Some indexes of employer characteristics have a visible change in levels at the transition point. The ABS is working on a method to smooth this change, which will be applied in a future release. Consequently, users should exercise caution when comparing week-on-week change and index levels for industry and employment size across the transition point. More information on the changes around the transition point are documented in a historical Methods review section.
Once an employers’ payroll job is allocated to an employer characteristic it is held constant until the next snapshot, when missing values will be populated and existing values refreshed (if they have changed). Employers whose employer characteristics can't be linked or derived from the latest ABSBR snapshot are assigned an ‘unknown’ category for the relevant employer characteristic. As the March 2021 ABSBR snapshot ages, the proportion of records with unknown industry and employment size is expected to increase. The ABS anticipates that snapshots will be refreshed on at least an annual basis, to enable a regular update of employer characteristics and minimise the number of unknowns.
Determining employer characteristics of newly reported payroll jobs
In the 9 December 2021 release, the method used to determine employer characteristics of payroll jobs as they are added to the series was also updated.
Newly reported payroll jobs are either part of two population groups (profiled and non-profiled), and the assignment of employer characteristics depends on which population group the employer falls within. For non-profiled businesses, employer characteristics match those of the business’ Australian Business Number (ABN). The remainder of payroll jobs are part of the profiled population. These payroll jobs are assigned to a Type of Activity Unit (TAU), and conceptual modelling is used to predict and assign suitable employer characteristics (industry, employment size and sector) to each payroll job.
The updated allocation method determining employer characteristics saw payroll jobs assigned to more representative industries, enhancing statistical quality. More information on the changes as a result of the updated process are documented in a historical Methods review section.
Employer characteristics have been expanded to include a public/private sector variable throughout the time series. The release of 7 October 2021 includes the first set of sector indexes, payroll jobs by selected private sector industries. Private sector indexes are included for industries where the payroll jobs in the private sector are more than 80% of all payroll jobs. Industries not included in the sector tables are Electricity, gas, water and waste services; Public administration and safety; Education and training; and Health care and social assistance.
It is intended that both private and public sector by industry indexes and private and public sector by state and territory indexes will be released in the future. The current method of applying adjustments, for anomalous reporting and commencement of employer reporting through STP, does not differentiate on sector. While there is a small impact in indexes where the private sector dominates, the adjustment method requires enhancement to allow for more granular application and more accurate representation of change for both private and public sector indexes (for all industries and at state and territory levels).
Jobholder variables such as date of birth (from which age is derived), sex and residential geography (including sub-state region) are updated from the annual Client Register snapshot. From this release, some jobholder variables have been updated or refreshed throughout the time series, described in detail in Methods review. To reduce the volatility in fluctuating characteristics, jobholder variables are held constant between snapshot updates. While the date of birth variable is held constant, the jobholder’s age (as derived from date of birth) continues to be updated at the start of a jobholder’s birth month each year.
STP records whose jobholder characteristics cannot be determined from STP or the Client Register snapshot are assigned an ‘unknown’ category for the relevant jobholder characteristic. As persons join the workforce or register with the ATO for the first time, the Client Register snapshot becomes outdated and the number of payroll jobs with an unknown characteristic can increase. Proportions of unknown age and residential geography remain small over time, as they can also be derived from STP data. However, the proportion of unknown sex (which is only sourced from the Client Register) is expected to increase over time as the snapshot ages. Updates from new Client Register snapshots will implemented on at least an annual basis.