Multiple Job Holders

An overview of ABS statistics on multiple job-holding

Released
9/06/2021

Multiple job holders in the labour market

Multiple job holders are people who work for more than one employer during the same period. A multiple job holder can be actively employed by different employers in the same industry or across multiple different industries.

Sources of multiple job holder information

The main ABS sources of information on multiple job holders are the quarterly and annual Labour Account and the annual Jobs in Australia. Information can also be found in other ABS publications, such as Characteristics of Employment.

The Labour Account and Jobs in Australia provide different insights into multiple job holding in Australia, including the industries and age groups where it most commonly occurs and how it has changed over time. There are a number of differences between the two data sources that are important to consider when using data on multiple job holders.

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                        Labour Account                       Jobs in Australia
PurposeThe Australian Labour Account provides quarterly and annual time series data, consisting of four quadrants: Jobs, People, Hours and Payments.Jobs in Australia provides information about the number and nature of filled jobs, the people who hold them and their employers.
How multiple job holders are measuredA point-in-time (stock) estimate of people employed in more than one job at the end of the reference period (quarter or financial year).A count of people who held more than one job at any point during the reference period (financial year)
Components• Industry division (quarterly)
• Industry subdivision (annual)
• Sex
• Age
• Geographic location
• Industry of primary job
• Industry of secondary job
• Median income of primary job
• Median income of secondary job
Frequency and reference periodQuarterly and annual (financial year), from September 1994Annual (financial year) with a reporting lag of up to two years, from 2011-12

It should be noted that estimates of multiple job holders can vary substantially between the two ABS releases, given the above differences. In particular, the Labour Account produces a point-in-time estimate of the number of multiple job holders each quarter (and a financial year figure obtained as an average of four quarters), whereas Jobs in Australia estimates the number of people holding concurrent jobs at any point during the financial year. This results in substantially higher estimates of multiple job holders in Jobs in Australia.

In the Labour Account, an estimate of the total number of multiple job holders is sourced from responses to the Labour Force Survey. Industry estimates are derived by apportioning secondary jobs across industry subdivisions, using data from the Linked Employer Employee Dataset (LEED).

Jobs in Australia derives both: total number of multiple job holders, and industry information, from LEED. Multiple job holding is estimated by identifying individuals who have received payment summaries from more than one employer in a 31-day period. PAYG payment summary start and end dates are used to identify concurrent job holding but there are some inherent limitations in how these dates are captured in tax data, which introduces some measurement error that can inflate concurrent job counts in the LEED. This error reflects a range of factors, including misinterpretation, recording and reporting errors by businesses.

The Labour Account produces timely estimates of multiple job holders which are consistent with the other dimensions of the Account. Jobs in Australia is less timely but provides more detailed insights into multiple job holding than are available from the Labour Account, including employee characteristics such as sex, age, and geographic location. 

Multiple job holders in the Labour Account

The Labour Account is the most timely and frequent source of information on multiple job holders published by the ABS. It is also the source available for the longest time span. Labour Account data is available as a quarterly time series back to September quarter 1994. 

In seasonally adjusted terms, there were 828,200 people holding multiple jobs in the March quarter 2021, after a recent low of 623,800 people in June quarter 2020. The three industries employing the highest number of multiple job holders in the March quarter 2021 were Health Care and Social Assistance, Accommodation and Food Services, and Education and Training.

The Labour Account also publishes the rate of multiple job holding, which is calculated as the number of multiple job holders expressed as a proportion of all employed persons. In seasonally adjusted terms, the rate of multiple job holding was 6.3% in March quarter 2021 after reaching a series low of 4.9% in June quarter 2020. In March quarter 2021, the industries with the highest rate of multiple job holding were Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing (8.9%) and Arts and Recreation Services (8.4%).

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Source: Labour Account Australia

Over the past 10 years, most industry divisions saw an increase in the rate of multiple job holding. In the 2018-19 financial year (the latest complete financial year before the COVID-19 period) the three industries recording the largest seasonally adjusted increases in the rate of multiple job holding were Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing (up 0.6pp), Accommodation and Food Services (up 0.6pp), and Construction (up 0.4pp).

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Source: Labour Account Australia

Early in the COVID-19 period, the number of multiple job holders decreased sharply, falling by 22.5% in June quarter 2020. This was followed by strong growth over the following three quarters (32.8%). A similar pattern was seen across most industry divisions.

In March quarter 2021, the number of multiple job holders was up 2.8% in seasonally adjusted terms (or 22,800 people) on March quarter 2020.

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Source: Labour Account Australia

Multiple job holders in Jobs in Australia

The estimate of multiple job holders from Jobs in Australia was 2.1 million people in 2016-17 (the most recent Jobs in Australia release with data on multiple job holding), compared to 710,100 people from the Labour Account for the same year. As noted earlier, this reflects the differences between these two data sources, with the Jobs in Australia estimate including all people who held multiple jobs at any point in the financial year.

Jobs in Australia showed that more than half (55%) of multiple job holders in 2016-17 were under the age of 35. This was higher than their share of people who worked in 2016-17 (40%).

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Source: Jobs in Australia

During the same period, 53.7% of multiple job holders were women and 46.3% were men. In 2016-17, the proportion of multiple job holders who were women was greater than the proportion of employed people who were women (47.8%).

The median total employment income of multiple job holders was $40,500, with the median income for women estimated at $36,500 and for men estimated at $46,200.

While the 2017-18 Jobs in Australia release did not include information on multiple job holders, given it was temporarily streamlined for release through the COVID-19 period, the data will be included in the 2018-19 release (due in late 2021).

Summary

The Labour Account is the Australian Bureau of Statistics’ most timely and coherent source of labour market information by industry. Multiple job holding is a key output of the Labour Account, obtained through the combination of the Labour Force Survey and the Linked Employer Employee Dataset, to produce the most representative and robust figures by industry.

Data in Jobs in Australia complements data from the Labour Account, through providing more detailed data for key geographic, demographic and employment attributes, to facilitate in-depth analysis of the characteristics of multiple job holders.