6239.0 - Barriers and Incentives to Labour Force Participation, Australia, July 2014 to June 2015 Quality Declaration 
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 03/05/2016   
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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 Barriers and Incentives to Labour Force Participation survey provides data on persons aged 18 years and over who are either not employed or work less than 35 hours. The Barriers and Incentives to Labour Force Participation topic is designed to bring various aspects of factors which influence labour force participation into one data source for comparison. The survey provides information on the potential labour force and what is preventing these persons finding or taking up (more) work.

Full details of the data items are available on the ABS website in an Excel spreadsheet, under the Downloads section (B&I and R&RI 201415 Data Items List).


The Barriers and Incentives to Labour Force Participation survey is collected biennially, and was first conducted in 200405. The most recent Barriers and Incentives to Labour Force Participation survey was conducted throughout Australia during the 201415 financial year. It was a component of the 201415 Multipurpose Household Survey (MPHS), collected as a supplement to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) Labour Force Survey (LFS).


The initial sample for the MPHS 201415 consisted of approximately 23,000 private households. Of the 13,800 private households that remained in the survey after sample loss (e.g. households with LFS non-response, no residents in scope for the LFS, vacant or derelict dwellings and dwellings under construction), approximately 73% responded to the MPHS. The number of completed interviews obtained from these private households (after taking into account scope, coverage and subsampling exclusions) was 5,500 for the Barriers and Incentives to Labour Force Participation survey.

Estimates from the survey are subject to sampling and non-sampling errors.

The MPHS was designed primarily to provide estimates at the Australia level. Broad estimates are available for states and territories, though users should exercise caution when using estimates at this level because of the presence of high sampling errors.

To minimise the risk of identifying individuals in aggregate statistics, a technique is used to randomly adjust cell values. This technique is called perturbation. Perturbation involves small random adjustment of the statistics and is considered the most satisfactory technique for avoiding the release of information that could identify individual survey respondents while maximising the range of information that can be released. These adjustments have a negligible impact on the underlying pattern of the statistics. After perturbation, a given published cell will be consistent across all tables. However, adding up cell values to derive a total will not necessarily give the same result as published totals.


For the 201213 survey, questions were included on Previous full-time job details and Main source of current personal income. These were excluded from the 201415 survey.

For the 201415 survey, enhancements were made to the Previous job payment arrangements question, adding the response category of 'Unpaid trainee/work placement'. Enhancements were also made to survey questions on why not looking for work or more hours, trouble finding work or more hours and wanting more hours. The response categories of 'No need/satisfied with current arrangements/retired (for now)' and 'Visa requirements' were added to these questions.

    Questions on incentives to join or increase participation are included in 201415 survey. The incentives module used to be collected every second cycle but now its part of the core content and therefore included in each iteration of the survey.

    The statistics presented in this survey have been benchmarked to the Estimated Resident Population for March 2015, independently produced according to the scope of the survey. This ensures that the survey estimates conform to person benchmarks by state, section of state, age and sex. The statistics have been further benchmarked to labour force survey estimates averaged over the 12 month MPHS reference period. This ensures that survey estimates are also consistent with the estimated in-scope population by state, section of state, sex, age and labour force status.


    The Barriers and Incentives to Labour Force Participation publication contains detailed Explanatory Notes, Technical Notes and a Glossary that provide information on the terminology, classifications and other technical aspects associated with these statistics.

    The estimates are based on information collected over the financial year. Therefore, seasonally adjusted and trend estimates are not produced and seasonal weighting is not undertaken.

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

    Australian Labour Market Statistics (cat. no. 6105.0).

    Australian Social Trends (cat. no. 4102.0).

    Labour Statistics: Concepts, Sources and Methods (cat. no. 6102.0.55.001).


    For the 201415 release, tables and associated RSEs are available in spreadsheet form on the ABS website.

    Data are also available on request.

    For more information about ABS data available on request, contact National Information and Referral Service in Canberra on 1300 135 070 or via email to <client.services@abs.gov.au> or contact Labour Markets Analytics Section by email to <labour.statistics@abs.gov.au>