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.

RETIREMENT AND RETIREMENT INTENTIONS


INTRODUCTION

The Retirement and Retirement Intentions topic is included in the Multipurpose Household Survey (MPHS) every two years, beginning with the 2004–05 reference period. Data on retirement and retirement intentions were previously collected on an irregular basis between 1980 and 1997 in a survey conducted as a supplement to the Labour Force Survey (LFS).

Data from the survey topic are used to examine changes in retirement trends over time, factors which influence retirement, and the income arrangements made by retirees and potential retirees for their retirement.

This section describes only those aspects of the methodology that were unique to this survey topic and should therefore be read in conjunction with the overview part of this section (Multipurpose Household Survey), which outlines the survey methodology used in the MPHS.


SURVEY QUESTIONNAIRE

The Retirement and Retirement Intentions survey questionnaire is available from Retirement and Retirement Intentions, Australia (cat. no. 6238.0), on the Downloads tab.


SURVEY OUTPUT

Data from the survey topic are published in Retirement and Retirement Intentions, Australia (cat. no. 6238.0). Microdata are available in Table Builder - see Microdata: Barriers and Incentives to Labour Force Participation, Retirement and Retirement Intentions (cat. no. 6238.0.55.001). Other estimates may be available on request.

The survey topic collects information about the retirement status and retirement intentions of persons aged 45 years and over who have, at some time, worked before. Estimates are available on an original basis only (i.e. not seasonally adjusted), and include:

Socio-demographic information

Sex; age; marital status; relationship in household; age of youngest child in household; number of children aged less than 15 years; state or territory of usual residence; remoteness areas and area of usual residence, country of birth and period of arrival in Australia; and educational attainment.

Persons who have retired from the labour force

Details of last job (e.g. full-time or part-time status; status in employment; occupation; industry; reason for ceasing last job); age at retirement from the labour force; time since retirement; sources of income at retirement; details about superannuation (e.g. whether contributed to a superannuation scheme; time contributing; methods of disbursement of lump sum payment); whether self-funded at retirement; and whether currently self-funded in retirement.

Persons who intend to retire from the labour force

Details of current job (e.g. full-time or part-time status; status in employment; occupation; industry); age intends to retire; expected time until retirement; factors influencing decision about when to retire from the labour force; all and main expected sources of income at retirement; previous retirement status (whether had previously retired from work or not); reasons for returning to work (for those who had previously retired); details about superannuation (e.g. whether contributed to a superannuation scheme; time contributing); satisfaction with current hours worked and current work arrangements; transition to retirement plans; and whether expects to be self-funded in retirement.

Additional detail was included in the 2008–09 and 2012–13 surveys. The additional data collected included:

  • self-assessed health status;
  • whether had private health insurance; and
  • housing tenure.

Changes were also made to include the further age ranges of '65–69', '70–74', '75–79' and '80 and over' for questions on transitioning to retirement for the 2014–15 survey.

All data collected are compiled according to concepts and definitions outlined in the sections: Institutional Units and Economically Active Population; Labour Force Framework; and, Classification Used in Labour Statistics.


SCOPE

The scope of this survey topic is restricted to persons aged 45 years and over. The standard scope restrictions for the MPHS outlined in the overview section (Multipurpose Household Survey) and also apply to this survey topic.


RELATED SURVEYS

Data on retirement and retirement intentions were previously collected in a survey conducted as a supplement to the LFS. The Retirement and Retirement Intentions supplementary survey was conducted on an irregular basis between 1980 and 1997. Data from the supplementary survey and the MPHS topic are not directly comparable, as there are differences in the concepts measured, scope, collection methodology and sample design (including sample size). For example, the November 1997 supplementary survey definition of 'retired from the labour force' comprised 'persons who had retired from work or were looking for work of more than 10 hours per week, and did not intend to work in the future' and 'persons that have never worked more than 10 hours per week', whereas the MPHS definition is 'persons who had previously worked and had retired from work or looking for work, and did not intend to look for, or take up, work at any time in the future'. See the sections Labour Force Supplementary Surveys and Multipurpose Household Survey for more information.

Data on retirement and retirement intentions was also collected as a component of the 2007 Survey of Employment Arrangements, Retirement and Superannuation (SEARS), which was also conducted in 2000 as the Survey of Employment Arrangements and Superannuation (SEAS). While SEARS had a similar focus to SEAS, and collected a similar range of data, changes in the survey scope and methodology, and in the collection and presentation of information, mean that estimates for the surveys may not be strictly comparable.


DATA COMPARABILITY OVER TIME

In order to provide a high degree of consistency and comparability over time, changes to survey methods, survey concepts, data item definitions, frequency of collection, and analysis methods are made as infrequently as possible. Changes affecting the LFS may also affect this survey. Such changes are outlined in the section: Labour Force Comparability Over Time and are not repeated here.


2018–19
  • Estimates were benchmarked to a 12 month average of population estimates from the Labour Force Survey (as at December 2019). Estimates from previous surveys were also re-benchmarked using 12 month averages from the same LFS population series (as at December 2019) to improve coherence and consistency in the timeseries. The revised timeseries was available in the 2018-19 publication.
  • The definition of retirement no longer required people to have previously worked in a job for at least 2 weeks. The definition now only required people to have previously worked in a job for any duration, including jobs that lasted for less than 2 weeks. This change was done to remain consistent with changes that were made to the LFS questionnaire in July 2014 regarding duration of job search.

2016–17
  • Release of data using Table Builder for the first time.
  • The reference period for benchmarks changed from March to December, which resulted in a minor impact on the comparison of level estimates between 2014-15 and 2016-17. This impact has since been removed in 2018-19, when both surveys were rebenchmarked to a 12 month average of the reference period instead of a single point in time.

2014-15
  • For the 2012-13 survey, questions were included on housing tenure, previous full-time job details and main source of current personal income. These were excluded from the 2014–15 survey.
  • Changes were also made to include the further age ranges of '65–69', '70–74', '75–79' and '80 and over' for questions on transitioning to retirement for the 2014–15 survey.
  • To improve coherence with LFS estimates, survey benchmarking changed to include employed, unemployed and not in the labour force populations from the Labour Force Survey (LFS) alongside independent total population estimates from the Estimated Resident Population (ERP). Previously, benchmarks were based only on ERP. The reference period for the benchmarks were based on a single point in time (March 2015).

2012–13
  • The following new items were collected: satisfaction with current hours worked, satisfaction with current work arrangements, whether self-funded at retirement, whether is currently self-funded in retirement, whether expects to be self-funded in retirement, and transition to retirement plans.
  • Questions were also included on self-assessed health status, housing tenure and whether had private health insurance, which were last collected in the 2008–09 survey.
  • Microdata were not released for the 2012–13 survey.

2010–11
  • Questions on intentions for a healthy/active retirement, housing tenure, whether had private health insurance, and self-assessed health that were included in the 2008–09 survey were not included in 2010–11. Questions on transition to retirement plans were retained as a core component of the survey.

2008–09
  • In cases where persons could not report an exact age they 'intend to permanently give up work', they were given the option of responding with an age range. These range responses were included in 'average age intends to retire' by substituting the low-point of the range into the calculation.
  • New content was added to the 2008–09 survey including transition to retirement plans, sources of funds for meeting living costs, intentions for a healthy/active retirement, housing tenure, and self-assessed health.
  • High reporting of non-personal income money sources to personal income questions in previous cycles of this survey led to the inclusion of 'all/main sources of funds for meeting living costs' data items in 2008–09 to improve this information. As a result, care should be taken when comparing with data from previous years.

2006–07
  • The data item 'intentions to retire from full-time or part-time work' and the population 'intends to retire from the labour force' were determined from responses to a question on ‘age intends to permanently give up work'. In 2004–05, persons who answered 'don't know' were included in the 'intends to retire' population. For the 2006–07 survey the 'don't know' category was replaced with the categories 'don't know age will retire' and 'don't know whether will retire'. Persons who reported 'don't know age will retire' were included with the 'intends to retire' population, whereas persons who reported 'did not know whether will retire' were excluded from this population. This change had the effect of slightly decreasing the number of persons who intend to retire, and should be kept in mind when making comparisons to 2004–05 data.
  • An additional category of 'partner's income' was included in the following data items: all/main source of income at retirement', and 'all/main expected source of income at retirement'. In 2004–05, persons relying on their partner's income would have been included in the 'other' or 'no income' categories.

2004–05
  • Survey conducted (August 2004 to June 2005) on MPHS for the first time. Data published in Retirement and Retirement Intentions, Australia (cat. no. 6238.0).





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