files (CURFs) Training Manual and other relevant information, before downloading the Application and Undertaking to apply for access.

    Australian universities

    University customers should refer to the ABS web site (under 'Services to Universities"). The SEW CURF can be accessed by universities participating in the ABS/AVCC CURF agreement for research and teaching purposes.

    Other Australian clients

    Other prospective clients should contact the CURF Management Unit of the ABS at intermediary.management@abs.gov.au.
      The CURF is not available to overseas customers.


      The term 'secondary provider' applies to any person or organisation who obtains data from the ABS and then disseminates products to a third party where the major component of such products is statistical data obtained from the ABS. Persons or organisations preparing consultancy or research reports that rely on ABS data are not usually regarded as secondary providers where research and analysis are the major components of the reports.

      Purchasers likely to be providing data from the CURF to others should contact the CURF Management Unit of the ABS at intermediary.management@abs.gov.au to discuss the intended use.