6333.0.00.001 - Microdata: Characteristics of Employment, Australia, 2017 Quality Declaration 
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 26/02/2018   
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  • Quality Declaration



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 2017 Survey of Characteristics of Employment (COE) presents information about the distribution of weekly earnings in main job and all jobs, employment arrangements, independent contracting, and working arrangements. The collection of a range of socio-demographic and labour force characteristics makes the datasets produced from the survey extremely valuable for comparing and analysing the distribution of both weekly and hourly earnings across different population groups. Data are used in the development and review of wages and labour market policies, and in wage negotiation processes.


The Characteristics of Employment survey is conducted annually in August as a supplement to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) monthly Labour Force Survey (LFS). Results from this survey are released in the publication Characteristics of Employment, Australia (cat. no. 6333.0).


Estimates from the Characteristics of Employment Survey are subject to sampling and non-sampling errors. Relative standard error (RSE) is a measure of the size of the sampling error affecting and estimate, i.e. the error introduced by basing estimates on a sample of the population rather than the full population. Non-sampling errors are inaccuracies that occur due to imperfections in reporting by respondents and interviewers, and errors made in coding and processing data.

This publication was designed primarily to provide estimates at the Australia level. Broad estimates are available for state/territory and/or greater capital city/rest of state, though users should exercise caution when using estimates at this level because of the presence of high sampling errors. Relative Standard Errors for all estimates are available in the relevant Datacube. More information on Standard Errors is available in the Technical Note of this release.

For further information regarding the accuracy of the COE survey estimates see the Technical Note.


Caution should be exercised when comparing the estimates from this release with previous similar surveys as some data items have changed and population groups are conceptually different.

Caution should be exercised when comparing results from the 2017 COE to previous Forms of Employment (FOE) (2008–2013) and Employee Earnings, Benefits and Trade Union Membership (EEBTUM) as the population Employees in this release is not directly comparable to the Employees population in both FOE and EEBTUM.

For information on the comparability of time series for the publication Employee Earnings, Benefits and Trade Union Membership, Australia (cat. no. 6310.0), see the Explanatory Notes.

For information on the comparability of time series for the publication Forms of Employment, Australia (cat. no. 6359.0), see the Explanatory Notes.

For information on the comparability of time series for the publication Working Time Arrangements, Australia (cat. no. 6342.0), see the Explanatory Notes.


Contained within COE are Datacubes with commented data to aid interpretation of the results of the survey. Detailed Explanatory Notes, a Technical Note and a Glossary are also included providing information on the terminology, classifications and other technical aspects associated with these statistics.

Further commentary is often available through articles and data published in other ABS products, including:


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.