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Number of employees (EMPP)

Census of Population and Housing: Census dictionary
Reference period


This variable records the number of employees (in ranges) employed by owner managers (excluding the owner managers themselves).


Persons aged 15 years and over, who are owner managers of incorporated or unincorporated enterprises


1Nil employees
21-19 employees
320 or more employees
&Not stated
@Not applicable
VOverseas visitor

Number of categories:  6

Not applicable (@) category comprises:

  • Employees
  • Contributing family workers
  • Unemployed persons
  • Persons not in the labour force
  • Persons with Labour Force Status (LFSP) not stated
  • Persons with Status in Employment (SIEMP) not stated
  • Persons aged under 15 years      

See Understanding supplementary codes for more information.

Question(s) from the Census form

Does the person’s business employ people?

    Does the person’s business employ people?
    Does Person 1's business employ people?

    Exclude owner/s of the business.

    More information

    Person's business size

    No, no employees (other than owner/s)

    Yes, 1 - 19 employees

    Yes, 20 or more employees

      More information

      Additional information relating to the question on: Does the person’s business employ people?

      More information

      Does Person 1's business employ people?

      Exclude owner/s of the business.

      More information

      Select the number of people employed in the person's business (on an ongoing basis) as at Census night (excluding the owner/s of the business).

      Exclude contractors, sub-contractors and intermittent casuals (on call, but do not have regular shifts).

      How this variable is created

      This variable is created based on the response to the question of whether the respondent’s business employs people. In cases where more than one response is marked, the responses are accepted in the order they appear on the form and the extra responses are deleted.

      History and changes

      The question relating to number of employees was first asked in the 2006 Census and has been asked in each Census since then.

      For the 2016 Census a change was made to the question to indicate that the owner should exclude themselves from the count of people they employ. Also, in 2016, the number of employees question was asked for the first time on the Interviewer Household Form. This form type is primarily used in discrete Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities across Australia.

      No changes have been made for 2021.

      Data use considerations

      The number of employees employed in a business is used to help understand:

      • Whether the business employs people who are not owners.
      • The nature of self-employment (whether working on own account, or as an employer).
      • The characteristics of small business owners.

      Related variables and glossary terms