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.

SURVEY OF EDUCATION AND WORK


INTRODUCTION

The Survey of Education and Work (SEW) provides annual information on a range of key indicators of educational participation and attainment of persons aged 15-74 years, along with data on people's transition between education and work. The annual time series allows for ongoing monitoring of the level of education of Australia's population, including participation in current and previous study; type of educational institution attended or attending; highest year of school completed; level and field of highest non-school qualification; characteristics of people's transition between education and work; and selected characteristics of apprentices and trainees.

The SEW provides selected information on participation in education, highest educational attainment, transition from education to work, and current labour force and demographic characteristics for the civilian population aged 15-74 years.

Information on unsuccessful enrolment, and deferment of study, is included for persons not studying in the survey year. Data on apprenticeships are also provided.

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, which outlines the survey methodology used in supplementary surveys.


SURVEY OUTPUT

Data from the survey are published in Education and Work, Australia (cat. no. 6227.0). More detailed data may be available on request.

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

Socio-demographic information

Sex; age; marital status; relationship in household; state or territory of usual residence; country of birth and year of arrival in Australia; index of relative socio-economic disadvantage - SA1/SA2; index of relative socio-economic advantage/disadvantage - SA1/SA2; Index of Economic Resources - SA1/SA2; Index of education and occupation - SA1/SA2; section of state; SA4; remoteness areas, citizenship status; and visa type.

Labour force

Labour force status; underemployed workers; status in employment; occupation; industry; duration of job search; whether business incorporated or unincorporated; hours usually worked; and tenure of employment.

Education – current year

Type of institution or organisation enrolled; full-time or part-time enrolment; level of education; main field of study; type of school; Vocational Education Training (VET); engagement in employment or study; and whether studying towards a non-school qualification.

Education – highest attainment

Highest non-school qualification completed in Australia; year completed; level of highest educational attainment; level of highest non-school qualification; highest year of school completed; main field of study; Year 12 or Certificate II or above; Year 12 or Certificate III or above.

Education – previous year

Detailed type of institution or organisation and enrolment; full-time or part-time enrolment; level of education of study; main field of study; main field of non-school qualification; and status of non-school qualification enrolled.

Education – time left study

Age when left; year when left; time of leaving full-time study in previous or current year; main reason left; type of school last enrolled at; month and year; VET.

Apprenticeship/traineeship – current

Commencement; industry sector; field of trade; and main field of study.

Apprenticeship/traineeship – unmet demand

Main reason unsuccessful; first choice; applied for; applied and enrolled for.


SCOPE

The scope of the SEW is restricted to persons aged 15-74 years who were usual residents of private dwellings and non-institutionalised special dwellings, excluding:

  • members of the permanent defence forces;
  • certain diplomatic personnel of overseas governments, customarily excluded from the Census of Population and Housing and estimated resident populations;
  • overseas residents in Australia;
  • members of non-Australian defence forces (and their dependants);
  • institutionalised persons (e.g. patients in hospitals, residents of retirement homes, residents of homes for persons with disabilities, inmates of prisons);
  • Indigenous communities; and
  • boarding school pupils.

Boarding school pupils have been excluded from the scope of the SEW since 2005, but were included in earlier collections.

In 2013, the scope of SEW was extended to include all persons aged 65-74 years for the first time. From 2009 to 2012, persons aged 65-74 years who were in the labour force, or were marginally attached to the labour force, were included. Persons were determined to be marginally attached to the labour force if they were not in the labour force in the reference week, wanted to work, and:
  • were actively looking for work but did not meet the availability criteria to be classified as unemployed; or
  • were not actively looking for work but were available to start work within four weeks or could start work within four weeks.

Prior to 2009 all persons aged 65-74 years were excluded from the scope of SEW.

Persons who are permanently unable to work were included in the scope of SEW for the first time in 2013.


COLLECTION METHODOLOGY

Information is collected from respondents over a two week period in May. The data are collected through interviews, conducted either face-to-face or over the telephone. From May 2013, respondents were able to provide their information over the internet via a self-completed form.

The May 2013 SEW was the first supplementary survey to incorporate this online data collection method, where the option was offered to just over one-quarter of the SEW sample. The May 2014 SEW was the first time this option was offered to all respondents.

All information, either from interview or online self-completion, is obtained from any responsible adult in the household who is asked to respond on behalf of all persons in the household in scope of the survey.


DATA COMPARABILITY

Comparability with other ABS surveys

Estimates from the SEW may differ from the estimated produces from other ABS collections due to differences in sampling error, scope and/or coverage, and different collection methodologies. For more information see the 'Explanatory Notes' in Education and Work, Australia (cat.no. 6227.0)

As the SEW is conducted as a supplement to the LFS, data items collected in the LFS are also available in SEW. However, there are some important differences between the two surveys. The SEW sample is a subset of the LFS sample, and has a response rate which is slightly lower than the LFS response rate for the same period. Also, the scope of the SEW differs slightly to the scope of the LFS. Due to these differences between the samples, the SEW data are weighted as a separate process to the weighting of LFS data.

Differences may therefore be found in the estimates collected in the LFS and published as part of the SEW, when compared with estimates published in the May issue of Labour Force, Australia (cat. no. 6202.0). From September 2016, the ABS has published education data from the LFS as part of the publication Labour Force, Australia, Detailed, Quarterly (cat. no. 6291.0.55.003). For more information on the differences between SEW and LFS in relation to education data items, see 'Fact Sheet: Expanded Education Data' in the August 2016 issue of Labour Force, Australia, Detailed, Quarterly (cat. no. 6291.0.55.003).

Comparability of time series

2005
  • Since 2005, boarding school pupils have been excluded from the scope of the SEW, but were included in earlier collections.

2007
  • Since 2007, industry data in the SEW have been classified according to the Australian and New Zealand Standard Industrial Classification (ANZSIC), 2006 (Revision 1.0) (cat. no. 1292.0). Prior to this, data were classified according to the Australian and New Zealand Standard Industrial Classification (ANZSIC), 1993 (cat. no. 1292.0). As a result, industry data from SEW prior to 2007 are not directly comparable to data for 2007 and subsequent years.
  • Since 2007, occupation data in the SEW have been classified according to the Australian and New Zealand Standard Classifications of Occupations, First Edition, Revision 1 (cat. no. 1220.0). Prior to this, data were classified according to the Australia Standard Classifications of Occupations, Second Edition, 1997 (cat. no. 1220.0). Occupation data are not directly comparable between these two editions of the classification. As a result, occupation data from SEW prior to 2007 are not directly comparable to 2007 and subsequent years.

2008
  • Prior to 2008, only persons aged 15-54 years were included in the apprenticeship/traineeship survey questions. In 2008, the age scope was extended to include persons aged 55-64 years and in 2009, the scope was further extended to include persons aged 65-74 years for these questions. In 2008, the definition for apprentices and trainees changed from those employed as apprentices/trainees to include only those with a formal contract under the Australian Apprenticeship Scheme. Therefore, data on apprentices from previous years are not directly comparable to 2008 and subsequent data. Note that Australian School-based Apprenticeships continue to be excluded from the apprentice/trainee data. However, some questions on school-based apprenticeships were asked of current school students aged 15-19 years for the first time in 2014.

2013
  • Revisions were made to the in-scope population in 2013. All respondents aged 65-74 years were included for the first time, rather than just those in the labour force or marginally attached to the labour force. Persons who were permanently unable to work were also included.

2014
  • Since 2014, persons who are identified in the Labour Force Survey (LFS) as currently studying a school level qualification are asked in SEW whether they are currently studying for any non-school qualifications. If the respondent was still attending school, their level of study was recorded as their current year of schooling, not their non-school qualification.

After each Census, population estimates are normally revised back five years to the previous Census year.


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