1 This release contains quarterly estimates of job vacancies based on information obtained from the quarterly Job Vacancies Survey (JVS).
2 The JVS was suspended following the May 2008 survey and was reinstated for the November 2009 survey.
Gap in series
3 As a result of JVS being suspended, there is a gap in all series: original, seasonally adjusted and trend, for five periods between August 2008 and August 2009 inclusive. The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) cannot produce reliable estimates by collecting this missing data retrospectively, and has not been able to fill the gap using other data sources. However, modelled data for the gap period have been used in the production of trend time series data (see paragraphs 39 to 42 for further details).
4 The JVS reference date is the third Friday of the middle month of the quarter, i.e. February, May, August and November. Job vacancies data relate to the number of vacancies which exist on the actual reference date only, and not for a monthly or quarterly period.
Concepts, sources and methods
5 Descriptions of the underlying concepts of Australia's job vacancies statistics, and the sources and methods used in compiling these estimates, are presented in Labour Statistics: Concepts, Sources and Methods (cat. no. 6102.0.55.001).
Scope and coverage
6 The survey covers all employing organisations in Australia (public and private sectors), except:
- enterprises primarily engaged in agriculture, forestry and fishing;
- private households employing staff; and
- foreign embassies, consulates, etc.
7 All job vacancies of organisations covered in the survey are in scope, except those:
- in the Australian permanent defence forces; and
- located outside Australia.
Survey methodology and design
8 The JVS uses a sample survey methodology and collects information via online forms and/or telephone interviews. Approximately 5,500 employers, selected from the ABS Business Register (ABSBR), are included in the survey.
9 The statistical unit for the survey comprises all the activities of an employer in a particular state or territory based on the Australian Business Number (ABN) unit or Type of Activity Unit (TAU). Each statistical unit is classified to an industry which reflects the predominant activity of the business. The statistical units are stratified by state, industry division and employment size, and within each stratum, statistical units are selected with equal probability.
10 The sample for JVS, like most ABS business surveys, is selected from the ABSBR which is primarily based on registrations to the Australian Taxation Office's (ATO) Pay-As-You-Go Withholding (PAYGW) scheme. The population is updated quarterly to take account of new businesses, businesses that have ceased employing, changes in industry and employment levels and other general business changes.
11 Survey sample redesigns are undertaken periodically for all ABS business surveys. This is to ensure design parameters are up to date, the survey design is optimal, and estimates are of a high quality. The most recent sample redesign for Job Vacancies was implemented for the February 2018 cycle. While at the Australia level the impact of the redesign was found to be minimal, for some industries and states there was an impact on the estimates. However, these impacts are not considered to be significant, and it is expected that the sample redesign will provide more stable time series estimates.
Statistical changes implemented in November 2009
12 A number of improvements were introduced into JVS in November 2009 including:
- undertaking a sample redesign to incorporate the Australian and New Zealand Standard Industrial Classification (ANZSIC) 2006 industry classification which provides a more contemporary industrial classification than ANZSIC 1993;
- updating employment benchmarks on the business survey frame to reflect more up-to-date information for use in stratification and estimation;
- correcting invalid industry and Standard Institutional Sector Classification of Australia (SISCA) codes on the business survey frame; and
- incorporating changes to the SISCA, Public/Private and level of Government classifications.
13 These changes impacted on:
- the population of businesses included;
- the way these businesses are grouped together for sampling purposes;
- the sample selected;
- the weighting of individual units; and
- the industries used to present the statistics.
14 The sample redesign and survey frame changes introduced in November 2009 are likely to have resulted in a shift in the level of the series from ANZSIC 1993 based estimates in May 2008, to ANZSIC 2006 based estimates in November 2009. Normally the ABS can provide a measure of the impact of a sample redesign by running a parallel sample on both bases for one or more cycles. However, due to the suspension of the JVS from August 2008 to August 2009 inclusive, any impact resulting from the sample redesign and survey frame changes can not be measured. Therefore caution should be used when comparing estimates from November 2009 onwards with estimates for May 2008 and previous periods.
ABS economic units model
15 The Economic Units Model is used by the ABS to determine the structure of Australian businesses and other organisations. The model consists of:
- The Enterprise Group (EG)
- Legal Entities (LEs)
- Type of Activity Units (TAUs)
- Location Units.
16 The EG and LE are institutional units and the TAU and Location are producing units.
17 The LE and the TAU are the main institutional and producing units used by the ABS to produce statistical outputs.
18 Diagram 1 illustrates the nature of the relationships between the different units within the model.
Diagram 1: ABS Economic Units Model*
Diagram 1: ABS Economic Units Model*
* The legal entity (LE) statistical unit is generally equivalent to a single ABN registration
19 The Legal Entity (LE) is an institutional unit covering all the operations in Australia of an entity which possesses some or all of the rights and obligations of individual persons or corporations, or which behaves as such in respect of those matters of concern for economic statistics. Examples of legal entities include companies, partnerships, trusts, sole (business) proprietorships, government departments and statutory authorities. Legal entities are institutional units. In most cases the LE is equivalent to a single ABN registration.
20 The Enterprise Group (EG) is an institutional unit that covers all the operations within Australia's economic territory of legal entities under common control. Control is defined in Corporations legislation. Majority ownership is not required for control to be exercised.
21 The Type of Activity Unit (TAU) comprises one or more Legal Entities, sub-entities or branches of a Legal entity that can report productive and employment activities. TAUs are created if accounts sufficient to approximate Industry Value Added (IVA) are available at the Australian and New Zealand Standard Industrial Classification (ANZSIC) subdivision level.
22 A Location is a producing unit comprised of a single, unbroken physical area from which an organisation is engaged in productive activity on a relatively permanent basis, or at which the organisation is undertaking capital expenditure with the intention of commencing productive activity on a relatively permanent basis at some time in the future.
Classifications of units
23 Various classifications are applied to the units in the ABS Economic Units Model. The main classifications applied are:
- Type of Legal Organisation (TOLO)
- Type of Business Entity (TOBE)
- Standard Institutional Sector Classification of Australia (SISCA)
- Public / Private classification.
24 ANZSIC is used to classify the industry in which the TAU has productive activity. From November 2009, industry statistics presented are on the basis of ANZSIC 2006 edition. This edition replaced the 1993 edition which had been in use since 1994. The 2006 edition of ANZSIC was developed to provide a more contemporary industrial classification system taking into account issues such as changes in the structure and composition of the economy, changing user demands and compatibility with major international classification standards. Further information on this classification can be found in Australian and New Zealand Standard Industrial Classification (ANZSIC), 2006 (cat. no. 1292.0).
25 Industry data up to May 2008 are only available on an ANZSIC 1993 basis.
26 SISCA provides a framework for dividing the Australian economy into institutional sectors. Further information on this classification can be found in Standard Economic Sector Classifications of Australia (SESCA), 2008 (cat. no. 1218.0).
ABS business register
27 The ABSBR is a list of businesses and organisations operating in Australia and is based on the Australian Business Register (ABR). Organisations are included on the ABR when they register for an ABN. The Commonwealth Government requires all government departments and agencies to make use of the ABR to reduce government imposed reporting load, and to use the ABN as the primary reference number for all dealings between government and business. The ABSBR is used to create frames for the various business surveys run by the ABS.
28 The results of these statistics are based, in part, on ABR data supplied by the Registrar to the ABS under A New Tax System (Australian Business Number) Act 1999 which requires that such data is only used for the purpose of carrying out functions of the ABS. No individual information collected under the Census and Statistics Act 1905 is provided back to the Registrar for administrative or regulatory purposes. Any discussions of data limitations or weaknesses is in the context of using the data for statistical purposes, and is not related to the ability of the data to support the ABR's core operational requirements. Legislative requirements to ensure privacy and secrecy of the data have been followed. Only people authorised under the Australian Bureau of Statistics Act 1975 have been allowed to view data about any particular firm in conducting this survey. In accordance with the Census and Statistics Act 1905, results have been confidentialised to ensure that they are not likely to enable identification of a particular person or organisation.
29 It is not practicable for the ABS Economic Units Model to be applied to all ABR registrants and the Model is therefore organised into two parts; the profiled population, and the non-profiled population.
30 Profiled Population: Businesses and other organisations which are considered sufficiently complex and economically significant, are profiled according to the Economic Units Model. These enterprise groups typically have multiple legal entities, multiple TAUs and are among the largest contributors within industries.
31 Non-Profiled population: Businesses and other organisations with less complex structures. They are regarded as an enterprise group with a single legal entity and a single TAU in accordance with the Economic Units Model. Information for units in the non-profiled population is largely sourced from the ABR.
32 The two populations are mutually exclusive and cover all organisations in Australia which have registered for an ABN.
Treatment of survey outliers
33 Prior to November 2017, surprise outliering was used as the sole methodology to identify and reduce the impact on the estimates of a business whose weighted survey response is an outlier (i.e. significantly different to businesses in a group with similar characteristics, based on employment size, state and industry). Surprise outliering involves treating the identified outlier as if it were the only extreme unit in the group's population. The outlier is given a weight of one and the weights of the other units in the group are adjusted upwards accordingly.
34 In the November 2017 issue, winsorisation methodology was introduced as the primary method to treat outliers in JVS. Winsorisation moderates the impact of an outlier business without the harsh impact of the surprise outliering approach. Surprise outliering will continue to be used for a small number of extreme values that may not be sufficiently moderated by the winsorisation method.
35 An analysis of the November 2017 estimates was undertaken and it was found that there was no significant impact on the estimates from the change in methodology.
36 Seasonal adjustment is a means of removing the estimated effects of normal seasonal variation from the series so that the effects of other influences can be more clearly recognised. Seasonal adjustment does not aim to remove the irregular or non-seasonal influences which may be present in any particular series. Influences that are volatile or unsystematic can still make it difficult to interpret the movement of the series even after adjustment for seasonal variation. This means that quarter-to-quarter movements of seasonally adjusted estimates may not be reliable indicators of trend behaviour.
37 Seasonal adjustments factors for November 2009 onwards are computed using the ABS standard method of concurrent adjustment. For the five periods August 2008 to August 2009 inclusive, where survey estimates are not available, modelled data have been used in this adjustment.
38 In the private sector, seasonally adjusted estimates for February and May 2008 do not display identifiable seasonality and the estimates are the same as the corresponding original estimates. Seasonal adjustment of the estimates from November 2009 onwards was temporarily suspended but, from the February 2014 issue, the series are seasonally adjusted from November 2009 onwards as the series is showing identifiable seasonality.
39 Seasonally adjusted estimates can be smoothed to reduce the impact of irregular or non-seasonal influences. Smoothed seasonally adjusted series are called trend estimates.
40 The ABS considers that trend estimates provide a more reliable guide to the underlying direction of the data, and are more suitable than either the seasonally adjusted or original estimates for most business decisions and policy advice.
41 Due to the suspension of JVS for five periods between August 2008 and August 2009 inclusive, it was not possible to produce trend estimates for the first three periods following the reinstatement of the survey in November 2009. The trend series was reintroduced from the August 2010 release, with trend data available from November 2009 onwards.
42 Modelled data, at the Australia by sector level only, have been used in the calculation of the trend estimates for the three cycles either side of the gap period (see paragraph 3) and mainly impact the May 2008 and November 2009 trend estimates. The modelled data, which is for the gap period from August 2008 to August 2009 inclusive, are not part of the JVS series and are not available for release from this publication.
Reliability of estimates
43 Estimates are subject to sampling and non-sampling errors. For information on the reliability of estimates see the Technical Note.
44 Estimates have been rounded and discrepancies may occur between sums of the component items and totals. Estimates of percentage change have been calculated using unrounded estimates, and may be different from, but are more accurate than, movements obtained from calculating percentage change using the rounded estimates presented in this release.
45 Users may also wish to refer to the following publications:
- Australian Labour Market Statistics (cat. no. 6105.0);
- Average Weekly Earnings, Australia (cat. no. 6302.0) - issued biannually;
- Employee Earnings and Hours, Australia (cat. no. 6306.0) - issued biennially;
- Employment and Earnings, Public Sector, Australia (cat. no. 6248.0.55.002) - issued annually;
- Labour Force, Australia (cat. no. 6202.0) - issued monthly; and
- Labour Statistics: Concepts, Sources and Methods (cat. no. 6102.0.55.001).