6248.0.55.002 - Employment and Earnings, Public Sector, Australia, 2016-17 Quality Declaration 
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 09/11/2017   
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1 For information on the institutional environment of the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), including the legislative obligations of the ABS, financing and governance arrangements, and mechanisms for scrutiny of ABS operations, please see ABS Institutional Environment.


2 Statistics on public sector employees and cash wages and salaries presented in this publication are obtained from the annual Survey of Employment and Earnings (SEE). The SEE is an Australia-wide survey covering a sample of federal, state and local government agencies. Estimates of employee earnings for the public sector are a key input to the gross domestic product component of the Australian National Accounts, specifically compensation of employees estimates. Data are also used by federal and state departments and other analysts to monitor employment and earnings trends in the public sector and to assist in developing and reviewing earnings and labour market policies.

3 Estimates are available by state/territory, level of government, institutional sector and industry.


4 The reference period for the SEE is the year ending 30 June. Employment is reported from providers' payroll records, for the last pay period ending on or before 30 June. Employees remuneration data are reported on a cash basis from payroll records for payments made during the financial year.

5 Survey estimates are released approximately five months after the reference period.


6 Information for the SEE is collected via web form questionnaires which are distributed to approximately 2,000 public sector employing units. The population of employers is stratified by state, industry division and employment size to ensure adequate state and industry representation. The target minimum response rate is 95% for the survey as a whole and for each state and industry.

7 There are two principal sources of error in surveys: sampling error and non-sampling error. Non-sampling error arises from inaccuracies in collecting, recording and processing the data. Every effort is made to minimise non-sampling error by the careful design and testing of questionnaires, detailed checking of the reported data and direct follow up with providers where significant errors are detected.

8 Sampling error occurs when a sample or subset of the population is surveyed rather than the entire population. One measure of the likely difference resulting from not including all of the population in the survey is given by the standard error. There are about two chances in three that a sample estimate will differ by less than one standard error from the figure that would have been obtained if the whole population had been included in the survey.

9 For the 2016-17 Survey of Employment and Earnings, there was a 99.5% response rate from all public sector employing units that were surveyed and found to be operating during the reference period. Imputed units contributed 0.8% for employment at the Australia level.


10 The annual SEE series, based on information obtained from a sample survey of public sector employers on the ABS Business Register, was introduced for the 2007-08 financial year. Prior to 2007-08 the survey was undertaken on a quarterly basis. Data for the private sector were collected in the quarterly SEE up to March quarter 2002.

11 The conceptual basis of employee earnings statistics, produced from the annual SEE and presented in this publication, is based on the Australian conceptual framework for measures of employee remuneration, as described in Information Paper: Changes to ABS Measures of Employee Remuneration, 2006 (cat. no. 6313.0).

12 The measure of employee earnings presented for the annual series is 'cash wages and salaries', which is regular and irregular wages and salaries in cash, including amounts salary sacrificed.

13 The SEE uses Australian standard classifications to facilitate data comparability across statistical series. Industry data for 2007-08 onwards are classified according to the Australian and New Zealand Standard Industrial Classification (ANZSIC), 2006 (cat. no. 1292.0).

14 Data collection methodology has been improved over time, including estimation and sample design. Estimates of public sector employment and earnings can be affected by the following factors over time:
  • privatisation of public financial and public trading enterprises
  • machinery of government changes
  • other changes to statistical unit structures

15 Care should therefore be taken when comparing data for the public sector over time.

16 The ABS publishes a variety of other information about employee earnings. These include the Average Weekly Earnings, Australia (cat. no. 6302.0), Employee Earnings and Hours, Australia (cat. no. 6306.0), Wage Price Index, Australia (cat. no. 6345.0), and Labour Costs, Australia (cat. no. 6348.0). It is important to note that these surveys have different purposes and that there are differences in the concepts, scope, sample selection and estimation methodologies used. For further information on these other sources please refer to the feature article Understanding Earnings in Australia Using ABS Statistics published in Employee Earnings, Benefits and Trade Union Membership, Australia, August 2013 (cat. no. 6310.0).


17 Employment and Earnings, Public Sector, Australia (cat. no. 6248.0.55.002) contains Explanatory Notes, a Glossary and a Technical Note which provide further information about data sources, terminology and other technical aspects of the series.


18 Employment and Earnings, Public Sector, Australia (cat. no. 6248.0.55.002) is available electronically from the ABS website and includes a downloadable Excel data file for time series data.

19 For further information about these and related statistics, contact the National Information and Referral Service on 1300 135 070. The ABS Privacy Policy outlines how the ABS will handle any personal information that you provide to us.