6102.0.55.001 - Labour Statistics: Concepts, Sources and Methods, Feb 2018  
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This document was added or updated on 26/05/2020.

PARTICIPATION, JOB SEARCH AND MOBILITY


INTRODUCTION

The Participation, Job Search and Mobility Survey (PJSM) combines the key elements from the previous separate Person Not in the Labour Force (PNILF) (cat. no. 6220.0), Underemployed Workers (UEW) (cat. no. 6265.0), Job Search Experience (JSE) (cat. no. 6222.0) and Labour Mobility (LM) (cat. no. 6209.0) surveys to provide a comprehensive and coherent dataset on persons' experiences relating to job search, job change and increasing participation.

This survey informs on the following broad labour market issues: job mobility; job search; participation and increasing participation; underemployment; and marginal attachment. This enables analysis of persons' experiences relating to job search, job change and increasing participation, all of which can be cross classified by other employment characteristics such as hours worked, industry, occupation and sector of job, as well as personal characteristics.

This section describes only those aspects of the methodology that are unique to this survey and should therefore be read in conjunction with the overview part of this section: Labour Force Supplementary Surveys, which outlines the survey methodology used in supplementary surveys.


SURVEY QUESTIONNAIRE

The current Participation, Job Search and Mobility survey questionnaire is available from Participation, Job Search and Mobility, Australia (cat. no. 6226.0), on the Downloads tab


SURVEY OUTPUT

Data from the survey are published in Participation, Job Search and Mobility, Australia, February 2015 (cat. no. 6226.0). More detailed data may be available on request.

The move to create a consolidated supplementary survey involved a change in collection month for a number of the existing supplementary survey topics, namely JSE, UEW and PNILF moved from the July or September months, to February.

In order to better understand the impacts that the change in timing had, all three surveys (JSE, PNILF and UEW) were conducted in February 2014, in a format that was similar to how they were originally collected. This meant that PNILF and UEW were conducted in September 2013, and then again in February 2014 in Persons Not in the Labour Force, Underemployed Workers and Job Search Experience, Australia, February 2014 (cat. no. 6226.0.55.001)

Estimates are produced on an original basis only (i.e. not seasonally adjusted) and include:

Socio-demographic information

Sex; age; social marital status; relationship in household; state or territory of usual residence; number of dependents; age of youngest child; and country of birth and elapsed years since arrival in Australia.

Employed persons

Status in employment; hours actually worked; hours usually worked; full-time or part-time status; whether worked and reason worked less hours than usual; whether available to start work; continuous duration with current employer/business; sector; occupation; industry; whether entitled to paid leave; whether retrenched; whether available and/or looking for work; whether promoted and/or transferred; previous occupation; and whether changed industry or occupation.

Unemployed persons

Duration of job search; whether looked for full-time or part-time work; whether checked or registered with a Job Services Australia/jobactive provider; number of employment offers; whether turned down job offers; reasons for turning down job offers; and whether willing to move interstate or intrastate for a job.

Underemployed persons

Underemployment status; whether available and/or looking for work; duration of current period of insufficient work; whether prefer to change employer to work more hours; whether would prefer to change occupation to work more hours; and whether willing to move interstate or intrastate for a job with more hours.

Ceased a job

Continuous duration of last job; occupation of last job; industry of last job; status in employment of last job; hours usually work each week in last job; reason for ceasing last job; when began last job; whether entitled to paid leave in last job; and whether changed industry or occupation.

Persons not in the labour force

Main activity when not in the labour force; time since last job; whether had a job in the last 10 or 20 years; reasons not actively looking for work; whether available to start work; whether preferred full-time or part-time work; intention to enter the labour force; whether wanted to work; whether willing to move interstate or intrastate for a job; continuous duration of last job; occupation of last job; industry of last job; and whether entitled to paid leave in last job.


POPULATION GROUPS

Employed persons

Persons aged 15 years and over who, during the reference week:

    worked for one hour or more for pay, profit, commission or payment in kind, in a job or business or on a farm (comprising employees and owner managers); or
    worked for one hour or more without pay in a family business or on a farm (i.e. contributing family workers); or
    were employees who had a job but were not at work and were:
      o away from work for less than four weeks up to the end of the reference week;
      o away from work for more than four weeks up to the end of the reference week and received pay for some or all of the four week period to the end of the reference week;
      o away from work as a standard work or shift arrangement;
      o on strike or locked out;
      o on workers' compensation and expected to return to their job; or
    were owner managers who had a job, business or farm, but were not at work.

Persons not in the labour force

Persons not in the labour force can be divided into those who are marginally attached to the labour force, and those who are not. Persons who are marginally attached to the labour force satisfy some, but not all, of the criteria required to be classified as employed or unemployed.

Persons not in the labour force are considered to be marginally attached to the labour force if they:
    wanted to work and were actively looking for work (but, unlike unemployed persons, were not available to start work in the reference week); or
    were not actively looking for work, but wanted to work and were available to start work within four weeks; or
    were attached to a job, but were not working (either they had accepted a job offer but had not yet started work, or were away from work without pay for four weeks or more).

Persons not in the labour force are not marginally attached to the labour force if they:
    did not want to work; or
    wanted to work, but were not actively looking for work and were not available to start work within four weeks.

The criteria for determining those in the labour force are based on activity (i.e. working or looking for work) and availability to start work during the reference week. The criteria associated with marginal attachment to the labour force, in particular the concepts of wanting to work and reasons for not actively looking for work, are more subjective. Hence, the measurement against these criteria is affected by the respondent’s own interpretation of the concepts used. An individual respondent’s interpretation may be affected by their work aspirations, as well as family, economic and other commitments.

For more information see article Understanding the Australian Labour Force Using ABS Statistics in Labour Force, Australia (6202.0).



Underemployed workers

Underemployed workers are employed persons who would prefer, and are available for, more hours of work than they currently have. They comprise:

    • part-time workers who would prefer to work more hours and were available to start work with more hours, either in the reference week or in the four weeks subsequent to the survey; and
    • full-time workers who worked part-time hours in the reference week for economic reasons (such as being stood down or insufficient work being available). It is assumed that these persons would prefer to work full-time in the reference week and would have been available to do so.

Unemployed

Persons aged 15 years and over who were not employed during the reference week, and:
    • had actively looked for full-time or part-time work at any time in the four weeks up to the end of the reference week and were available for work in the reference week; or
    • were waiting to start a new job within four weeks from the end of the reference week, and could have started in the reference week if the job had been available then.

SCOPE

In addition to those already excluded from the LFS, the following persons are excluded from supplementary surveys (see the section: Methods Used on ABS Household Surveys for further information):
    • Persons living in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities; and
    • Students at boarding schools, patients in hospitals, residents of homes (e.g. retirement homes, homes for people with disabilities), and inmates of prisons.


COLLECTION METHODOLOGY

See the section: Labour Force Supplementary Surveys – Collection Methodology for more information.


NOTES ON ESTIMATES

To minimise the risk of identifying individuals in aggregate statistics, a technique is used to randomly adjust cell values. This technique is called perturbation. Perturbation involves small random adjustment of the statistics, and is considered the most satisfactory technique for avoiding the release of information that could identify individual survey respondents while maximising the range of information that can be released. These adjustments have a negligible impact on the underlying pattern of the statistics. After perturbation, a given published cell value will be consistent across all tables. However, adding up cell values to derive a total will not necessarily give the same result as published totals.

RSEs for PJSM estimates are calculated using the Jack-knife method of variance estimation. This process involves the calculation of 30 'replicate' estimates based on 30 different sub-samples of the original sample. The variability of estimates obtained from these sub-samples is used to estimate the sample variability surrounding the main estimate.


DATA COMPARABILITY OVER TIME

Changes to the LFS population benchmarks impact primarily on the magnitude of the LFS estimates (i.e. employment and unemployment) that are directly related to the underlying size of the population. For more details on population benchmarks, see the Explanatory Notes in Labour Force, Australia (cat. no. 6202.0), and for details about the revisions made, see the article in the January 2014 issue of Labour Force, Australia (cat. no. 6202.0) and the article in the November 2012 issue of Labour Force, Australia (cat. no. 6202.0).

From November 2017, labour force estimates (including those produced from supplementary surveys) have been compiled using population benchmarks based on the 2016 Census of Population and Housing.


COMPARABILITY WITH PREVIOUS SURVEYS

Care should be taken when comparing the estimates from PJSM with estimates from PNILF, UEW and JSE in previous years, as PNILF and UEW were previously collected in September, and JSE was previously collected in July.

For comparability with previous surveys, see Explanatory Notes in Participation, Job Search and Mobility, Australia (cat. no. 6226.0).


COMPARABILITY WITH MONTHLY LFS STATISTICS

Due to differences in the scope and sample size of PJSM and that of the monthly LFS, the estimation procedure may lead to some small variations between labour force estimates from PJSM and those from the LFS.

PJSM provides data on the main reason for leaving or losing a person’s last job in the previous 12 months, such as retrenchment. PJSM provides detailed analysis of retrenchment dynamics for the labour force, while the LFS provides more regular information on the number of persons retrenched in Labour Force, Australia, Detailed, Quarterly (cat. no. 6291.0.55.003).


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