6227.0 - Education and Work, Australia, May 2008 Quality Declaration 
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 26/11/2008   
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For information on the institutional environment of the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), including the legislative obligations of the ABS, financing and governance arrangements, and mechanisms for scrutiny of ABS operations, please see ABS Institutional Environment.


The Education and Work survey provides annual information about a range of key indicators relating to the educational participation and attainment of persons aged 15-64 years along with data on people's transition between education and work.

As a result of this survey being supplementary to the LFS, persons excluded from the LFS were also excluded from this survey (see Explanatory Notes of Labour Force, Australia (cat. no. 6202.0) for standard LFS exclusions). Additional exclusions from this survey were persons aged 65 or older, persons permanently unable to work, institutionalised persons, boarding school pupils and persons living in very remote parts of Australia.

The type of information collected included: participation in education in the year prior to the survey, and in the survey month; labour force characteristics; type of educational institution; level of education of current and previous study; highest year of school completed; level and main field of highest non-school qualification; transition from education to work; unmet demand for education; and selected characteristics of apprentices.

The Australian Classification of Education (ASCED) (cat.no. 1272.0) was used to classify education. The ASCED is a national standard classification which can be applied to all sectors of the Australian education system including schools, vocational education and training and higher education. The ASCED comprises two classifications: Level of Education and Field of Education.


The most recent Education and Work survey was conducted throughout Australia in May 2008 as a supplement to the monthly Labour Force Survey (LFS). The ABS has been conducting similar surveys since 1964. These surveys were conducted annually from February 1964 to February 1974, in May 1975 and 1976, in August 1977 and 1978 and annually in May since 1979. Data from the survey are released approximately six months after they have been collected.


The number of completed interviews (after taking into account scope and coverage exclusions) was 37,769. This sample was achieved by obtaining a response rate of 96% from about 24,000 selected dwellings. The exclusion of people living in very remote parts of Australia has only a minor impact on aggregate estimates, except for the Northern Territory where these people are around 23% of the population.

The Labour Force Survey is designed to primarily provide estimates for the whole of Australia and, secondly, for each state and territory.

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. Non-sampling error arises because information cannot be obtained from all persons selected in the survey.

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.

Every 5 years, following the availability of data from the Census of Population and Housing, the ABS reviews the LFS sample design. As a result of the review following the 2006 Census, the new sample design, implemented over the period November 2007 to June 2008, resulted in a smaller sample size. As a result of the smaller sample size, standard errors for estimates from the 2008 Survey of Education and Work have increased slightly. The exception is estimates for the Northern Territory where, because of the sample being distributed differently across the states/territories from the 2001 design, the sample size increased, which has resulted in decreased standard errors. For more information see Information Paper: Labour Force Sample Design, Nov 2007 (cat. no. 6269.0).


The ABS seeks to maximise consistency and comparability over time by minimising changes to the survey; sound survey practice requires ongoing development to maintain the integrity of the data. Minor changes were made to the survey between 2007 and 2008 to enhance the quality of the data and to reflect changes in the education system. In previous years, only persons aged 15–54 years were asked the Apprenticeship/Traineeship questions. In 2008 the age scope was extended and all persons (aged 15 to 64 years) were asked these questions. Additionally, the definition of apprentices changed to only include those with a formal contract under the Australian Apprenticeship Scheme. Previously those not under a contract were included. This means results from this and previous surveys are not comparable for these data items only.


Detailed information on the terminology, classifications and other technical aspects associated with the Survey of Education and Work can be found in the pdf release as well as the relevant web pages included with this release.


In addition to the pdf publication, the tables and associated RSEs are available in spreadsheet format on the website. Extra tables not contained in the pdf are also included on the website.

A Confidentialised Unit Record File (CURF) containing confidentialised microdata from the Survey of Education and Work has been released biennially since 2001. The CURF facilitates interrogation and analysis of survey data. The 2007 Survey of Education and Work CURF is the most recent available. For further details refer to the ABS website <https://www.abs.gov.au>.

Data are also available on request. Note that detailed data can be subject to high relative standard errors which in some cases may result in data being confidentialised.

For further information about these or related statistics, contact the National Information and Referral Service on 1300 135 070.