6359.0 - Forms of Employment, Australia, Nov 2008 Quality Declaration 
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 12/06/2009   
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For information on the institutional environment of the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), including the legislative obligations of the ABS, financing and governance arrangements, and mechanisms for scrutiny of ABS operations, please see ABS Institutional Environment.


The Forms of Employment (FOES) survey provides information on some of the key factors relating to the nature of employment arrangements in the Australian labour market. The survey also presents information about different types of employment which can be cross-classified by characteristics such as hours worked, industry and occupation and demographic characteristics.


The FOES survey is collected annually during November as a supplement to the monthly Labour Force Survey (LFS). Results from this survey are released approximately six months after the completion of enumeration (ie. during May) in the publication Forms of Employment (cat. no. 6359.0).


Estimates from the FOES are subject to sampling and non-sampling errors. Relative standard error (RSE) is a measure of the size of the sampling error affecting an estimate, i.e. the error introduced by basing estimates on a sample of the population rather than the full population. Non-sampling errors are inaccuracies that occur because of imperfections in reporting by respondents and interviewers, and errors made in coding and processing data.

The FOES was designed primarily to provide estimates at the Australia level. Broad estimates are available for state and capital city/balance, though users should exercise caution when using estimates at this level because of the presence of high sampling errors. RSEs for all estimates in the publication are available in the Technical Note.

From November 2008, there has been a reduction in the LFS sample size when compared to November 2007. This is due to an 11% sample reduction that was implemented from November 2007 to June 2008 based on the 2006 sample design, and an additional 24% sample reduction implemented in July 2008. Detailed information about the sample reduction is provided in Information Paper: Labour Force Survey Sample Design, Nov 2007 (Second edition) (cat. no. 6269.0).


While the LFS provides the official estimate of persons in the labour force, the FOES provides further information on the characteristics of these people. Summary information is also collected in the Labour Force Survey on a quarterly basis.

The ABS has been conducting the FOES regularly since 1998. Key changes to the FOES include:

  • revision of population benchmarks
  • changes in the scope of the survey
  • revision of data items
  • the redevelopment of the 2008 FOES to better capture information of independent contractors, other business operators and employees with/without paid leave entitlements. Information was also collected of people who found their current job through a labour hire firm/employment agency, which the ABS plans to collect again in November 2011.

    The November 2008 FOES was redeveloped to better capture information of independent contractors, other business operators and employees with/without paid leave entitlements.

    This change has resulted in a break in series for employees and users need to exercise caution when comparing data about employees in the 2008 publication with previous releases as data about this population group has changed.

    For more information on changes to the survey see Chapter 21.3 of Labour Statistics: Concepts, Sources and Methods (cat. no. 6102.0.55.001).


    The Forms of Employment publication contains tables and a Summary of Findings to aid interpretation of the results of the survey. Detailed Explanatory Notes, Technical Note and a Glossary are also included providing information on the terminology, classifications and other technical aspects associated with these statistics.

    Further commentary is often available through articles and data published in other ABS products, including:

    Australian Labour Market Statistics (cat.no. 6105.0) - refer to Appendix 2 for past articles
    Australian Social Trends (cat.no. 4102.0) - refer to the Cumulative list of articles for past articles
    2008 Year Book Australia (cat.no. 1301.0) - the 'Labour' chapter includes a feature article on Forms of Employment
    Concepts, Sources and Methods (cat. no. 6102.0.55.001) - Chapter 21.3 Forms of Employment.


    The main product from the survey is a PDF publication, Forms of Employment, Australia (cat.no. 6359.0), released electronically via the ABS website. Additional data may be available on request. For a list of data items available see Appendix 2 of the publication. Note that detailed data can be subject to high relative standard errors, and in some cases, may result in data being confidentialised.

    For further information about these or related statistics, contact the National Information and Referral Centre on 1300 135 070 or contact Labour Market Section on Canberra (02) 6252 7206.