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Status in Employment
In the Australian context, self-employment according to the ILO definition is not separately identified. Rather, jobs are distinguished according to the status in employment categories of the people filling the job.
These categories include:
The closest approximation to the ILO concept of self-employment in the Australian context is the aggregation of the four “owner-manager” status in employment categories.
See Status in Employment in Labour Statistics Concepts, Sources and Methods (ABS cat. no. 6102.0.55.001) for more information on employment relationship classifications, including status in employment.
Employees are those employed persons who do not operate their own incorporated or unincorporated enterprise. An employee works for a public or private employer and receives remuneration in wages, salary, on a commission basis (with or without a retainer), tips, piece-rates, or payment in kind.
Owner-managers of incorporated enterprises
An owner-manager of an incorporated enterprise is a person who operates his or her own incorporated enterprise, that is, a business entity which is registered as a separate legal entity to its members or owners (also known as limited liability company).
An owner manager of an incorporated enterprise (an OMIE) may or may not hire one or more employees in addition to themselves and/or other owners of that business.
Owner managers of unincorporated enterprises
In the Australian Labour Account, own-account workers and employers employed in their own enterprises are referred to as Owner Managers of Unincorporated Enterprises (OMUEs). OMUEs are persons who operate their own unincorporated enterprise, or engage independently in a profession or trade. An owner manager of an unincorporated enterprise may or may not hire one or more employees in addition to themselves and/or other owners of that business.
Contributing family workers
A contributing family worker is a person who works without pay in an economic enterprise operated by a relative. Contributing family workers, including those working without pay in unincorporated enterprises engaged wholly or partly in market production, are also treated as self-employed (2008 SNA, 7.30b).
The ILO defines a contributing family worker as a person who holds a self-employment job in an enterprise operated by a related person, and who cannot be regarded as a partner because the degree of his or her commitment to the operation of the enterprise, in terms of the working time or other factors to be determined by national circumstances, is not at a level comparable with that of the head of the establishment.
Internationally the concept is restricted to those living in the same household, however Australia has not applied the same criteria of cohabitation in its implementation. For example, an adult child who makes unpaid contributions of labour to a family business operated by their parents, and does not live in the same household as the parents, is still considered to be a contributing family worker.
Own-account workers engaged in the production of goods exclusively for own final use by their household (such as subsistence farming or do-it-yourself construction of own dwellings), are considered employed according to the definition of employment adopted by Thirteenth International Convention of Labour Statisticians (ICLS). Households producing unpaid domestic or personal services (e.g., housework, caring for family members) for their own final consumption are excluded, as such activities fall outside the 2008 SNA production boundary and are not considered employment.
Jobs in the Australian Labour Account
Jobs which are in and out of scope of the Australian Labour Account are summarised in Table 2 below.
Table 2: Jobs included in and excluded from the Australian Labour Account
Jobs and Persons
The number of jobs in the economy exceeds the number of persons employed to the extent that some employed persons have more than one job in the same period. An individual with more than one job may do these successively, as when the person works for part of the week in one job and the rest of the week in another, or in parallel, as when the person has an evening job as well as a daytime job. In addition, the number of jobs in the economy may be reduced when compared to the number of persons employed in instances of formal job sharing arrangements.
Employers may not be aware of, and in any case are not asked to provide information on, secondary jobs undertaken by their employees. When employers supply information on the number of employees, they actually provide information on the number of jobs they hold. The distinction between number of jobs and number of employees is one issue that is addressed in the Australian Labour Account.
The Australian Labour Account recognises this difference by accounting for multiple job holding, and reports the number of jobs in the Jobs Table and employed persons in the Persons Table. However, the Australian Labour Account does not compile estimates of formal job sharing, as there is currently no available data source to measure this, and it is particularly unlikely to be reported accurately by businesses.
The statistics derived from the Labour Force Survey are designed to produce estimates of the number of people engaged in economic activity. The statistics derived from ABS business surveys count the number of jobs in which people are employed. For example, a person holding multiple jobs with different employers would be counted once in ABS household surveys as an employed person, but in ABS business surveys would be counted multiple times, once by each employer for each job that they held.
A number of examples illustrate this:
Source data for quarterly and industry estimates of Jobs
Numbers of filled jobs, from the business sources side, are sourced from the following ABS data:
Business survey data are supplemented by ABS business register information, defence force information, child workers information and estimates from the ABS Labour Force Survey for contributing family workers.
The number of filled jobs, from the household survey side, is the aggregate of the number of main jobs and secondary jobs, less jobs with formal job sharing arrangements. Estimates for main jobs and secondary jobs are sourced from underlying data from Labour Force, Australia (ABS cat. no. 6202.0). Survey based data
Numbers of job vacancies are sourced from Job Vacancies, Australia (ABS cat. no. 6354.0). Data from the Internet Vacancy Index, published by the Department of Employment, are used to supplement ABS survey data for the out of scope ANZSIC Division A (Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing).
Table 3 below summarises data sources used in compiling quarterly and industry estimates of jobs.
Table 3: Description of quarterly data sources and uses for the Jobs Quadrant
Source data for annual estimates of Jobs
The number of annual filled jobs, from both the business and household side, and the number of annual job vacancies, are compiled from the same data sources as the quarterly estimates.
Quarterly Jobs Methods
The Jobs quadrant provides data on the number of jobs (filled and vacant) as at the end of the quarter. Job statistics are compiled for each ANZSIC Industry division and for the economy as a whole. Unless otherwise stated, the methods described apply to both levels of aggregation.
Total Jobs is the sum of Filled Jobs plus Job Vacancies.
A job vacancy is a job available for immediate filling on the survey reference date and for which recruitment action has been taken. Recruitment action includes efforts to fill vacancies by advertising, by on site or online notices, by notifying employment agencies or trade unions and by contacting, interviewing or selecting applicants already registered with the enterprise or organisation.
Estimates of job vacancies exclude:
Total quarterly job vacancies are calculated as:
Internet Vacancy Index data are added to capture vacancies available in employing enterprises primarily engaged in Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing, which are out of scope of the quarterly ABS Job Vacancies Survey.
Filled Jobs (Business Sources)
The number of filled jobs, from the business sources side, is equivalent to the number of people employed in enterprises resident in the Australian Economic Territory and engaged in economic activity within the scope of the National Accounts production boundary. People counted include employees, working proprietors and partners, employees absent on paid or prepaid leave, employees on workers' compensation who continue to be paid through the payroll, and contract workers paid through the payroll.
Filled Jobs (Business Sources), for each quarter, is estimated by aggregating:
These three surveys cover most of the ANZSIC industries, except for:
Units in ANZSIC Class 6330 Superannuation Funds are funds set up to provide retirement benefits. Conceptually they are considered to be non-employing units, and therefore would not contribute to Australian Labour Account estimates. As such, no estimate for employment in this industry has been included.
Scope adjustments are made for the following sectors and populations:
Calculation of Filled Jobs (Business Sources) by Industry
Data derived from an annual survey are generally considered to be of higher quality than quarterly data due to the larger sample sizes, and are generally subject to less volatility than quarterly run surveys. Annual source data provide overall levels, known as annual benchmarks, from which quarterly estimates are compiled. This ensures consistency between the quarterly and annual labour account.
For all ANZSIC industry divisions except A (Agriculture Forestry and Fisheries); K (Financial and Insurance Services) and O (Public Administration and Safety), a mathematical technique (the modified Proportional Denton Method) is used to allocate the annual change in private sector job holding derived from successive EAS surveys across the four quarters in line with the quarterly pattern of change in employment reported in the QBIS.
For the most recent quarters, for which EAS year-end data are not available, the previous year-end EAS numbers are extrapolated, also using QBIS and the modified Proportional Denton Method. Extrapolated data are calculated for up to 6 quarters, due to the 18 month lag in the delivery of EAS data.
For Division A (Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries) and Division O (Public Administration and Safety), for which QBIS data are not available, the annual change in the EAS estimate of the number of persons employed is apportioned equally across each quarter. For the most recent quarters for which there are no year-end EAS data available, the latest EAS data are extrapolated using the annual change in industry COE and defence personnel respectively.
For Division K (Finance and Insurance Services) for which EAS data are not available, employment data reported in QBIS are used directly as the quarterly estimate of private sector job holding.
To calculate the number of public sector filled jobs, underlying data from the Survey of Employment and Earnings (SEE) (ABS cat. no. 6248.0.55.002) are used to estimate quarterly data. Quarterly data are calculated by evenly distributing the change in the annual growth across the four quarters.
Filled Jobs (Household Sources)
The number of filled jobs, from the household side, is equal to the number of people employed in main jobs and secondary jobs sourced from the household Labour Force Survey.
Filled Jobs (Household Sources), for each quarter, is estimated by aggregating:
The following scope adjustments are made:
The Labour Force Survey excludes from its scope non-resident visitors who intend spending less than 12 months in Australia, some of whom are employed during their stay by Australian resident enterprises. As non-resident visitors are included in the scope of business surveys (EAS and QBIS), only household side labour force data are adjusted to include non-resident visitors who are employed.
Data are sourced from underlying short term visitor arrivals statistics from Migration, Australia (ABS cat. no. 3412.0). Data are obtained for the number of short term visitor arrivals who have entered the country with a visa that contains working rights, with information also obtained relating to their main reason for journey. These visa classes and reasons for journey are detailed in Appendix 7. Visa classes are then aggregated into three main groups: short term visitors: students; short term visitors: 457 visa holders; and short term visitors: other.
To estimate the number of main jobs held by short term visitors: students, the 12 month average employment rate (for each financial year) of resident persons attending tertiary education, obtained from the Labour Force Survey, is multiplied by the estimated number of short term student visa holders. The Labour Force Survey data used in the calculation of employed short term students are limited to those persons aged 15-24 years old, who are currently undertaking full-time tertiary education. The method assumes that similar employment rates apply to short term visitors on student visas as for full-time Australian resident tertiary students, and that all short-term student visa holders are in the labour force (either employed or unemployed).
To estimate the number of main jobs held by short term visitors other than students (both 457 and other visa holders), the 12 month average employment rate (for each financial year) for all residents is multiplied by the number of visa holders with working rights. This method assumes that all temporary entrants with a visa that had working rights were in the labour force (either employed or unemployed), and that similar rates of employment for this group apply when compared with the resident population.
To estimate the number of secondary jobs held by non-resident short-term visitors other than students, the estimated number of non-resident main job holders is multiplied by the proportion of resident employed persons who hold multiple jobs sourced from the Labour Force Survey. This method assumes that short term visitors hold multiple jobs in the same proportion as the resident employed population.
As there is a time lag in the delivery of Net Overseas Migration (NOM) data, estimates of short term visitors for the latest quarters have been extrapolated by using a long term ratio of NOM to Overseas Arrivals and Departures (OAD) data, which are more timely. NOM and OAD data are sourced from underlying data from Overseas Arrivals and Departures, Australia (ABS. cat. no. 3401.0).
Jobs held by short term visitors are disaggregated to industry in the following ways:
Calculation of Filled Jobs (Household Sources) by Industry Division
The Labour Force Survey collects quarterly data on the industry of the main job held by employed persons. For each employed person, it also collects the number of secondary jobs held (second, third, fourth or more). The Labour Force Survey does not record the industry of secondary jobs. To calculate the number of filled jobs and people employed at an industry level requires the allocation of each secondary job to an industry.
This is done in the Australian Labour Account by first obtaining the total number of multiple job holders and secondary jobs from the Labour Force Survey. At this stage, multiple jobs holders and secondary jobs are classified by the industry of main job for each employed person. Data from the Information Paper: Construction of Experimental Statistics on Employee Earnings and Jobs from Administrative Data, Australia, 2011-12 (ABS cat. no. 6311.0), using the ABS Linked Employer-Employee Dataset (LEED), are then used to determine the proportions of the industry of employment of second jobs for multiple job holders, and applied to industry of main job Labour Force Survey data.
The relationship of primary to secondary jobs in each industry are derived in the base year of 2011-12, and differential growth rates in Gross Value Added are applied to these relationship ratios to account for growth and decline in industries in respect of primary jobs, and to reflect change in the relative share of secondary jobs. These updated distributions are used to allocate the relevant quarterly Labour Force Survey secondary job holdings to each industry, to estimate the total number of filled jobs in each industry.
Jobs held by employed persons who hold three or more jobs are included in the total number of jobs in the Australian Labour Account. The industry allocation, based on LEED proportions, distributes the total number of jobs to industry of second job only. Allocation based on LEED industry of third, fourth and additional jobs is an area for improvement for future Australian Labour Account compilation.
Where relevant, data are sourced from information collected in the Labour Force Survey in the last month of the relevant quarter, and apportioned across the industries using the related quarterly labour force industry data. For example, estimates in the September quarter Australian Labour Account are sourced from September month Labour Force data (ABS cat. no. 6202.0), which are then distributed across industry divisions from the industry distribution of quarterly data captured in the August Labour Force Survey published in Labour Force, Australia, Detailed, Quarterly (ABS cat. no. 6291.0.55.003).
There is currently no household side information available on the number of jobs with job sharing arrangements. As a result, the total number of filled jobs is equivalent to the sum of reported main jobs and secondary jobs, plus scope adjustments. As with the business side, shared jobs on the household side would be counted as many times as there are people engaged in such arrangements.
Annual Jobs Methods
The Jobs quadrant contains stock data, which are data that measure certain attributes at a point in time. To determine an annual estimate of jobs in this quadrant, an average level is derived using a simple arithmetic average of the four quarterly estimates. Refer to Labour Account Methods for an example of this method.
The annual estimate of jobs is an approximate estimate of the number of jobs at any point in time during the year.
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