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This document was added or updated on 26/05/2020.
CLASSIFICATIONS USED IN LABOUR STATISTICS
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:
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 Occupations, 2013, Version 1.2 (cat. no. 1220.0).
Occupation data are available from the Labour Force Survey (LFS) quarterly, a number of supplementary topics to the LFS, most Special Social Surveys, the five-yearly Census of Population and Housing, and employer surveys such as the Survey of Employee Earnings and Hours (EEH).
For additional information on occupation, see Labour Force Survey Standard Products and Data Item Guide (cat. no. 6103.0).
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.
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 the section: Hours of Work.
The full-time/part-time status classification differs from, and should not be confused with, the criteria for being casual (as measured through 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 the section: Employment.
Persons working part-time hours should not be confused with underemployed workers (see the section: Underutilised Labour) 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; i.e. 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.
For additional information on full-time/part-time status, see Labour Force Survey Standard Products and Data Item Guide (cat. no. 6103.0).
ABS Household Surveys
The approach used in the LFS 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 LFS 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.
The approach based on respondents' perception of their full-time or part-time status is used in some supplementary topics to the LFS, for example Participation, Job Search and Mobility Survey (PJSM) (see the relevant survey under the section: Labour Force Supplementary Surveys). 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).
Full-time/part-time status is available from most ABS labour-related household surveys including: the monthly LFS; labour-related supplementary topics to the monthly LFS; various Special Social Surveys; and the Census of Population and Housing.
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
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.
The full-time/part-time status classification is used in the following ABS business surveys: the EEH (see the section: Survey of Employee Earnings and Hours) and the Survey of Average Weekly Earnings (AWE) (see the section: Survey of Average Weekly Earnings).
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.
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.
The managerial/non-managerial classification is only available from the EEH.
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 less than 21 years 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 EEH (see the section: Survey of Employee Earnings and Hours). The AWE (see the section: Survey of Average Weekly Earnings) also produces estimates relating to full-time adult jobs.
An industry classification provides a framework which enables the grouping of businesses which carry out similar productive activities. The Australian and New Zealand Standard Industrial Classification 2006 (ANZSIC) is the standard industry classification used in Australia for the collection, compilation and publication of statistics by industry. It closely aligns with the International Standard Industrial Classification of All Economic Activities (ISIC), Revision 4, adopted by the United Nations Statistical Commission.
The ANZSIC has a hierarchical structure comprising four levels: Divisions (the broadest level), Subdivisions, Groups and Classes (the finest level). At the divisional level, the main purpose is to provide a limited number of categories for a broad overall picture of the economy and used for publication in summary tables. There are 19 divisions within the ANZSIC, each identified by a letter from A to S:
The Subdivision, Group and Class levels provide increasingly detailed dissections of these categories for the compilation of specific and detailed statistics. For further information on ANZSIC, refer to Australian and New Zealand Standard Industrial Classification 2006 (cat. no. 1292.0).
For additional information on industry, see Labour Force Survey Standard Products and Data Item Guide (cat. no. 6103.0).
There are a number of standard classifications which group the national economy into broad economic sectors. These sector classifications enable information to be provided about groups of economic units that have similar functions or institutional characteristics; for example, households, corporations or government units. The most relevant sector classifications for labour statistics are the Public/Private and Level of Government classifications. Other sector classifications include the Standard Economic Sector Classification of Australia (SESCA), Not for Profit, and Type of Legal Organisation. These are used within economic statistics. Sector classifications are described within the Standard Economic Sector Classifications of Australia (SESCA), 2008 (cat. no. 1218.0).
The public/private classification is used to identify whether an enterprise is a public or private unit.
The public sector includes:
The private sector includes:
Level of government
The level of government classification is based on the economic function, or role, of public sector units, and enables identification of public sector units by the level of government in which they operate. The classification has the following structure:
Note that when a public sector unit cannot be defined unambiguously as under the control of a single government, that unit will be classified to the level of government which typically has that role or function.
For more information on the classifications within the SESCA, refer to Standard Economic Sector Classifications of Australia (cat. no. 1218.0). For additional information on sector, see Labour Force Survey Standard Products and Data Item Guide (cat. no. 6103.0).
A range of socio-demographic data is available from labour-related household collections. Standard classifications used in the presentation of labour statistics include age, sex, birthplace, marital status, families and households, schooling and educational qualifications, language, and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander status. Statistical standards for social and demographic variables have been developed by the ABS and are described in Family, Household and Income Unit Variables (cat. no. 1286.0). Those relating to marital status, families and households, post-school educational qualifications, language, and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander status are discussed below.
Marital status is a core variable in a wide range of social, labour and demographic statistics, and is almost universally collected in ABS household collections. Its main purpose is to establish the living arrangements of couples in the Australian population. These living arrangements may be based on a legal concept (i.e. registered marriage), or a social, marriage-like arrangement (i.e. de facto marriage). Two separate concepts of marital status are measured, Registered Marital Status and Social Marital Status. These are discussed briefly below.
Registered marital status
Registered marital status is a person's relationship status in terms of whether he or she has, or has had, a registered marriage with another person for whom he or she holds, or held, a valid marriage certificate. Persons may be distinguished as:
Social marital status
Social marital status of an individual describes their relationship to another person who is usually resident in the household, regardless of whether the relationship is formalised through marriage registration. A social marriage exists when two persons live together as husband and wife, or partners, and individuals are regarded as married if they are in a de facto marriage, or if they are living with the person to whom they are registered as legally married. Persons may be distinguished as:
For additional information on marital status, see Labour Force Survey Standard Products and Data Item Guide (cat. no. 6103.0).
FAMILIES AND HOUSEHOLDS
The concepts of families and households are fundamental in the collection and dissemination of both social and labour statistics. A household can be thought of, in its broadest sense, as a group of persons who live and eat together as a single unit within a household. Notions of what constitutes a family vary. However, for statistical purposes it is defined within ABS collections as two or more related (by blood, marriage, adoption, step or fostering) persons, one of whom is at least 15 years of age, who are usually resident in the same household. Households and families constitute the basic groups of social aggregation. While the concept of household is broader than the concept of family, in practice both often refer to the same set of persons. Classifications relating to Household Composition, Relationship in Household, Family Composition and Relationship between families are discussed briefly below. For further information on these classifications, refer to Family, Household and Income Unit Variables (cat. no. 1286.0).
Household Composition is used to describe and categorise households on the basis of the number of families present, whether or not non-family members are present (family households only), and the number of household members (non-family households only). The standard Household Composition classification is:
Relationship in Household
Relationship in Household describes the familial and non-familial relationship of each person within each family in a given household. The familial relationship within each family is measured with reference to a family reference person chosen for that particular family.
The Relationship in Household classification has a four level hierarchical structure: major group and detailed minor groups. The major groups are distinguished from each other in terms of the presence or absence of residency, family membership, and relationship to reference person within the household. The major groups are:
The minor groups provide more detailed information about the relationship within the household. For example, a child under 15 years of age is further classified as being: a natural or adopted child; a step child; a foster child; grandchild; an otherwise related child; or an unrelated child.
Statistics on family type are used to identify family structures, and are used extensively in measures of the social wellbeing of the family unit and the individuals within those families. Operationally a family is defined as two or more persons, one of whom is at least 15 years of age, who are related by blood, marriage (registered or de facto), adoption, step or fostering, and who are usually resident in the same household. The basis of a family is formed by identifying the presence of a couple relationship, lone parent-child relationship, or other blood relationship. Some households will, therefore, contain more than one family.
The Family Composition classification has a four level hierarchical structure. The groups at the highest level are distinguished from each other on the presence or absence of a couple relationship, parent-child relationship, or other blood relationship. The four groups are:
The remaining three levels provide increasingly detailed dissections of the broad categories, based on the presence or absence of children aged less than 15 years, dependent students and non-dependent children. In addition to the four distinct levels, information about the 'type of couple' is provided to distinguish the sex of partners in couple relationships, to support analysis of family composition change over time:
For additional information on Families and Households, see Labour Force Survey Standard products and Data Item Guide (cat. no. 6103.0).
The standard classification of educational activity, the Australian Standard Classification of Education (ASCED), was released in 2001.
The ASCED has been developed to classify educational activity by the level and field of the activity. It also provides the flexibility to report statistics on different aspects of education such as enrolments, resources (human and financial) used, or the educational attainment of the population. ASCED has been designed to be applied to a number of education-related concepts, such as a 'qualification', a 'unit of study', a 'module' or a 'course'. The classification includes all pre-primary, primary and secondary school education, as well as all formal non-school education and training. ASCED classifies education according to two elements: level of education; and field of education. These elements are described below and can be used separately or in combination. For further information, refer to Information Paper: Australian Standard Classification of Education (ASCED) (cat. no. 1271.0).
Level of education
Level of education is a function of the quality and quantity of learning associated with an educational activity, and is assessed in terms of the following criteria: the theoretical and vocational orientation of the educational activity; the minimum entry requirements for the educational activity (i.e. the minimum amount of prior education needed to undertake the educational activity at that level); and the course length (or notional duration of the educational activity).
The level of education classification has nine broad levels:
Field of education
Field of education refers to the subject matter included in an educational activity. Fields of education are related to each other through the similarity of subject matter, through the broad purposes for which the study is undertaken, and through the theoretical content which underpins the subject matter. Fields of education are classified into progressively broader groups according to the following criteria: the theoretical content of the course; the purpose of learning; the objects of interest; the methods and techniques; and the tools and equipment.
The Field of Study Classification consists of three hierarchical levels; Broad Field; Narrow Field; and Detailed Field. The detailed fields aggregate into narrow fields and the narrow fields in turn aggregate into broad fields. The 12 Broad Field categories are:
For additional information on education, see Labour Force Survey Standard products and Data Item Guide (cat. no. 6103.0).
The development of Australia as a multicultural society and the subsequent wider interest in constructing statistical profiles of particular ethnic or cultural population groups has, over the years, increased the use of and need for quality language data. To meet these growing needs, the ABS has incorporated language questions in a range of social statistics collections. Variables collected include 'main language spoken at home', 'first language spoken', and 'proficiency in spoken English'.
Languages are classified according to the Australian Standard Classification of Languages (ASCL) (cat. no. 1267.0), and readers should refer to this publication for more information about what constitutes a language, as well as for further information on the classification itself.
Questions on 'proficiency in spoken English' are asked only of persons who speak languages other than English at home, or whose first language spoken was other than English. Respondents are asked to classify themselves as speaking English: very well; well; not well; or not at all.
Accurate and consistent statistics about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are needed in order to plan, promote and deliver essential services, to monitor changes in well-being and to account for government expenditure in this area. The 'Commonwealth working definition' of an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander is "a person of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander descent, who identifies as an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander and is accepted as such by the community in which he or she lives" (footnote 1). In ABS statistical collections, it is not feasible to collect information on the community acceptance part of this definition, and therefore questions on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Status relate to descent and self-identification only. In practice, persons are asked if they are of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander origin.
The classification for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Status has a hierarchical structure comprising two levels. There are four categories at the detailed level of the classification (see below), which are grouped into two categories at the broader level. There is one supplementary category. Statistics are often only available at the broad levels of the classification. For further information, refer to Indigenous Status Standard, 2014, version 1.5 (cat. no. 1200.0.55.008):
There are two geographic classifications used by the ABS for the collection and dissemination of geographical statistics: the Australian Statistical Geography Standard (ASGS); and the Standard Australian Classification of Countries (SACC). The ASGS brings all Australian regions for which the ABS publishes statistics within the one framework. The SACC is a classification of countries based on the concept of geographic proximity. Both classifications are used in the collection and dissemination of ABS labour-related statistics. They are discussed further below.
Australian Statistical Geography Standard (ASGS)
The ASGS brings together all Australian regions on which the ABS publishes statistics within the one framework. It was used for the 2011 Census of Population and Housing, and introduced into ABS labour collections from mid-2013. The ASGS replaced the Australian Standard Geographical Classification (ASGC) (cat. no. 1216.0).
The ASGS classification structures are split into two broad groups, the ABS Structures and the Non-ABS Structures. The ABS Structures are hierarchies of regions defined and maintained by the ABS. The Non-ABS Structures are hierarchies of regions which are not defined or maintained by the ABS, but for which the ABS is committed to providing a range of statistics. They generally represent administrative units such as Postcode and Local Government Areas. The ABS Structures are built directly from Mesh Blocks. Non-ABS Structures are approximated by either Mesh Blocks, the Statistical Areas Level 1 (SA1s) or the Statistical Areas Level 2 (SA2s).
The ABS Structures comprise six interrelated hierarchies of regions. They are:
Under the main structure, Statistical Area Level 4 (SA4) regions are the largest sub-State regions in the ASGS and are used for the release of Labour Force Statistics. They are designed for the output of labour force data, and reflect labour markets within each State and Territory within the population limits imposed by the Labour Force Survey (LFS) sample.
The Non-ABS Structures comprise eight hierarchies of regions. They are:
The ASGS is constructed on the principle that it must fulfil user needs for spatial statistics while also conforming to general classification principles.
For further information about the ASGS, refer to the Australian Statistical Geography Standard (ASGS): Volume 1 - Main Structure and Greater Capital City Statistical Areas (ASGS) (cat. no. 1270.0.55.001) and also Labour Force Survey Standard products and Data Item Guide (cat. no. 6103.0).
Standard Australian Classification of Countries (SACC)
The Standard Australian Classification of Countries (SACC) is a classification of countries essentially based on the concept of geographic proximity. In its structure, it groups neighbouring countries into progressively broader geographic areas on the basis of their similarity in terms of social, cultural, economic and political characteristics.
The base level units in the classification are 'countries', which is defined to include:
The classification includes all countries currently existing in the world, as defined above.
The SACC is a three-level hierarchical classification ranging from broad major groups to the base unit of discrete countries, as defined above. The three levels consist of:
Each of the 9 major groups are formed by aggregating geographically proximate minor groups, which in turn are groups of neighbouring countries similar in terms of social, cultural, economic and political characteristics. Each major group lies wholly within the bounds of a single geographic continent (with two exceptions: North Africa and the Middle East, and Americas).The nine major groups are:
For further information about the SACC, please refer to the Standard Australian Classification of Countries (SACC) (cat. no. 1269.0) and also Labour Force Survey Standard Products and Data Item Guide (cat. no. 6103.0).
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