4720.0 - National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Survey: User Guide, 2014-15  
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WORK


This chapter provides information on the employment measures that were collected in the 2014–15 NATSISS, including:


Labour force status

A reduced set of questions from the ABS monthly Labour Force Survey were used to collect information on the labour force status of selected persons aged 15 years and over. Based on the information provided, the person was classified as:
  • employed;
  • unemployed; or
  • not in the labour force.

More details on these classifications are provided below.

Employed persons

In the 2014–15 NATSISS an employed person is someone who, during the week prior to interview:
  • worked for pay, profit, commission or payment in kind, in a job or business or on a farm; or
  • worked without pay in a family business or on a farm; or
  • had a job, business or farm that they were away from for any reason.

In addition to these criteria, a person must have reported usually working one hour or more per week, in all jobs, to be classified as employed. In the 2014-15 NATSISS, people were only asked about the number of hours they usually work, and not how many hours they worked in the week prior to interview (ie the reference week). For this reason, the number of hours usually worked was used in the classification of a person's labour force status. This differs slightly from the definition of an employed person in the monthly Labour Force Survey, in which a person (excluding those who were away from work in the reference week) must have worked for one hour or more in the reference week to be classified as employed.

People aged 15 years and over were asked about work they had done in the week prior to interview. This included work done as part of the Remote Jobs and Communities Program (RJCP). People were asked if, during the week prior to interview, they:
  • did any work at all in a job, business or farm; or
  • did any work without pay in a family business (non-remote areas only); or
  • had a job, business or farm they were away from because of holidays, sickness or any other reason.

People who said yes to any of the above were asked for employment details of their current job. People who did not do any of the above, including people who reported being permanently unable to work and people who were permanently not intending to work, were not classified as employed and so were not asked any further questions about the nature of employment.

Remote Jobs and Communities Program (RJCP)

From 1 July 2013 the Remote Jobs and Communities Program (RJCP) started operating across remote Australia, replacing the Community Development Employment Projects (CDEP) program, Disability Employment Services (DES), the Indigenous Employment Program (IEP), and Job Services Australia (JSA). RJCP provided employment support services for people living in remote Australia.

Although the questions about work done in the week prior to interview included work done as part of RJCP, people who were participating in the program were not classified as employed. People in remote areas were asked who pays for the work they do. People who said they were paid by Centrelink or by 'RJCP', and those who were unpaid, were not classified as employed and were sequenced to the questions about job search activities to determine whether they were unemployed or not in the labour force.

For more information on the labour force status classification of RJCP participants, see the Appendix 3: Understanding labour force status and the introduction of the Remote Jobs and Communities Program, released with the 2014–15 NATSISS summary publication.

Multiple job holders and status in employment

Information about the nature of a person's work was collected for people who had a job in the week prior to interview. For some people, this information resulted in them not being classified as employed. For example, people who reported their main job as being unpaid voluntary work.

People who had a job in the week prior to interview were asked whether they had more than one job in that week. People in non-remote areas were also asked a series of questions to determine their status in employment. A person's status in employment refers to their position in the enterprise in which they work and is defined as follows:
  • Employee: An employed person who does not operate their own incorporated or unincorporated enterprise. An employee works for a public or private employer and receives remuneration in wages, salary, on a commission basis (with or without a retainer), tips, piece-rates, or payment in kind;
  • Owner manager of incorporated enterprise (OMIE): A person who operates his or her own incorporated enterprise, that is, a business entity which is registered as a separate legal entity to its members or owners (also know as limited liability company). An OMIE may or may not hire one or more employees in addition to themselves and/or other owners of that business;
  • Owner manager of unincorporated enterprise (OMUE): A person who operates his or her own unincorporated enterprise or engages independently in a profession or trade. An OMUE may or may not hire one or more employees in addition to themselves and/or other owners of that business; and
  • Contributing Family Worker: A person who works without pay in an economic enterprise operated by a relative.

To determine a person's status in employment, people were asked whether, in their main job (for multiple job holders, that is the job or business in which they usually worked the most hours), they worked:
  • for an employer;
  • in their own business; or
  • other/uncertain.

People who worked for an employer were asked if they are paid a wage or salary, or some other form of payment. A wage is an hourly rate paid to an employee, while a salary is a fixed annual amount divided into equal instalments over the year. People who reported being paid a wage or salary were classified as employees. People who were uncertain or reported some other form of employment or form of payment were asked what their working/payment arrangements are in their main job. Response categories included:
  • unpaid voluntary worker;
  • unpaid trainee work;
  • contractor/subcontractor;
  • own business/partnership;
  • commission only;
  • commission with retainer;
  • in a family business without pay;
  • payment in kind;
  • paid by the piece/item produced;
  • wage/salary earner; or
  • other.

Unpaid voluntary workers and unpaid trainee workers were not classified as employed and so were not asked any further questions about their current employment. People who reported their working/payment arrangements as any of the following were classified as employees:
  • commission only;
  • commission with retainer;
  • payment in kind;
  • paid by the piece/item produced;
  • wage/salary earner; or
  • other.

Contributing family workers are those people who reported working in a family business without pay.

People who reported their working/payment arrangements as contractor/subcontractor, or own business/partnership, as well as anyone who earlier reported that they worked in their own business were asked if:
  • they had any employees in that business; and
  • the business was incorporated.

People who worked in a business that was incorporated were classified as an Owner manager of an incorporated enterprise (OMIE). People who worked in a business that was unincorporated were classified as an Owner manager of an unincorporated enterprise (OMUE). They were further classified as either OMIEs/OMUEs with or without employees.

Hours worked and working arrangements

People who had a job in the week prior to interview (excluding unpaid voluntary workers and unpaid trainee workers) were asked how many hours they usually work each week in their job or business (or all jobs for those people who had more than one job). Based on the hours usually worked in all jobs, employed people were classified as either:
  • part-time workers — employed people who usually worked less than 35 hours a week (in all jobs); or
  • full-time workers — employed people who usually worked 35 hours or more a week (in all jobs).

People who usually worked one hour or more per week were asked, if they could choose the total number of hours they worked each week, and taking into account how that would affect their income, whether they would prefer to work:
  • fewer hours;
  • about the same number of hours;
  • more hours than they currently work; or
  • don't know.

Employees in non-remote areas, and all employed people in remote areas, were asked whether their job was permanent or temporary, whether their employer provided them with paid sick leave and/or paid holiday leave, and whether they usually work any shift work.

All employed people were asked whether it was possible for them to meet all their cultural responsibilities. The question refers to cultural responsibilities people have outside of work, even if their work is for a cultural organisation. Cultural responsibilities include things like:
  • telling traditional stories;
  • being involved in ceremonies; and
  • attending events, such as funerals or festivals.

Duration of employment

Information was collected on the duration of current employment, age when first started paid employment and total time in paid employment. Employed people were asked how long they have been in their current (main) job or business.

People who were permanently unable to work or permanently not intending to work were asked if they had ever had a job. If they had a job at some point in their lifetime they, along with all other people aged 15 years and over, were asked:
  • how old they were when they first started paid employment; and
  • how much time they had been in paid employment, in their whole life.

Occupation

An occupation is a collection of jobs that are sufficiently similar in their title, tasks, skill level and skill specialisation, which have been grouped together for the purposes of classification. Employed people were asked what their occupation was in their main job. People were asked to provide the full job title, for example, 'childcare aide', 'maths teacher', 'pastry cook', or 'tanning machine operator'. Employed people in non-remote areas were also asked to describe their main tasks and duties, for example, 'looking after children at day centre', 'teaching secondary school maths students', 'making pastries and cakes', or 'operating leather tanning machine'.

For this survey, occupations have been classified according to the ANZSCO -– Australian and New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations, 2013, Version 1.2 (cat. no. 1220.0).

The major groups of occupations according to ANZSCO are:
  • Managers;
  • Professionals;
  • Technicians and Trades Workers;
  • Community and Personal Service Workers;
  • Clerical and Administrative Workers;
  • Sales Workers;
  • Machinery Operators and Drivers; and
  • Labourers.

Industry

An industry is a group of businesses or organisations that undertake similar economic activities to produce goods and services. Employed people were asked what kind of business or service was carried out by their business/place of employment. People were asked to describe as fully as possible, using two words or more, for example, 'dairy farming' or 'footwear manufacturing'. Employed people were also asked what was the name of their business/employer — people could choose not to answer this question.

For this survey, industries have been classified according to the Australian and New Zealand Standard Industrial Classification (ANZSIC), 2006 (Revision 2.0) (cat. no. 1292.0).

The industry divisions according to ANZSIC 2006 are:
  • Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing;
  • Mining;
  • Manufacturing;
  • Electricity, Gas, Water and Waste Services;
  • Construction;
  • Wholesale Trade;
  • Retail Trade;
  • Accommodation and Food Services;
  • Transport, Postal and Warehousing;
  • Information Media and Telecommunications;
  • Financial and Insurance Services;
  • Rental, Hiring and Real Estate Services;
  • Professional, Scientific and Technical Services;
  • Administrative and Support Services;
  • Public Administration and Safety;
  • Education and Training;
  • Health Care and Social Assistance;
  • Arts and Recreation Services; and
  • Other Services.

Unemployed persons

In the 2014–15 NATSISS an unemployed person is someone who was not classified as employed and:
  • had actively looked for full-time or part-time work at any time in the four weeks prior to interview; and
  • was available for work in the week prior to interview.

This differs slightly from the definition of an unemployed person used in the monthly Labour Force Survey, which also includes people who were waiting to start a new job within four weeks from the end of the reference week and who could have started in the reference week if the job had been available then.

Actively looking for work means taking active steps such as contacting an employer or applying for jobs, and does not include reading job advertisements in the newspaper or on the internet, or registering with Centrelink as a jobseeker. A series of questions were asked of people who were not classified as employed, to determine whether they had actively looked for work and were available to start work.

People were asked if at any time in the four weeks prior to interview, they had been looking for full-time or part-time work. People who had looked for work were asked if at any time in the four weeks prior to interview, they had done any of the following to find a job:
  • written, phoned or applied in person to an employer for work;
  • had an interview with an employer for work;
  • answered an advertisement for a job;
  • checked or registered with Job Services Australia or any other employment agency;
  • taken steps to start or purchase a business (non-remote only);
  • advertised or tendered for work; or
  • contacted friends or relatives.

People who had done any of the above were considered to have actively looked for work and were asked whether they would have been able to start work in the week prior to interview, had they found a job. People who would have been able to start work and people who did not know whether they would have been able to start work were classified as unemployed. People who would not have been able to start work were classified as not in the labour force.

People who had looked for work were also asked if at any time in the four weeks prior to interview, they had done any of the following to find a job:
  • looked in newspapers, on the internet or checked factory notice boards;
  • registered with Centrelink as a jobseeker; and
  • other.

People who reported any of these as their only job search step(s) were classified as not in the labour force.

Duration of job search

Unemployed people were asked how long they had been looking for work and when they last worked. In remote areas people were asked:
  • the number of weeks or years they had been looking for work; and
  • the number of weeks or years since they last worked, or whether they had never had a job.

In non-remote areas people were asked to provide:
  • the date they began looking for work; and
  • the date they last worked, or whether they had never worked.

This information was converted into the number of weeks spent looking for work and the number of weeks since a person last worked. Duration of job search was determined as follows:
  • the number of weeks spent looking for work for people who had never worked;
  • the number of weeks spent looking for work for people whose time spent looking for work was less than time since last worked; or
  • the number of weeks since last worked for people whose time spent looking for work was greater than time since last worked.

Difficulties finding work

Unemployed people were asked for all the difficulties/problems they had getting a job, based on the following:
  • transport problems or too far to travel;
  • no jobs at all;
  • no jobs in local area or in line of work;
  • insufficient education, training or skills;
  • own ill health or disability;
  • treated badly because Aboriginal/Torres Strait Islander;
  • too young or too old;
  • have criminal record;
  • don't have driver's licence;
  • unable to find suitable child care;
  • other; and
  • no difficulties.

More than one response was allowed. If a person reported more than one difficulty, they were asked which was the main difficulty.

Persons not in the labour force

In the 2014–15 NATSISS persons not in the labour force are those people who were not classified as either employed or unemployed. These people are of interest as they reflect the potential supply of labour. Persons not in the labour force represent a diverse group, including those who have some attachment to the labour force, such as:
  • people who want to work, are actively looking for work, but were not able to start work in the week prior to interview; and
  • people who want to work, but are not actively looking for work.

Persons not in the labour force also includes people who:
  • do not want to work; and
  • are permanently unable to work.

Information was collected on all the reasons people who were not in the labour force, had not been looking or actively looking for work. People who had not been looking for work at all were asked for all the reasons they had not been looking. People who had not been actively looking for work (eg people who had looked in newspapers or registered with Centrelink as a jobseeker but had not taken any active steps to find a job) were asked for all the reasons they had not taken any other steps to find work. Response categories included:
  • has a job to go to;
  • own short-term illness or injury;
  • own long-term health condition or disability;
  • pregnancy;
  • studying/returning to studies;
  • does not need to work;
  • welfare payments/pension may be affected;
  • moved house/on holidays;
  • give others a chance;
  • childcare;
  • ill health of other than self;
  • other family considerations;
  • employers think too young;
  • employers think too old;
  • lacks necessary schooling, training, skills or experience;
  • difficulties with language or ethnic background;
  • no jobs in locality or in line of work;
  • no jobs with suitable hours;
  • no jobs at all;
  • feels that own ill health or disability discourages employers;
  • other; and
  • don't known.

More than one response could be provided.

People aged 15–64 years, who were not looking for work in the four weeks prior to interview (including people who were employed) were asked whether they had been looking for work at any time in the 12 months prior to interview.

Labour force rates and ratios

The 2014–15 NATSISS collected information on the number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who were employed, unemployed and not in the labour force. This information can be used to calculate rates and ratios, which are commonly used measures for describing labour force data. Rates and ratios provide an indication of the relative size of a group of people who share particular characteristics, when compared to the larger population. The following rates and ratios can be calculated using labour force data:
  • Labour force participation rate - the number of people in the labour force (employed plus unemployed) expressed as a percentage of the total population;
  • Unemployment rate - the number of unemployed people expressed as a percentage of the total labour force; and
  • Employment to population ratio - the number of employed people expressed as a percentage of the total population.

Comparison to the 2008 NATSISS

In 2014–15, the labour force module was updated to reflect current ABS standards. Differences in questions, concepts and definitions are outlined below, along with information about new and revised data items, and data items that were available in 2008, but not in 2014–15.

Detailed information on how work and labour force characteristics data was collected in the 2008 NATSISS can be found in the Work chapter of National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Survey: Users' Guide, 2008 (cat. no. 4720.0). The 2008 NATSISS questionnaire and Data item list can be accessed via the Downloads tab.

Labour force status

There are differences in the classification of labour force status between the 2008 and 2014–15 NATSISS. In 2008, the Community Development Employment Projects (CDEP) scheme existed, allowing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in communities to exchange unemployment benefits for opportunities to work or train in activities which were managed by a local Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander organisation. From July 2013, CDEP was phased out and replaced by the Remote Jobs and Communities Program (RJCP), which provided employment support services for people living in remote Australia. In the 2008 NATSISS, all CDEP participants were classified as employed, while in the 2014–15 NATSISS, participants in the RJCP were either classified as unemployed or not in the labour force.

The difference in the classification of labour force status for participants in these programs is based on payment arrangements, and aligns the treatment of these programs with labour force definitions. People working under CDEP received wages, and were considered to have an employer/employee relationship. RJCP participants received income support payments and were not considered to have an employer/employee relationship. RJCP participants were classified as unemployed or not in the labour force, depending on whether or not they had been actively looking for, and were available to, work.

For more information on the labour force status classification of RJCP participants, see the Appendix 3: Understanding labour force status and the introduction of the Remote Jobs and Communities Program, released with the 2014–15 NATSISS summary publication.

There were also some changes to the active job search steps between 2008 and 2014–15. The following job search steps were considered to be active in 2008:
  • checked factory notice boards; and
  • registered with Centrelink as a jobseeker.

These were not considered to be active job search steps in 2014–15, and people who reported one or both of these as their only job search step(s) were classified as not in the labour force. In 2008, people who reported one of these job search steps, and were available to start work in the week prior to interview, were classified as unemployed.

The following job search steps were included in 2014–15 but not in 2008, and are considered to be active job search steps:
  • had an interview with an employer for work; and
  • taken steps to start or purchase a business (non-remote only).

In 2014–15, people who reported one of these job search steps, and were available to start work in the week prior to interview, were classified as unemployed.

Employed persons

Between 2008 and 2014–15, the 'Status in employment' data item was revised to reflect the current ABS standard. In 2008, status in employment was classified as follows:
  • Employee: A person who works for a public or private employer and receives remuneration in wages, salary, a retainer fee by their employer while working on a commission basis, tips, piece-rates or payment in kind, or a person who operates his or her own incorporated enterprise with or without hiring employees;
  • Employer: A person who operates his or her own unincorporated economic enterprise or engages independently in a profession or trade, and hires one or more employees;
  • Own Account Worker: A person who operates his or her own unincorporated economic enterprise or engages independently in a profession or trade and hires no employees; and
  • Contributing Family Worker: A person who works without pay in an economic enterprise operated by a relative.

The following information was collected for the first time in 2014–15, and relates to employees in non-remote areas, and all employed people in remote areas:
  • Whether has paid leave entitlements; and
  • Whether usually works shift work.

Additionally, the data item 'Whether current job is permanent or temporary' has been separated into two data items — one for remote (all employed) and one for non-remote (employees only). In 2008 this data was for all employed people, in both remote and non-remote areas.

In 2008, 'Industry of main job' only applied to persons in non-remote areas. In 2014–15, this has been expanded to include people in remote areas.

The following information was collected in 2008, but was not collected in 2014–15:
  • Whether current job is fixed term, ongoing or seasonal;
  • Whether current job is casual, shiftwork, or full/part-time;
  • Whether CDEP participant;
  • Whether main job is part of CDEP; and
  • Duration of CDEP (months).

Unemployed persons

The 2014–15 data item labelled 'Duration of job search' was labelled as 'Duration of unemployment' in 2008. This data item is based on the elapsed time since a person began looking for work, and the elapsed time since they last worked. In 2008, information about the time since a person last worked was based on when they last worked for two weeks or more. In 2014-15, information about the time since a person last worked was based on when they last worked for a period of any duration.

Persons not in the labour force

All reasons not looking for work included a new category in 2014–15: 'feels that own ill health or disability discourages employers'.

Employment support services

In 2008, information was collected on the need for, and use of, employment support services. This information was not collected in 2014–15. The data items relating to employment support services available in 2008 were:
  • Whether used employment support services in last 12 months;
  • Whether needed employment support services in last 12 months; and
  • Reasons did not use employment support services in last 12 months.

Work and study

The data item 'Whether engaged in work and/or study' was output for the first time in the 2014–15 NATSISS. This data item is derived from a person's labour force status and their full-time/part-time study status. The data item includes the following categories:
  • working full-time and/or studying full-time;
  • working part-time and studying part time;
  • working part-time only;
  • studying part-time only; and
  • not working or studying.