The statistics in this release were compiled from the 2020 iteration of the Participation, Job Search and Mobility (PJSM) survey conducted throughout Australia in February of each year as a supplement to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) monthly Labour Force Survey (LFS).
This survey provides a comprehensive and coherent dataset on persons experiences relating to job search, job change and labour market participation, combining key elements from previous separate collections:
- Persons Not in the Labour Force (PNILF) (cat. no. 6220.0)
- Underemployed Workers (UEW) (cat. no. 6265.0)
- Job Search Experience (JSE) (cat. no. 6222.0) and
- Labour Mobility (LMOB) (cat. no. 6209.0).
It informs on the following broad labour market issues: job mobility; job search; participation and increasing participation; underemployment; and marginal attachment. This enables analysis of persons experiences relating to job search, job change and increasing participation, all of which can be cross classified by other employment characteristics such as hours worked, industry, occupation and sector of job, as well as personal characteristics.
The explanatory notes relate to key aspects of the supplementary survey, however, information about survey design, scope, coverage and population benchmarks relevant to the monthly LFS, which also applies to supplementary surveys, can be found in the publication Labour Force, Australia (cat. no. 6202.0).
Interviews for the Labour Force Survey are generally conducted during the two weeks beginning on the Sunday between the 5th and 11th of each month. The information obtained relates to the week before the interview (i.e. the reference week). For Participation, Job Search and Mobility (PJSM), the reference period will be the labour force weeks of the month of February. While data is collected within those weeks, the reference period in PJSM will sometimes differ according to the subject matter. Where they differ from the reference week, these will be explicitly stated within the data item label or definitions (for example, in the last 3 months, in the last four weeks).
Scope and coverage
The scope of this survey is all people aged 15 years and over, excluding:
- members of the permanent defence forces
- certain diplomatic personnel of overseas governments, customarily excluded from the Census and estimated populations
- members of non-Australian defence forces (and their dependants)
- overseas residents in Australia.
The following exclusions also apply:
- people living in remote parts of Australia
- people living in non-private households such as hotels, university residences, students at boarding schools, patients in hospitals, inmates of prisons and residents of other institutions (e.g. retirement homes, homes for people with disabilities)
- people living in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.
Coverage rules are applied which aim to ensure that each person is associated with only one household and hence has only one chance of selection in the survey. See the Explanatory Notes of Labour Force, Australia (cat. no. 6202.0) for more details.
The collection methodology for the labour supplementary surveys, including Participation, Job Search and Mobility (PJSM), is generally the same as for the Labour Force Survey. Interviews are conducted at the same time as interviews for the LFS, most interviews are conducted by telephone and online electronic collection with some conducted face to face. Information about each household member in scope of the supplementary survey is generally collected from one adult using the 'Any Responsible Adult' (ARA) methodology.
Response rates for the supplementary surveys are generally slightly lower than for the LFS.
In February of each year, 7/8ths of the sample for the Labour Force Survey are included within the responding sample of Participation, Job Search and Mobility (PJSM). People in the outgoing rotation group in the LFS are excluded from all supplementary surveys.
For details on the sample design for LFS, see the Explanatory Notes in Labour Force, Australia (cat. no. 6202.0).
The sample size for the February 2020 Participation, Job Search and Mobility survey (after taking into account scope, coverage and sub sampling exclusions) is approximately 21,100 households.
Weighting, benchmarking and estimation
Survey weights are calibrated against population benchmarks to ensure that the survey estimates conform to the independently estimated distribution of the population, rather than the distribution within the sample itself.
When calibrating the weights, the survey sample is grouped into categories based on the following characteristics:
- State or territory
- Capital city or rest of state
- Employed, underemployed, unemployed or not in the labour force.
The PJSM survey benchmarks were based on the most recently available release of Estimated Resident Population (ERP) data. Estimates from previous years are also revised using this method. Each year estimates are revised for the previous three years as updated benchmarks become available.
To reduce the impact of seasonality on the different estimates of labour force status, the estimates have been adjusted by factors based on trend LFS estimates. These factors were applied at the State and territory, Sex, employment, underemployment, unemployment and residual not in the labour force levels, based on the trend LFS series as published in the March 2020 issue of Labour Force, Australia (cat. no. 6202.0). This adjustment accounts for February seasonality and irregular effects.
Revised time series are available from the Data download section of this publication. All data from 2016 to 2020 are comparable with estimates, benchmarks and trend factors published in the March 2020 issue of Labour Force, Australia (cat. no. 6202.0).
Data on participation, job search and mobility for people aged 15 years and older, and includes:
- Socio-demographic information.
- Employed persons - Status in employment; hours actually worked; hours usually worked; full-time or part-time status; whether worked and reason worked less hours than usual; whether available to start work; continuous duration with current employer/business; sector; occupation; industry; whether entitled to paid leave; whether retrenched; whether available and/or looking for work; whether promoted and/or transferred; previous occupation; and whether changed industry or occupation.
- Unemployed persons - Duration of job search; whether looked for full-time or part-time work; whether checked or registered with a Job Services Australia/jobactive provider; number of employment offers; whether turned down job offers; reasons for turning down job offers; and whether would move interstate or intrastate.
- Underemployed persons - Underemployment status; whether available and/or looking for work; duration of current period of insufficient work; whether would prefer to change employer to work more hours; whether would prefer to change occupation to work more hours; and whether would move interstate or intrastate.
- Ceased a job - Continuous duration of last job; occupation of last job; industry of last job; status in employment of last job; hours usually work each week in last job; reason for ceasing last job; when began last job; whether entitled to paid leave in last job; and whether changed industry or occupation.
- Persons not in the labour force - Main activity when not in the labour force; time since last job; whether had a job in the last 10 or 20 years; reasons not actively looking for work; whether available to start work; whether preferred full-time or part-time work; intention to enter the labour force; whether wanted to work; whether would move interstate or intrastate; continuous duration of last job; occupation of last job; industry of last job; and whether entitled to paid leave in last job.
Data are also available in TableBuilder, see Microdata: Participation, Job Search and Mobility (cat. no. 6226.0.00.001).
Standards and classifications
Country of birth data are classified according to the Standard Australian Classification of Countries (SACC), 2016 (cat. no. 1269.0).
Occupation data are classified according to ANZSCO - Australian and New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations, 2013, Version 1.2 (cat. no. 1220.0).
Industry data are classified according to the Australian and New Zealand Standard Industrial Classification (ANZSIC), 2006 (Revision 2.0) (cat. no. 1292.0).
Education data are classified according to the Australian Standard Classification of Education (ASCED), 2001 (cat. no. 1272.0).
Geography data are classified according to the Australian Statistical Geography Standard (ASGS), 2016 (cat. no. 1270.0.55.001).
Comparability with Labour Force estimates
Due to differences in the scope, sample size and reference period of this supplementary survey and that of the monthly LFS, the estimation procedure may lead to some small variations between labour force estimates from this survey and those from the LFS.
Comparability with previous surveys
The move to create a consolidated supplementary survey involved a change in collection month for a number of the existing supplementary survey topics, namely JSE, UEW and PNILF moved from the July or September months, to February.
In order to better understand the impacts that the change in timing had, all three surveys (JSE, PNILF and UEW) were conducted in February 2014, in a format that was similar to their current format. This meant that JSE was conducted in July 2013 and PNILF and UEW were conducted in September 2013, and then again in February 2014 in Persons Not In the Labour Force, Underemployed Workers and Job Search Experience, Australia, February 2014 (cat. no. 6226.0.55.001).
Care should be taken when comparing the estimates from PJSM with previous supplementary surveys as Persons Not in the Labour Force (PNILF) and Underemployed Workers (UEW) were previously collected in September, Job Search Experience (JSE) in July, and Labour Mobility (LMOB) was collected in February. Collection of data from the combined PJSM survey was undertaken in February.
Persons Not In the Labour Force (PNILF)
PNILF was first conducted in May 1975 and again in May 1977. From 1979 to 1987 the survey was collected twice a year (March and September). From 1988 to 2013 it was conducted annually in September. Results of previous surveys were published in Persons Not in the Labour Force, Australia (cat. no. 6220.0).
For more information on the history of changes to PNILF, see the Explanatory Notes (cat. no. 6220.0).
Underemployed Workers (UEW)
UEW was conducted in May 1985, 1988 and 1991. In 1994, the survey became an annual survey and until 2013 was collected each September. Results of previous surveys were published in Underemployed Workers, Australia (cat. no. 6265.0).
For more information on the history of changes to UEW, see the Explanatory Notes (cat. no. 6265.0).
Job Search Experience (JSE)
JSE was conducted annually in July from 2002 to 2013. Results of similar surveys on the job search experience of unemployed persons conducted in July 1984, July 1985, June 1986, July 1988, July 1990, June 1991, and annually from July 1992 to July 2001 were published in various issues of Job Search Experience of Unemployed Persons, Australia (cat. no. 6222.0). Information on people who had started work for an employer for wages or salary during the 12 months up to the end of the reference week was collected in June 1986 and two-yearly from July 1990 to July 2000 and was published in Successful and Unsuccessful Job Search Experience, Australia (cat. no. 6245.0).
For more information on the history of changes to JSE, see the Explanatory Notes (cat. no. 6222.0).
Labour Mobility and similar surveys were conducted in November 1972, February 1975, February 1976, annually from February 1979 to February 1992 and biennially from February 1994 to February 2012 and most recently in February 2013. Results of previous surveys were published in Labour Mobility, Australia (cat. no. 6209.0).
For more information on the history of changes to LMOB, see the Explanatory Notes (cat. no. 6209.0).
ABS publications which may also be of interest include:
- Labour Force, Australia (cat. no. 6202.0)
- Labour Statistics: Concepts, Sources and Methods (cat. no. 6102.0.55.001)
- Microdata: Participation, Job Search and Mobility, Australia (cat. no. 6226.0.00.001)
- Microdata: Longitudinal Labour Force, Australia (cat. no. 6602.0)