6227.0 - Education and Work, Australia, May 2019 Quality Declaration 
Latest ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 13/11/2019   
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Quality declaration - summary

Institutional Environment

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 Survey of Education and Work (SEW) provides information for a range of key indicators relating to the educational participation and attainment of persons aged 15 to 74 years, along with data on their transition between education and work.

The type of information collected includes:

  • general demographic and labour force characteristics; participation in education in the survey month and in the year prior to the survey;
  • type of educational institution attended;
  • level of education of current and previous study;
  • level and main field of highest non-school qualification;
  • transition from education to work; unmet demand for education; and
  • selected characteristics of apprentices, including unmet demand for apprenticeships and traineeships.
The Australian Standard Classification of Education (ASCED) is used to classify the Level and Field of 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.

As SEW is collected as a supplement to the Labour Force Survey (LFS), persons excluded from the LFS are also excluded from this survey (see Explanatory Notes in Labour Force, Australia for standard LFS exclusions). Additional exclusions from SEW are persons aged 75 years or older, institutionalised persons, boarding school pupils and persons in Indigenous Communities. Persons permanently unable to work and persons aged 65 to 74 years who are not intending to work, or not in the labour force, or not marginally attached to the labour force, were included for the first time in 2013.


Data from the survey are released approximately six months after they have been collected. The ABS has been conducting similar education and work surveys annually since 1964. These surveys were conducted in February from 1964 to 1974, in May 1975 and 1976, in August 1977 and 1978, and in May since 1979.


The LFS is primarily designed to provide estimates for the whole of Australia and, secondly, for each state and territory. The LFS is based on a sample of private dwellings and non-private dwellings, such as hotels and motels. The number of completed interviews for the 2019 Survey of Education and Work (after taking into account scope and coverage exclusions) was 38,683. The sample size was achieved by obtaining a response rate of 91% from the Monthly Population Survey.

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. Sampling error can be estimated by measuring variability within a sample. In this publication sample error is reported using relative standard error and margins of error at the 95% confidence interval. For more information about error in SEW data see the technical note on data quality.


The ABS seeks to maximise consistency and comparability over time by minimising changes to its surveys. However, sound survey practice requires ongoing development and maintenance to maintain the integrity of the data and the efficiency of collection.

Information about comparability of SEW data to other ABS publications is available in the Explanatory Notes. For information on comparability of the SEW data over time see 'History of changes' in the Explanatory Notes. For a full list of changes made to the LFS, see the Labour force comparability over time chapter of Labour Statistics: Concepts, Sources and Methods, Feb 2018 (cat. no. 6102.0.55.001) and Information Paper: Forthcoming Changes to Labour Force Statistics, Aug 2015 (cat. no. 6292.0).


Detailed information on the terminology, classifications and other technical aspects associated with the SEW can be found in the Explanatory Notes and relevant web pages provided with this release.


Tabulated data and associated measures of error are available in spreadsheet format and can be accessed from the Downloads tab.

Data from this survey will also be accessible in the TableBuilder environment, enabling users to create their own customised output as required. For further details, refer to the Microdata Entry Page on the ABS website.

Customised data are also available on request. Note that detailed data can be subject to high measures of error 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, or email client.services@abs.gov.au.

The ABS Privacy Policy outlines how the ABS will handle any personal information that you provide to us.