6102.0.55.001 - Labour Statistics: Concepts, Sources and Methods, 2013  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 07/05/2013   
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4.2.1 There are many attributes needed to descriptively categorise employment, in addition to describing the employment relationship between an employed person and the business in which they work (as outlined in Chapter 4.1). This chapter outlines some further classifications describing various aspects about the the characteristics of employment and jobs, with Chapter 4.3 and Chapter 4.4 providing more detail on hours worked and employment arrangements respectively.


4.2.2 The occupation classification used in ABS surveys is the Australian and New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations (ANZSCO) First Edition, Revision 1, 2009. ANZSCO is a skill-based classification of occupations which covers all jobs in the Australian and New Zealand workforce. Occupation information collected in surveys and the Census provides a description of a person's job and refers to the kind of work undertaken by an employed person irrespective of the industry in which that job is held. Jobs and occupations are fundamental concepts to the classification. A job is a set of tasks designed to be performed by one individual for an employer, whereas an occupation is a set of jobs with similar sets of tasks. Occupations are classified according to two criteria - skill level and skill specialisation.

    Skill level is a function of the range and complexity of the set of tasks involved. The greater the range and complexity of the set of tasks, the greater the skill level of the occupation. The criteria used in ANZSCO to measure skill level are the formal education and/or training, previous experience and on-the-job training usually required to competently perform the set of tasks required for that occupation.

    Skill specialisation of an occupation is based on the field of knowledge required, tools and equipment used, materials worked on, and goods or services provided in relation to the tasks performed. Skill specialisation is used to group occupations according to type, rather than level of skill.

4.2.3 The structure of ANZSCO comprises five hierarchical levels: Major Groups (the broadest level), Sub-Major Groups, Minor Groups, Unit Groups and Occupations (the finest level). The Major Groups are distinguished from each other on the basis of skill level, and, where necessary, the broad concept of skill specialisation. The eight Major Groups are:
          1 Managers
          2 Professionals
          3 Technicians and Trades Workers
          4 Community and Personal Service Workers
          5 Clerical and Administrative Workers
          6 Sales Workers
          7 Machinery Operators and Drivers
          8 Labourers

4.2.4 The sub-major group, minor group, unit group and occupation levels provide increasingly detailed dissections of the broad categories. For further information on ANZSCO, refer to ANZSCO: Australian and New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupation, First Edition, Revision 1 (cat. no. 1220.0).

4.2.5 Occupation data are available from the Labour Force Survey (quarterly), a number of supplementary topics to the Labour Force Survey, most Special Social Surveys, the five-yearly Census of Population and Housing and employer surveys such as the Survey of Employee Earnings and Hours.


4.2.6 The notion of what constitutes a standard full-time working week has required continual re-examination over several decades with the progressive decline in standard hours of work, accompanied by substantial growth in the number of persons employed under part-time working arrangements.

4.2.7 In the absence of any internationally accepted definition of full-time work, two approaches have been taken in various countries. The first is objective and is based on the number of hours worked. This approach is relatively simple to apply without requiring the respondent to know details about their contractual arrangements on hours worked, but provides no flexibility to accommodate variations in 'normal' hours of work in different industries and occupations. The second is more subjective and involves classifying workers as full-time or part-time based on the self-assessment of the person concerned irrespective of the number of hours actually worked. The self-assessment approach does accommodate such differences but is based solely on self-perception, and its accuracy is dependent on respondents' knowledge of whether they work full-time or part-time in their activity. Both approaches are used in ABS surveys, with ABS household surveys primarily using the hours based method since 2003. For further detail on hours worked see Chapter 4.3: Hours of work.

4.2.8 The full-time/part-time status classification differs from, and should not be confused with, the criteria for being casual (employees with or without leave entitlements). While the classification of full-time and part-time employment is based on hours worked, whether a person is classified as casual is unrelated to hours worked. For further information see Chapter 4.4: Employment arrangements.

4.2.9 Persons working part-time hours should not be confused with underemployed workers (see Chapter 5 ) even though both may be working less than 35 hours per week. Part-time workers can be classified into two groups: fully employed part-time workers; ie those who don't want to work more hours, and underemployed part-time workers who work part-time on an involuntary basis (i.e. they want more hours of work) and who are available to work those extra hours.

ABS Household Surveys

4.2.10 The approach used in the Labour Force Survey and adopted in many other ABS household surveys is to define full-time and part-time status in terms of hours worked. The definition used in the Labour Force Survey and related surveys designates full-time workers as persons who (a) usually work 35 hours or more per week in all jobs, or (b) although usually working less than 35 hours a week, actually worked 35 hours or more during the survey reference week. Part-time workers are those who usually work less than 35 hours per week, and either did so during the reference week, or were not at work in the reference week. Under this definition, persons with more than one job are defined as full-time if they work 35 hours or more across all of their jobs.

4.2.11 The approach based on respondents' perception of their full-time or part-time status is used in some supplementary topics to the Labour Force Survey, for example Persons Not In the Labour Force (see Chapter 21.10.). This approach is most often used where information is sought about work that is not currently being undertaken and where recall problems may be encountered using a more objective approach (e.g. for jobs held 12 months prior to the survey date).

4.2.12 Full-time/part-time status is available from most ABS labour-related household surveys including: the monthly Labour Force Survey; labour-related supplementary topics to the monthly Labour Force Survey; various Special Social Surveys; and the Census of Population and Housing.

4.2.13 The precise definition used in different collections varies, so please refer to the explanatory material for specific collections. For example in the Census, full-time/part-time status is based on actual hours worked in the week prior to the Census.

ABS Business Surveys

4.2.14 In ABS business surveys, the classification of employee jobs as full-time is based on whether normal hours are equal to, or greater than, what has been agreed to as being full-time under the relevant award or agreement (i.e. normal hours). If there are no agreed or award hours associated with the job, then it is classified as full-time where the usual hours of work per week are 35 or more. Part-time jobs are those which are not full-time.

4.2.15 The full-time/part-time status classification is used in the following ABS business surveys: the Survey of Employee Earnings and Hours (see Chapter 30; and the Survey of Average Weekly Earnings (see Chapter 29).


4.2.16 Managerial employees are defined as those who have strategic responsibilities in the conduct or operations of the organisation and/or are in charge of a significant number of employees. They do not usually have overtime payment entitlements. Jobs occupied by professionally qualified persons are defined as managerial only if the occupant primarily performs managerial tasks. Jobs occupied by working proprietors of incorporated businesses (also referred to as owner-managers of incorporated enterprises) are considered managerial. Non-managerial employee jobs include clerical staff, tradespersons, non-managerial professionals, apprentices, trainees and cadets.

4.2.17 Care should be taken when comparing estimates based on ANZSCO groups with estimates based on the managerial status of employees. Jobs with managerial status include those classified to ANZSCO categories other than the ANZSCO major group Managers, e.g. Professionals according to ANZSCO may be categorised as having managerial status. Conversely, estimates for non-managerial jobs include some employees classified to the ANZSCO major group Managers.

4.2.18 The managerial/non-managerial classification is only available from the Survey of Employee Earnings and Hours.


4.2.19 The adult/junior classification is mainly available from ABS labour-related business surveys. In these surveys, adults are defined as employees aged 21 years or over, and employees who are paid at the adult rate regardless of their age (employees aged under 21 may be paid at the full adult rate for their occupation). Juniors are employees aged under 21 who are not paid at the adult rate of pay for their occupation. ABS labour-related business surveys for which the adult/junior classification is available include the Survey of Employee Earnings and Hours (see Chapter 30). The Survey of Average Weekly Earnings (see Chapter 29) also produces estimates relating to full-time adult jobs.

4.2.20 In household surveys, the age of each respondent is collected. Furthermore since 2009, the labour supplementary Survey of Employee Earnings, Benefits and Trade Union Membership has collected the data item 'Whether paid full adult rate of pay.

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