2900.0 - Census of Population and Housing: Understanding the Census and Census Data, Australia , 2016  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 08/11/2017  First Issue
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Number of Employees (EMPP)

This variable describes the number of employees (in ranges) employed by owner-managers. This variable is applicable to all persons aged 15 years and over, who are owner managers of incorporated or unincorporated enterprises.

How this variable is created

Number of Employees is a person variable that is created based on the response to the question of whether their business employs people. An image of this question is provided below.

Respondents use a mark box to indicate the number of employees. In 0.1% of pre-processed data, people had marked more than one response. In these cases, responses were accepted in the order they appeared on the form and the extra response was rejected.

Variable history

Number of Employees is used to help understand the nature of self-employment (whether working on own account, or as an employer), and the characteristics of small business owners.

The question relating to number of employees was first asked in the 2006 Census, and has been asked in each census since then. The number of employees employed in a business is used to help understand whether the business employs people who are not owners. For the 2016 Census a slight change was made to the question to indicate that owner-managers should exclude themselves from the count of people they employ.

Non-response rate

Unlike most Census variables, the non-response rate for Number of Employees is not affected by persons who did not return a Census form because this variable is only applicable to persons with a Status of Employment as owner/managers of incorporated and unincorporated enterprises. Persons who did not respond, and are imputed, have a Status of Employment of 'not stated' and fall into the 'not applicable' category for Number of employees. For more information see the Glossary entry in the 2016 Census Dictionary. For more information about non-response rates, refer to Understanding Census data quality.

The non-response rate for this variable was 1.2% (1.7% in 2011).

Data usage notes

The number of employees question was asked for the first time in the 2016 Census on the Interviewer Household Form, a form type primarily used in discrete Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities across Australia.

The number of persons for which the question was applicable to in the 'nil employees' category has increased in 2016 to 56.9% (39.9% in 2011 and 40.3% in 2006).This could be due to the rewording of the instructions to 'Exclude owner/s of the business' when answering the question.

Further information

A definition of Number of Employees is available in the 2016 Census Dictionary.
For information related to Number of Employees, see data quality statements for Status in Employment and Labour Force Status.

Household form question image

Question 37 as it appeared on the 2016 Census Household Paper Form

Image: 2016 Household Paper Form - Question 37. Does the person's business employ people?
A text only version of the online Census Household form is available from the Downloads tab.