6227.0 - Education and Work, Australia, May 2013 Quality Declaration 
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 29/11/2013   
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The Survey of Education and Work (SEW) is conducted in May each year throughout Australia as part of the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) household survey program. For information on the institutional environment of the ABS, including its legislative obligations, financing and governance arrangements, and mechanisms for scrutiny of ABS operations, please see ABS Institutional Environment.


The Survey of Education and Work provides information for a range of key indicators relating to the educational participation and attainment of persons aged 15 to 74 years, along with data on their transition between education and work.

The type of information collected includes: general demographic and labour force characteristics, participation in education in the survey month and in the year prior to the survey; type of educational institution attended; level of education of current and previous study; highest year of school completed; level and main field of highest non-school qualification; transition from education to work; unmet demand for education; and selected characteristics of apprentices including unmet demand for apprenticeships and traineeships.

The Australian Standard Classification of Education (ASCED) (cat. no. 1272.0) is used to classify the Level and Field of education. The ASCED is a national standard classification which can be applied to all sectors of the Australian education system including schools, vocational education and training and higher education.

As SEW is collected as a supplement to the Labour Force Survey (LFS), persons excluded from the LFS are also excluded from this survey (see Explanatory Notes in Labour Force, Australia (cat. no. 6202.0) for standard LFS exclusions). Additional exclusions from SEW are persons aged 75 years or older, institutionalised persons and boarding school pupils. Very remote areas, excluding Indigenous Communities, have been included since 2009. Persons permanently unable to work and persons aged 65 to 74 years who are not intending to work, or not in the labour force, or not marginally attached to the labour force were included for the first time in 2013.


The ABS has been conducting similar education and work surveys since 1964. These surveys were conducted annually, in February, from 1964 to 1974, in May 1975 and 1976, in August 1977 and 1978 and annually, in May, since 1979. Data from the survey are released approximately six months after they have been collected.


The LFS is primarily designed to provide estimates for the whole of Australia and, secondly, for each state and territory. The LFS is based on a sample of private dwellings (approximately 29,000 houses, flats etc) and non-private dwellings, such as hotels and motels. Until 2012, the number of completed interviews for the Survey of Education and Work each year (after taking into account scope and coverage exclusions) was around 39,000. In 2013, the sample size was around 43,600 due to the inclusion, for the first time, of all persons aged 65 to 74 years. For a complete list of scope and coverage inclusions and exclusions for the Survey of Education and Work, refer to the Explanatory Notes.

Two types of error are possible in an estimate based on a sample survey: non-sampling error and sampling error.

Non-sampling error arises from inaccuracies in collecting, recording and processing the data. Every effort is made to minimise reporting error by the careful design of questionnaires, intensive training and supervision of interviewers, and efficient data processing procedures.

Sampling error occurs because a sample, rather than the entire population is surveyed. One measure of the likely difference resulting from not including all dwellings in the survey is given by the standard error. There are about two chances in three that a sample estimate will differ by less than one standard error from the figure that would have been obtained if all dwellings had been included in the survey and about nineteen chances in twenty that the difference will be less than two standard errors. Relative Standard Errors (RSEs) of the estimates for this survey are included with this release.

Every 5 years, following the availability of data from the Census of Population and Housing, the ABS reviews the LFS sample design to ensure that the sample continues to accurately represent the Australian population. The latest review, based on 2011 Census data, was completed with the new LFS sample phased-in over the four months from May to August 2013. Overall, the 2011 sample design generally maintains standard errors at the levels targeted under the 2006 sample design. For more information see Information Paper: Labour Force Survey Sample Design, May 2013 (cat. no. 6269.0).


The ABS seeks to maximise consistency and comparability over time by minimising changes to its surveys. However, sound survey practice requires ongoing development and maintenance to maintain the integrity of the data and the efficiency of collection.

From December 2012 to April 2013, the ABS conducted a trial of online electronic data collection. Respondents in one rotation group (i.e. one-eighth of the survey sample) were offered the options of self completing their labour force survey questionnaire online instead of via a face-to-face or telephone interview. From May 2013, the ABS has commenced the expansion of the offer of online electronic collection to each new incoming rotation group. For more information see the article Transition to Online Collection of the Labour Force Survey.

For changes between iterations of the SEW, please refer to the Explanatory Notes. For a full list of changes made to the LFS, see Chapter 20 of Labour Statistics: Concepts, Sources and Methods, 2013 (cat. no. 6102.0.55.001).


Detailed information on the terminology, classifications and other technical aspects associated with the Survey of Education and Work can be found in the relevant web pages included with this release.


Tabulated data and associated RSEs are available in spreadsheet format and can be accessed from Downloads. Additional tables are also available in a separate release in Education and Work, Australia - Additional data cubes (cat. no. 6227.0.55.003).

Data from this survey will also be accessible in the TableBuilder and DataAnalyser environments, enabling users to create their own customised output as required. For further details, refer to the Microdata Entry Page on the ABS website.

A Confidentialised Unit Record File (CURF) containing confidentialised microdata from the SEW has been released biennially from 2001 to 2011.

Data are also available on request. Note that detailed data can be subject to high relative standard errors which in some cases may result in data being confidentialised.

For further information about these or related statistics, contact the National Information and Referral Service on 1300 135 070.