6333.0 - Characteristics of Employment, Australia, August 2016 Quality Declaration 
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 02/05/2017   
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The Characteristics of Employment Survey presents information on all employed persons according to their status of employment. The framework below classifies jobholders to a status of employment on the basis of their main job, that is, the job in which they usually worked the most hours. The status of employment category groups are:

  • Employees;
  • Owner managers of incorporated enterprises (OMIEs); and
  • Owner managers of unincorporated enterprises (OMUEs).

Employees are then further classified according to whether they had paid leave entitlements, that is, whether they had paid sick and/or paid holiday leave, while OMIEs and OMUEs are further classified according to whether they had employees.

Image: Conceptual Framework

Information is also presented on independent contractors who may be in the Employees, OMIEs or OMUEs groups. They are identified through a series of questions about their work and remuneration arrangements.


Employed Persons
  • In August 2016, there were an estimated 11.8 million employed persons aged 15 years and over, of which 54% were males. (Datacube 3)
  • An estimated 7.9 million (67%) employed persons worked full-time in their main job. (Datacube 4)
  • Almost half (46%) of all employed persons usually worked 35–44 hours per week. Males comprised 60% of these persons. (Datacube 5)

  • In August 2016, the mean weekly earnings of employees and OMIEs in all jobs was $1,223 compared with $1,202 in 2015. (Datacube 2)
  • For males, the mean weekly earnings in all jobs was $1,420 and for females it was $1,007.
  • The median weekly earnings in all jobs in 2016 was $1,012 ($1,200 for males and $880 for females). (Datacube 9)

Independent Contractors
  • There were approximately 1 million independent contractors in their main job in August 2016. (Datacube 14)
  • Approximately 9% of all employed persons were independent contractors, and almost three quarters (72%) of all independent contractors were males.
  • More than half (55%) of independent contractors were aged 45 years and over.

Trade Union Members in their Main Job
  • For employees and OMIEs;
      • Trade union membership has steadily declined over recent years, with 2016 having the lowest proportion in the history of the series (15%). (Datacube 16)
  • For all employed persons;
      • 13% (1.6 million) were trade union members in connection with their main job. (Datacube 18)
      • The Education and training and Public administration and safety industry divisions had the highest proportion of trade union members in main job (both 31%).

Persons Who Found Their Job Through a Labour Hire Firm/Employment Agency
  • In August 2016, there were 600,800 persons (5% of all employed persons) who had found their job through a labour hire firm/employment agency, of which 59% were males. (Datacube 20)
  • Of those persons who had found their main job through a labour hire firm/employment agency, 22% were paid by a labour hire firm/employment agency.