3414.0 - Guide to Migrant Statistical Sources, 2011 (Edition 2)  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 29/03/2011   
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Underemployed Workers Survey


The Underemployed Workers Survey (UWS) was first conducted in 1985, then every three years, and from 1994 it was conducted annually as a supplement to the Labour Force Survey. It provides information about workers who are not fully employed, i.e. part-time workers who indicate that they would prefer to work more hours and full-time workers who did not work full-time hours in the reference period for economic reasons (such as being stood down or insufficient work being available).

The UWS collects data on employed people aged 15 years and over. The largest population of interest is part-time workers wanting more hours and the survey covers their availability to start work with more hours, whether they were looking for work with more hours, and their experience in looking for work with more hours. Other information sought includes the duration of the current period of insufficient work and the number of extra hours preferred. Data items contained within these topics are capable of being cross classified with Data Items Relevant to Migrants and Ethnicity.

While basic data on underemployment are available from the Labour Force Survey, this supplementary survey provides greater detail on the characteristics and the job search activities of this important segment of labour underutilisation. The data also provide important support to policy formulation, as well as for labour market forecasts, and are an important source for those concerned with employment policy initiatives, and benefit and support programs. Measures of underemployment supplement other measures of labour market slack such as the number of unemployed persons and discouraged job seekers.



  • Country of birth
    Note: Country of birth is collected as a core data item in the Labour Force Survey. Although individual country of birth is collected, standard outputs for this data item are usually aggregated to one of the following formats:
    • Born in Australia
    • Born overseas
      • Born in main English-speaking countries
      • Born in other than main English-speaking countries
    • Born in Australia
    • Born overseas
      • Oceania and Antarctica
      • North-West Europe
      • Southern and Eastern Europe
      • North Africa and the Middle East
      • South-East Asia
      • North-East Asia
      • Southern and Central Asia
      • Americas
      • Sub-Saharan Africa
  • Country of birth of person and Year of arrival in Australia
    • Born in Australia
    • Born overseas
      • Arrived before 1971
      • Arrived 1971–1980
      • Arrived 1981–1990
      • Arrived 1991–2000
      • Arrived 2001 to survey date
  • Highest non-school qualification and whether qualification obtained in overseas or in Australia
    • Born in Australia
    • Born overseas
      • With a non-school qualification
        • Qualification obtained overseas
        • Qualification obtained in Australia
  • Main difficulty in finding work with more hours
    • Language difficulties
    • Difficulties with ethnic background


A full list of data items collected for the UWS is available in Underemployed Workers, Australia (cat. no. 6265.0).

Further details on scope, geographic coverage, data availability and publications, methodology, classifications and concepts are available in Labour Statistics: Concepts, Sources and Methods (cat. no. 6102.0.55.001) or visit the Underemployed Workers entry in the Directory of Statistical Sources.


For further information about these and related statistics, contact the National Information and Referral Service.

Phone: 1300 135 070
Fax: 1300 135 211
Post: Client Services, ABS, GPO Box 796, Sydney 2001
Email: client.services@abs.gov.au