6305.0.55.001 - Employee Earnings and Hours, Australia, Preliminary, August 2008 Quality Declaration 
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 07/04/2009   
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1 This publication contains preliminary estimates from the 2008 Survey of Employee Earnings and Hours. The survey was conducted in respect of August 2008 and collected information from a sample of employers about the earnings, hours paid for, and selected characteristics of their employees.

2 The survey is designed to provide detailed statistics on the composition and distribution of earnings and hours paid for, of employees. Information is collected about the characteristics of employers, such as industry and sector, and their employees, such as occupation, type of employee, and method of setting pay. This information is used to provide comprehensive statistics about earnings and hours paid for, for various groups of employees, for example, classified by industry, occupation and pay setting method.

3 Final estimates will be published in Employee Earnings and Hours, Australia, August 2008 (cat. no. 6306.0), expected to be released in June 2009.


4 Descriptions of the underlying concepts of employee earnings, hours paid for and methods of setting pay, and the sources and methods used in compiling these estimates, are presented in Labour Statistics: Concepts, Sources and Methods (cat. no. 6102.0.55.001) which is available on the ABS web site <https://www.abs.gov.au>.

5 Estimates of employee earnings produced from the Survey of Employee Earnings and Hours and presented in this publication are based on the Australian conceptual framework for measures of employee remuneration. From 2006, the measure of employee earnings for estimates produced from the survey is regular wages and salaries in cash (including amounts salary sacrificed), that is, cash earnings.


6 The survey covered all employing organisations in Australia (public and private sectors) except:

  • enterprises primarily engaged in agriculture, forestry and fishing
  • private households employing staff
  • foreign embassies, consulates, etc.

7 The employees of employers covered in the survey are in scope if they received pay for the reference period, except:
  • members of the Australian permanent defence forces
  • employees based outside Australia
  • employees on workers’ compensation who are not paid through the payroll.


8 The Survey of Employee Earnings and Hours uses a two-stage sample selection approach. The first stage involves selecting a probability sample of employer units from the ABS Business Register. The statistical unit for the first stage comprises all activities of an employer in a particular state or territory based on the Australian Business Number (ABN) unit or Type of Activity Unit (TAU) (see paragraphs 12-16). Each statistical unit is classified to an industry which reflects the predominant activity of the business. The statistical units are stratified by state/territory, sector (private/public), industry, and employment size. For the public sector, level of government (i.e. Commonwealth government, State/Local government) is also used as a stratification variable. Within each stratum statistical units are selected with equal probability. A sample of approximately 10,000 employer (selection) units was selected to ensure adequate industry and state/territory representation.

9 In the second stage the selected employers are asked to select a random sample of employees from their payrolls using instructions provided by the ABS. Data for approximately 57,000 employees contributed to the results in this publication.


10 The ABS uses an economic statistics units model on the ABS Business Register to describe the characteristics of businesses (and other organisations, including government departments), and the structural relationships between related businesses. The units model is also used to group related businesses into relatively homogeneous components that can provide data to the ABS.

11 In mid 2002, to better use the information available as a result of The New Tax System, 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 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.


12 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, in which case the unit registered for an ABN will satisfy ABS statistical requirements. For these businesses, the ABS has aligned its statistical units structure with the ABN unit. The businesses with simple structures constitute the ATO Maintained Population, and the ABN unit is used for these businesses as the statistical unit for all economic collections.


13 For the population of businesses where the ABN unit is not suitable for ABS statistical requirements, the ABS maintains its own units structure through direct contact with the business. These businesses constitute the ABS Maintained Population. This population consists typically of large, complex and diverse businesses. The new statistical units model described below is used for these businesses.

14 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.

15 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 (SISCA) sub-sector).

16 Type of Activity Unit (TAU): The TAU comprises 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 economic activities. When a minimum set of data items is available, a TAU is created which covers all the operations within an industry sub-division (and the TAU is classified to the relevant sub-division of ANZSIC). Where a business cannot supply adequate data for each industry, a TAU is formed which contains activity in more than one industry sub-division.

17 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).


18 Each statistical unit is classified to an industry which reflects the primary activity of the organisation in the state or territory. The industry classification used in this publication differs from previous publications. Data in previous publications of this series issue since 1994 are classified according to the Australian and New Zealand Standard Industrial Classification (ANZSIC) 1993. This classification has since been replaced by the Australian and New Zealand Standard Industrial Classification (ANZSIC), 2006 (cat. no. 1292.0). The 2006 edition of ANZSIC was developed to provide a more contemporary industrial classification system taking into account issues such as changes in the structure and composition of the economy, changing user demands and compatibility with major international classification standards.

19 Broad level industry data from the 2008 Survey of Employee Earnings and Hours will be made available on an ANZSIC 1993 basis, as an aid to analysis, following the release of final survey estimates (scheduled for June 2009).

20 Employees selected in the Survey of Employee Earnings and Hours are classified to the industry of the organisation in which they are employed.


21 Data on how employees' pay was set in the survey reference period have been collected in the survey since May 2000. Since May 2000, data have also been collected on whether agreements (individual or collective) were certified, approved or registered with an industrial tribunal or authority.

22 From May 2002, each survey cycle has collected data on whether the main part of employees' pay was set by individual agreement, collective agreement or award. The May 2000 survey collected data on whether all or any part of employees' pay was set by an individual agreement, collective agreement, award, or a combination of these. It is considered unlikely that the change between 2000 and 2002 will affect comparability of estimates across time.


23 Estimates of the number of employees based on the EEH survey will be provided in the final publication to assist in interpreting tables that contain proportions of employees for earnings ranges and methods of setting pay. Other estimates of employees, classified by selected characteristics, may be available on request to assist users in interpreting other estimates from the survey. Although the EEH survey can provide estimates of the number of employees, it is not designed specifically for this purpose (the ABS Labour Force Survey is the primary source for official ABS statistics of employment). Therefore, care should be taken in the interpretation and use of such estimates.


24 From May 2006, estimates of employee earnings from the Survey of Employee Earnings and Hours have been produced on a cash basis, that is, inclusive of amounts salary sacrificed. This differs from estimates provided in previous publications of this series, which excluded amounts salary sacrificed by employees. Estimates from the May 2004 and May 2002 surveys have also been reproduced on the new conceptual basis, and broad level estimates for these years were included in the electronic data release accompanying the May 2006 publication.

25 Care should be taken when comparing estimates of average weekly earnings from this survey with those published quarterly in Average Weekly Earnings, Australia (cat. no. 6302.0). Estimates of average weekly earnings in that publication continue to be compiled on the previous conceptual basis (i.e. exclusive of amounts salary sacrificed). Additionally, the two collections use different sample design and survey methodologies. The Survey of Average Weekly Earnings collects information relating to the total gross earnings and the total number of employees of employer units selected in the survey. The average weekly earnings measures are derived by dividing total gross earnings by the number of employees. The Survey of Employee Earnings and Hours collects information about weekly earnings of a sample of employees within the employer units selected. However, the size of the employer sample for the Survey of Employee Earnings and Hours is larger than that for the Survey of Average Weekly Earnings.


26 Estimates are subject to sampling and non-sampling errors. For information on the reliability of estimates see the Technical Note.


27 Users may also wish to refer to the following publications:
  • Australian Labour Market Statistics (cat. no. 6105.0) - issued quarterly
  • Average Weekly Earnings, Australia (cat. no. 6302.0) - issued quarterly
  • Employee Earnings, Benefits and Trade Union Membership, Australia (cat. no. 6310.0) - issued annually
  • Employee Earnings and Hours, Australia (cat. no. 6306.0) - issued biennially
  • Information Paper: Changes to ABS Measures of Employee Remuneration (cat. no. 6313.0) - issued 14 Nov 2006
  • Labour Force, Australia (cat. no. 6202.0) - issued monthly
  • Labour Price Index, Australia (cat. no. 6345.0) - issued quarterly.
  • Labour Statistics: Concepts, Sources and Methods 2001 (cat. no. 6102.0.55.001)
  • Employment and Earnings, Public Sector, Australia (cat. no. 6248.0.55.001) - issued annually


28 Estimates of earnings shown in the tables are rounded to the nearest 10 cents.

29 Estimates of proportions of employees for earnings ranges and methods of setting pay are rounded to one-tenth of a percentage point.

30 Where figures have been rounded, discrepancies may occur between sums of the component items and totals.