4235.0.55.001 - Microdata: Qualifications and Work, 2015 Quality Declaration 
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 27/06/2016   
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The Qualifications and Work (Q&W) topic of the Multipurpose Household Survey (MPHS) was collected from January to December 2015, throughout Australia as part of the Australian Bureau of Statistics' (ABS) household survey program. For information on the institutional environment of the ABS, including its legislative obligations, financing and governance arrangements, and mechanisms for scrutiny of ABS operations, please see ABS Institutional Environment.

TableBuilder files are released in accordance with the conditions specified in the Statistics Determination section of the Census and Statistics Act 1905. This ensures that confidentiality is maintained whilst enabling micro level data to be released. More information on the confidentiality practices associated with TableBuilder can be found on the Confidentiality page of the User Manual: TableBuilder.


The main purpose of this collection was to obtain detailed information about the educational history of Australians and the relevance of each qualification to their working lives. Information on the number of non-school qualifications, including the level and field of each qualification and year of completion, was collected, together with the relevance of each qualification to the person's current job. The collection also includes information on any non-school qualifications an individual may have started but not completed (incomplete qualifications). Another focus of the publication is the background characteristics of migrants, with data collected on Australian citizenship, language spoken at home, English proficiency, year of arrival, and level and field of highest non–school qualification attained before and after arrival in Australia.


Qualifications and Work was collected for the first time in 2010-11 and released on 21 February 2012 under the title Learning and Work, Australia - 2010-11. Microdata in the form of a TableBuilder for this collection (Microdata: Learning and Work, Australia, 2010-11) was released on 28 May 2013. The Q&W topic is scheduled to be repeated on the MPHS in 2018–19.


The MPHS is collected as a supplement to the Labour Force Survey (LFS). The LFS, and consequently the MPHS, is primarily designed to provide estimates for the whole of Australia and, secondly, for each state and territory. The number of completed interviews for the 2015 Q&W topic on the MPHS (after taking into account scope and coverage exclusions) was 27,846. The sample size was achieved by obtaining a response rate of 74%.

Two types of error are possible in an estimate based on a sample survey: non-sampling error and sampling error.

Non-sampling error arises from inaccuracies in collecting, recording and processing the data. Every effort is made to minimise reporting error by the careful design of questionnaires, intensive training and supervision of interviewers, and efficient data processing procedures.

Sampling error occurs because a sample, rather than the entire population is surveyed. One measure of the likely difference resulting from not including all dwellings in the survey is given by the standard error. There are about two chances in three that a sample estimate will differ by less than one standard error from the figure that would have been obtained if all dwellings had been included in the survey and about nineteen chances in twenty that the difference will be less than two standard errors. Relative Standard Errors (RSEs) of the estimates for this survey are included with this release.

Steps to confidentialise microdata are taken in such a way as to maximise the usefulness of the content while maintaining the confidentiality of respondents selected in the survey. As a result it may not be possible to exactly reconcile all the statistics produced from the microdata with other published statistics. Further information about the steps taken to confidentialise the microdata is available through the following link TableBuilder confidentiality


While the ABS seeks to maximise consistency and comparability over time by minimising changes to its surveys, sound survey practice require ongoing development and maintenance to maintain the integrity of the data and the efficiency of collection. Excluding the addition of questions relating to incomplete non-school qualifications, the 2015 questions are largely unchanged when compared to those asked in 2010-11. The incomplete qualification questions were previously asked in the Survey of Education and Training, Australia 2009.

In 2010-11 the data was collected from July to June whereas in 2015 the enumeration period ran from January to December. Both surveys included a 12 month continuous collection period.

The sample size for this survey was doubled in 2015 to 27,846 households from 13,366 households in 2010-11. The increase in sample size allows for more accurate and detailed analysis.

For further changes between iterations of the Q&W, please refer to the Explanatory Notes. For a full list of changes made to the LFS, see Chapter 20 of Labour Statistics: Concepts, Sources and Methods, 2013 (cat. no. 6102.0.55.001) and Information Paper: Forthcoming Changes to Labour Force Statistics, Aug 2015 (cat no. 6292.0).

After each Census, population estimates are normally revised back five years to the previous Census year. As announced in the June 2012 issue of Australian Demographic Statistics (cat. no. 3101.0), intercensal error between the 2006 and 2011 Censuses was larger than normal due to improved methodologies used in the 2011 Census Post Enumeration Survey. The intercensal error analysis indicated that previous population estimates for the base Census years were over-counted. An indicative estimate of the size of the over-count is that there should have been 240,000 fewer people at June 2006. As a result, population benchmarks have been revised for the last 20 years rather than the usual five. Consequently, estimates of particular populations derived for Q&W, Australia 2015 may be lower than those published for Learning and Work, Australia - 2010-11. Therefore, comparisons with estimates should not be made, however comparisons of rates and proportions are appropriate.


The information within this release should be referred to when using the microdata. It contains information including Introduction, Survey Methodology, File Structure, Using the TableBuilder, Conditions of Use and About this Release.


For more detailed information on the products and services available for this survey refer to the Introduction page.

Microdata products are available to approved users. Users wishing to access the microdata should read the How to Apply for Microdata web page, before applying for access through MiCRO. Users should also familiarise themselves with information available via the Microdata web pages.

A full list of available microdata can be viewed via the List of expected and available Microdata.

Any questions regarding access to microdata can be forwarded to microdata.access@abs.gov.au or phone (02) 6252 7714. The ABS Privacy Policy outlines how the ABS will handle any personal information that you provide to us.