4250.0.55.005 - Perspectives on Education and Training: Australians with qualifications in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), 2010–11 Quality Declaration 
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 24/02/2014  First Issue
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  • Quality Declaration - Summary



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.


Data on Learning and Work were collected as part of the 2010–11 Multipurpose Household Survey (MPHS). The MPHS is a supplement to the monthly Labour Force Survey (LFS) and is designed to collect annual statistics on a small number of self-contained topics. The scope of the LFS is restricted to people aged 15 years and over, and excludes members of the permanent defence forces; certain diplomatic personnel of overseas governments usually excluded from census and estimated resident populations; overseas residents in Australia; and members of non-Australian defence forces (and their dependants). Refer to Labour Force, Australia (cat. no. 6202.0) for further information regarding the LFS. In addition, the 2010–11 MPHS excluded people living in very remote parts of Australia and people living in non-private dwellings such as hotels, university residences, students at boarding schools, patients in hospitals, inmates of prisons and residents of homes (e.g. retirement homes, homes for persons with disabilities).

In the Learning and Work component of the MPHS, respondents were asked questions regarding their non-school qualification history. The type of information collected included the level and field of each qualification, year of completion and whether the qualification was completed in Australia. Data was also collected on the impact of each qualification on the person's working life in the first six months after completion, the relevance of each qualification to a person's current job as well as information about their cultural background. The data was collected from one person selected at random in each selected household.


The MPHS is collected annually with enumeration undertaken over the financial year period from July to June. In the 2010–11 MPHS, the Learning and Work topic was collected for the first time. Generally, data from the MPHS are released approximately 6–8 months after they have been collected. The Learning and Work topic is scheduled to be collected again in the 2014–15 MPHS.


The Learning and Work questions comprised a sample of 13,366 fully responding households, which represented a response rate of 78%.

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 also 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 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 19 chances in 20 the difference will be less than two standard errors. Measures of the relative standard errors of the estimates for this survey are included with this release.

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 exclusion of people living in very remote parts of Australia is unlikely to impact on state and territory aggregate estimates, except for the Northern Territory where these people account for about 23% of the population.


The ABS collected data on Adult Learning in the 2006–07 MPHS. However, the 2010–11 MPHS Learning and Work topic is different to Adult Learning, as this latest survey focused only on formal non–school qualifications, whereas Adult Learning collected information about the recent learning experiences (including formal qualifications, non–formal training and informal learning) of people aged 25–64. The Adult Learning topic was restricted to this age range to exclude people who were in the initial stages of education (to align with the European Adult Learning Survey). Learning and Work also includes information about the impact of qualifications on labour market outcomes and the relevance of qualifications to an individual's current job. Due to the change in focus and the lack of similar data items, comparisons cannot be made between the two surveys.

Data on educational participation are also collected via the Survey of Education and Training (SET) and the Survey of Education and Work (SEW). Most of the content included in the MPHS Learning and Work topic is similar to that collected in the 2009 SET. The additional information available from Learning and Work covers the relevance of the main field of study of the respondent's qualification(s) to their current job and whether the qualifications were completed in Australia. By contrast, most of the content included in Learning and Work is different to the content included in SEW.

Care should be taken when comparing data from different surveys that relate to education and training issues, due to the different scopes, definitions and methodologies used.


To aid in the interpretation of the Learning and Work data, detailed information on concepts, definitions, terminology and other technical aspects of the survey can be found in the relevant web pages included with this release.


All tables and associated RSEs are available in Excel spreadsheets and can be accessed from Downloads.

Additional tables may also be available on request. Downloads also includes an Excel spreadsheet containing a complete list of the data items available. Note that detailed data can be subject to high RSEs and, in some cases, may result in data being confidentialised.

In addition to the data available in the Excel spreadsheets, other tables will be able to be produced using Survey TableBuilder, an online tool for creating tables and graphs. Survey TableBuilder for the 2010–11 Learning and Work topic is expected to be available in mid–2012.

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