6305.0 - Employee Earnings and Hours, Australia, Preliminary, May 2002  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 10/12/2002   
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1 The publication contains preliminary estimates from the Survey of Employee Earnings and Hours. The survey was conducted in May 2002 and collected information from a sample of employers about the earnings, hours and selected characteristics of their employees.

2 The survey is designed to provide detailed statistics on the level, composition and distribution of earnings and hours of employees. By collecting information about the characteristics of employers, such as industry and sector, and their employees, such as occupation, type of employee, and method of setting pay, the statistics provide comprehensive information 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, May 2002 (cat. no. 6306.0), expected to be released in March 2003.


4 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.

5 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.


6 The sample of employees is obtained using a two stage selection approach. The first stage involves the ABS selecting a probability sample of businesses from the ABS Business Register. The selection unit for the first stage comprises all activities of an employer in a particular state or territory. Units on the Business Register are stratified into homogenous groups using the following variables: state, sector, industry, and employment size. A small number of strata are completely enumerated, while for each of the remaining strata an equal probability sample is taken.

7 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 50,000 employees from a sample of 7,000 employers contributed to the preliminary results in the publication.

8 The May 2002 survey includes adjustments to the estimates to allow for the time lag between businesses commencing operation and their inclusion on the ABS Business Register. For more details refer to the Information Paper: Improvements to ABS Economic Statistics, 1997 (cat. no. 1357.0).


9 Industry data has been classified according to the Australian and New Zealand Standard Industrial Classification (ANZSIC), 1993 (cat. no. 1292.0).

10 Employees selected in the Survey of Employee Earnings and Hours are classified to the industry of the business in which they are employed
(see paragraph 6).


11 Occupation data has been classified according to the Australian Standard Classification of Occupations (ASCO), Second Edition (cat. no. 1220.0).

12 Care should be taken when comparing survey estimates based on ASCO groups with estimates based on the managerial/non-managerial status of employees, which is determined and reported by the employer. Estimates for employees with managerial status include employees classified to ASCO categories other than the ASCO major group ‘Managers and administrators’; e.g. employees classified as ‘Professionals’ according to ASCO may be categorised by employers as having managerial status. Conversely, tables in the publication which contain estimates for non-managerial employees (as defined by employers) will include some employees who would be classified to the ASCO major group ‘Managers and administrators’.


13 Questions on how employees' pay was set in the survey reference period were included in the survey for the first time in May 2000. The questions collected data on whether all or any part of their pay was set by an individual agreement, collective agreement, award, or a combination of these. Data was also collected on whether agreements (individual and collective) were certified, approved or registered with an industrial tribunal or authority. For employees whose pay was set by an award, data was also collected on whether they received more than the rate of pay specified in the award.

14 In May 2002, the questions on how employees' pay was set in the survey reference period were changed to collect data on whether the main part of their pay was set by individual agreement, collective agreement or award. Data was again collected on whether agreements were certified, approved or registered with an industrial tribunal or authority. It is considered unlikely that this change will affect comparability of data between surveys.


15 The publication provides estimates of the proportion of employees for earnings ranges and methods of setting pay. Estimates of the number of employees from the EEH are not yet available. Users who require estimates of number of employees can use data from the Labour Force Survey (LFS), which is a monthly ABS survey of households. Although there are a number of conceptual and methodological reasons for differences between estimates of employees based on the LFS and those based on the EEH, the LFS estimates may be used in conjunction with the EEH proportions to obtain an approximation to the number of employees whose earnings are within the earnings ranges or whose pay are set by awards, individual agreements or collective agreements.

16 The following table contains estimates from LFS for May 2002, of the number of employees, by state and sex.




New South Wales
South Australia
Western Australia
Northern Territory
Australian Capital Territory

Source: ABS data available on request, Labour Force, Australia, May 2002

17 Estimates of the number of employees for the public sector for May 2002 are available in Wage and Salary Earners, Public Sector Australia
(cat. no. 6248.0).


18 Care should be taken when comparing estimates of average weekly earnings from the survey with those published quarterly in Average Weekly Earnings, Australia (cat. no. 6302.0), as different sample design and survey methodologies are used. 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 the weekly earnings of a sample of employees within the employer units selected. In addition, 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.

19 Estimates of average weekly earnings and hours for May 2002 have been compiled on a consistent basis with previous Surveys of Employee Earnings and Hours. However, care should be taken in using data at disaggregated levels from the survey on a time series basis because of the presence of sampling error.


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


21 Users may also wish to refer to the following publications:
  • Average Weekly Earnings, Australia, cat. no. 6302.0-issued quarterly
  • Employee Earnings and Hours, Australia, cat. no. 6306.0-issued biennially
  • Employee Earnings, Benefits and Trade Union Membership, Australia, cat. no. 6310.0-issued annually
  • Labour Force, Australia, cat. no. 6203.0-issued monthly
  • Wage and Salary Earners, Public Sector Australia, cat. no. 6248.0-issued quarterly
  • Wage Cost Index, Australia, cat. no. 6345.0-issued quarterly
  • Labour Statistics: Concepts, Sources and Methods, 2001 cat. no. 6102.0-issued 6 August 2001

22 Current publications and other products released by the ABS are listed in the Catalogue of Publications and Products, Australia (cat. no. 1101.0). The Catalogue is available from any ABS office or the ABS web site. The ABS also issues a daily Release Advice on the web site which details products to be released in the week ahead.


23 Estimates of earnings shown in the publication are rounded to the nearest 10 cents and those of average weekly hours paid for are rounded to the first decimal place.

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

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