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SURVEY OF EMPLOYMENT AND EARNINGS
Cash wages and salaries comprises regular and irregular payments for work done, including salary sacrificed amounts and paid leave, before tax and other items (e.g. employee contributions to superannuation) are deducted.
Data are compiled according to the concepts and definitions outlined in Chapter 11: Employee Remuneration. Estimates of cash wages and salaries produced from the annual SEE are based on the Australian conceptual framework for measures of employee remuneration. See Information Paper: Changes to ABS Measures of Employee Remuneration, 2006 (cat. no. 6313.0).
Data are available for: state and territory; level of government; industry; and public institutional sector.
Data on earnings for the private sector are collected in the Quarterly Business Indicators Survey and published in Business Indicators, Australia (cat. no. 5676.0).
SCOPE AND COVERAGE
Public sector employing organisations operating in the Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing industry (Australian and New Zealand Standard Industrial Classification (ANZSIC) Division A) are included in the scope of this survey. Otherwise, the standard scope exclusions for ABS labour-related business surveys (outlined in Chapter 23) apply to this survey. Further information is available in the Explanatory Notes for Employment and Earnings, Public Sector, Australia (cat. no. 6248.0.55.002).
For the purposes of the SEE, public sector organisations include Commonwealth and state/territory government organisations, local government authorities, public corporations, universities, non-profit institutions controlled by the government, government marketing boards, legislative courts, municipal authorities, and other statutory authorities. Organisations are classified to Level of Government in the output by determining the institutional unit (i.e. Commonwealth, state or local government) deemed to exercise control. The estimates produced by SEE may differ from other available information, due to differences in coverage and/or the classification of organisations.
The SEE collects information using online electronic collection from a sample of public sector employer units.
Employers who do not submit their completed questionnaire within a reasonable period of time after the reference period are followed up by mail and then phone if necessary.
A sample of units is selected from the ABS Business Register using the process outlined in Chapter 23: Methods Used in ABS Business Surveys. Employing units are stratified by:
Strata on the survey frame that are completely enumerated include those containing statistical units with benchmark employment greater than a set cut off (this cut off will vary for different states/territories and industries), and strata with a very small number of sampling units.
In addition to constraints outlined in Chapter 23, sample selection is constrained by the need to ensure that there is minimum overlap with other labour-related business surveys.
SAMPLE SIZE AND ALLOCATION
Approximately 2,000 public sector employer units are selected in the sample to yield a live sample of approximately 1,900 employer units. The sample size decreased from the 2008–09 survey onwards, from around 2,500 to 2,000 employing units. This resulted in increased standard errors, in particular by level of government.
The sample is allocated optimally across sampled strata using a technique designed to minimise the variance of employment and cash wages and salaries at both the national and state/territory level.
The sample is updated each year to reflect changes in the ABS Business Register. Approximately one third of the sample from non-completely enumerated strata is replaced each year. Sample rotation is implemented for the majority of sampled strata comprising organisations with 50 employees or less.
Ratio estimation is used in all strata. Ratio imputation is used for non-responding units in both the completely enumerated and sampled strata.
Survey outliers are dealt with using the 'surprise outlier' technique. For further information on outliers and the surprise outlier technique, refer to Chapter 16: Overview of Survey Methods.
A sample redesign and small domain adjustment methodology were implemented for the 2013-14 cycle. The small domain estimation methodology involves adjusting the estimation weights to ensure that benchmark totals in each State by Level of Government cell within a stratum are met.
For further information on estimation methods used in ABS Business Surveys, refer to Chapter 23.
RELIABILITY OF THE ESTIMATES
Estimates from the survey are subject to both sampling and non-sampling error. The standard errors of survey estimates are available in the publication.
The Bootstrap replication method is used to calculate estimates of variance for this survey. The Bootstrap is a variance estimation method which relies on the use of replicate samples, essentially sampling from within the main sample. Each of these replicate samples is then used to calculate a replicate estimate and the variation in these replicate estimates is used to calculate the variance of a particular estimate.
COMPARABILITY WITH OTHER SURVEYS
The ABS produces earning statistics from a number of different sources, including both household and employer surveys. The three main employer based surveys that provide earnings statistics are the SEE, the Average Weekly Earnings Survey (AWE) and Survey of Employee Earnings and Hours (EEH). The main household based surveys providing earnings statistics are the Characteristics of Employment Survey (COE) and the Survey of Income and Housing (SIH).
Caution should be exercised when comparing estimates of earnings in the SEE release with estimates of earnings included in other ABS earnings publications. There are important differences in the scope, coverage and methodology of these surveys, which can result in different estimates of earnings from each survey.
For further information on a number of earnings series available from ABS sources, and the differences between source surveys, please refer to the feature article 'Understanding Earnings in Australia Using ABS Statistics' published in Australian Labour Market Statistics, July 2014 (cat. no. 6105.0).
DATA COMPARABILITY OVER TIME
In order to provide a high degree of consistency and comparability over time, changes to survey methods, survey concepts, data item definitions, frequency of collection and methods of time series analysis are made as infrequently as possible. However, there have been some significant changes to the SEE: for example, there are significant series breaks for public sector data over time due to the privatisation of a number of public sector enterprises. Other significant changes have included:
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