Employment Placement and Contract Staff Services

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    Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS)

    The Employment Services and Contract Staff Services survey is conducted periodically to collect activity, financial and business details for businesses that primarily provide Employment Services, as defined by ANZSIC classes 7861 (Employment Placement Services) and 7862 (Contract Staff Services). In order to be coded to one of these ANZSIC classes, a business must predominantly provide services that result in staff being placed with other employers, e.g. labour hire, staffing agencies, recruitment and personnel search.

    The survey is designed to provide a statistical description of the structure, operation and characteristics of businesses that predominantly provide Employment Services. This information is used in the compilation of Australia's National Accounts, and by industry bodies, government, researchers and others to understand how these businesses operate and how they would be affected by changes in policy or economic or other conditions.

    The scope of the survey was all employing units on the ABS Business Register, classified to class 7861 – EMPLOYMENT PLACEMENT SERVICES or class 7862 – CONTRACT STAFF SERVICES of the Australian and New Zealand Standard Industrial Classification (ANZSIC). ANZSIC class 7861 consists of organisations mainly engaged in personnel search, selection, referral and placement in connection with any field. ANZSIC class 7862 consists of organisations mainly engaged in supplying their own employees to other businesses on a fee or contract basis, mainly on short-term assignments and under the supervision of staff of the client business.

    References to 'government supported schemes' cover some but not all of the activities of the Job Network scheme. The Job Network scheme is a Commonwealth Government employment services program administered by the Department of Employment and Workplace Relations (DEWR), which contracts other organisations to provide employment services to job seekers and the unemployed, as referred by Centrelink. It is important to note that not all organisations which were participants of the Job Network scheme were included in the results of this survey. Organisations which were participants of the DEWR Job Network scheme were included in scope of the survey only if their predominant activity was employment placement or contract staff services. As not all organisations under the Job Network scheme were included in the survey results, a difference may exist between any data published by DEWR and the Employment Services publication. Differences in estimates may also be attributable to differences in the definition of a job placement.


    The ABS uses an economic statistics model on the ABS Business Register to describe the characteristics of businesses, and the structural relationships between related businesses. The units model is also used to break groups of related businesses into relatively homogeneous components that can provide data to the ABS.

    In mid-2002, to better use the information available as a result of The New Tax System (TNTS), the ABS changed its economic statistics units model. The new units model allocates businesses to one of two sub-populations. The vast majority of businesses are in what is called the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) Maintained Population, while the remaining businesses are in the ABS Maintained Population. Together, these two sub-populations make up the ABS Business Register population.

    ATO Maintained Population

    Most businesses and organisations in Australia need to obtain an Australian Business Number (ABN), and are then included on the ATO Australian Business Register. Most of these businesses have simple structures; therefore the unit registered for an ABN will satisfy ABS statistical requirements. For these businesses, the ABS is aligning its statistical units structure with the ABN unit. The businesses with simple structures constitute the ATO Maintained Population, and the ABN unit will be used as the economic statistics unit for all economic collections.

    ABS Maintained Population

    For the population of businesses where the ABN unit is not suitable for ABS statistical requirements, the ABS will maintain its own units structure through direct contact with the business. These businesses constitute the ABS Maintained Population. This population consists mainly of large, complex and diverse businesses. The new statistical units model described below has been introduced to cover such businesses:
        Enterprise Group: This is a unit covering all the operations in Australia of one or more legal entities under common ownership and/or control. It covers all the operations in Australia of legal entities which are related in terms of the current Corporations Law (as amended by the Corporations Legislation Amendment Act 1991), including legal entities such as companies, trusts, and partnerships. Majority ownership is not required for control to be exercised.

        Enterprise: The enterprise is an institutional unit comprising (i) a single legal entity or business entity, or (ii) more than one legal entity or business entity within the same Enterprise Group and in the same institutional sub-sector (i.e. they are all classified to a single Standard Institutional Sector Classification of Australia sub-sector).

        Type of Activity Unit (TAU): The TAU is comprised of one or more business entities, sub-entities or branches of a business entity within an Enterprise Group that can report production and employment data for similar activities. When a minimum set of data items are available, a TAU will be created which covers all the operations within an industry subdivision (and the TAU will be classified to the relevant sub-division of the ANZSIC). Where a business cannot supply adequate data for each industry, a TAU will be formed which contains activity in more than one industry subdivision.

    For more information on the impacts of the introduction of the new economic statistics units model, refer to Information Paper: Improvements in ABS Economic Statistics [Arising from the New Tax System] (cat. no. 1372.0).

    Prior to the 2001–02 cycle, the Employment Services Survey used the management unit as the statistical unit. For issues of this publication relating to 2001–02 onwards, the statistical unit in the Employment Services Survey is the ABN unit for businesses with simple structures, and the TAU for businesses with complex structures. In most cases, ABN/TAU units concord with the management units used in the 1998–99 cycle. The impact of the change to the economic statistics units model on the survey estimates was minimal. The survey estimates would have been approximately 3-4% less than the estimates published in the 2001-02 Employment Services if the survey was produced using the old statistics units model. Other differences are outlined in paragraph 24.

    The frame used for the Employment Services Survey, like most ABS economic surveys, was taken from the ABS Business Register. The ABS Business Register is primarily based on registrations to the Australian Taxation Office's Pay As You Go Withholding (PAYGW) scheme (and prior to 1 July 2000, the Group Employer (GE) scheme). The frame is updated quarterly to take account of new businesses and businesses which have ceased employing.

    Businesses which have ceased employing are identified when the Australian Taxation Office cancels their PAYGW registration (or previously their GE registration). In addition, from July 1999 to the end of June 2000, businesses which did not remit under the GE scheme for the previous five quarters were removed from the frame. A similar process has recently been adopted to remove businesses which do not remit under the PAYGW scheme.

    The introduction of The New Tax System has a number of significant implications for ABS business statistics, and these are discussed in: Information Paper: ABS Statistics and The New Tax System (cat. no. 1358.0) and Information Paper: Improvements in ABS Economic Statistics [Arising from The New Tax System] (cat. no. 1372.0).


    Data in this publication have been adjusted to allow for lags in processing new businesses to the ABS Business Register, and the omission of some businesses from the register. The majority of businesses affected, and to which the adjustments apply, are small in size.

    Adjustments have been made to include new businesses in the estimates in the periods in which they commenced operations, rather than when they were processed to the ABS Business Register. Adjustments of this type will continue to be applied in future periods.

    For more information on these adjustments, please refer to the ABS publication Information Paper: Improvements to ABS Economic Statistics, 1997 (cat. no. 1357.0).


    Conceptual framework
    The survey of Employment Placement Services and Contract Staff Services is undertaken as part of the ongoing ABS program of annual economic surveys. The data items, classifications, statistical units and other aspects of statistical and conceptual infrastructure are consistent with ABS conceptual frameworks and standards.

    Main outputs

    • sources of income
    • items of expenditure
    • characteristics of employment
    • characteristics of placements made
    • selected statistics by employment size groupings
    • selected performance ratios

    The survey will collect data from businesses classified according to the Australian and New Zealand Standard Industrial Classification (ANZSIC).
    The classifications relevant to this collection are :
    • 7861 - Employment Placement Services
    • 7862 - Contract Staff Services

    Other concepts (summary)
    Not applicable

    New South Wales
    South Australia
    Western Australia
    Northern Territory

    Comments and/or Other Regions
    Not applicable


    Frequency comments

    The survey was first conducted in respect of 1998/99, and repeated in respect of 2001/02.


    Data availability comments
    Data available from publication: Employment Services, Australia (cat. no. 8558.0)

    17/09/2004 08:25 AM