Elizabeth, ABS Interviewer ACT Region
I began life as an ABS Interviewer some 15 years ago in Canberra. I was initially attracted to the position as it was homebased and offered flexible working hours. These were important factors at that time as I had two children at school and the nature of the work enabled me to still do "school duties" and usually be home in the afternoon. In addition, the remuneration was sufficient to cover school fees and orthodontics!
My husband's work in the military involved frequent moves. I was fortunate to learn that I was able to transfer to a country position for a few years. This gave me a good insight in to the life of country people. My husband's work also sent us overseas and after our return I was able to resume interviewing in Canberra.
The interviewing work is quite varied and the topics that are covered interesting. I get a buzz from seeing the results of my work being used in the public and political arenas. There have been opportunities to do more work than the expected two weeks a month, and this has been useful on the home front at various times.
My experience with ABS has been that it sets interviewers up with all the office equipment necessary to do the work, including telephones, mobile phones, computers, desks, and chairs. Work hours are varied, requiring home based phoning, face to face interviewing, night work, and also a certain amount of weekend work.
There is ample responsive support from the Regional Office for any problems encountered during the interviewing period. Other Interviewers in the area form a loose supporting network of colleagues, and are a good source of help and advice. A few times a year the Interviewers meet up for informal lunches as well as some formal training from the Office.
I have enjoyed my time with ABS and believe that an Interviewer position is ideal for anyone who does not want full-time employment, prefers flexible hours, enjoys meeting and interacting with a cross section of the community, likes independent work, and wants to know that their efforts have a meaningful impact on the community.
Helen, ABS Interviewer Queensland
I have been an interviewer for the Australian Bureau of Statistics for 22 years. I originally applied for the job because I wanted part-time work that would still allow me to spend time with my young family. My youngest child at the time was 18 months old.
Working as an ABS interviewer enabled me to take the children to school, go to sporting activities and generally be at home. It fitted very well with my lifestyle then, and still does now. I enjoyed the work so much that as the four children grew and left home, I stayed working.
I mainly collect information for the monthly Labour Force Survey which involves interviewing respondents either in person or by phone using a notebook computer. Most of my interviewing work is done in the evenings between 4.30pm and 8.00pm.
The monthly Labour Force Survey has been carried out since 1960, and the information collected is used to produce Australia’s employment and unemployment figures. I really feel as though I do a very useful and satisfying job.
The questions I ask are about employment status, hours worked and occupation. Additional questions are sometimes asked about such topics as education, child-care or the environment. Other surveys I have worked on include housing and income surveys, general social surveys and mental health.
In the job you meet a lot of very interesting people and learn the way around your area very well. Over the years I have been pleasantly surprised by the level of support and appreciation I have received from respondents. Anyone considering becoming an interviewer should only be seeking part-time work, be motivated, organised and love working with people.
Miles, ABS Interviewer Tasmania
I started with the ABS in mid 2007 after responding to an advertisement in the Hobart Mercury for interviewers for the Monthly Population Survey.
My wife and I retired and moved to Tasmania a few years ago, but after two years I felt I needed to do some part-time work. However, I was looking for something which allowed me to get out into the community, provided independence, flexibility but still allowed me to undertake my volunteering and other activities. My experience so far has lived up to those expectations.
I appreciated the initial and follow up training in Adelaide, and I was particularly impressed by the equipment provided by ABS to set up my home office. Having experience working in small and large enterprises I have to say that the support provided has been quite outstanding.
Normally I work one week per month and my workload entails both face to face and telephone interviews. The areas that I look after give me a balance of both rural and suburban households, and they provide personal contact with a broad cross section of the community which I have enjoyed. In some months I also do follow up interviews which have added another couple of days work in the following week. In all cases however, I have found the workload to be quite manageable.
You will never make a million dollars as an interviewer for the ABS, but if you are looking to do something part-time with personal contact, independence and flexibility then this job would interest you.
Steve, ABS Interviewer NSW
I joined the Australian Bureau of Statistics after retrenchment. While I had completed twenty five years in my previous position, I was not ready or prepared for retirement, so I responded to an ABS ad for Interviewers. The ad indicated that work would be available on a "two weeks on, two weeks off" basis, and that was appealing to me after more than 30 years of full-time employment plus two to three hours travel per day.
I have been in the position for just over 6 months now, and find the work interesting. I now work in a number of different locations across the Sutherland and St George areas of Sydney. It has been interesting to see the varied nature of the people selected to participate in ABS surveys. I have encountered people of many age groups, different family structures, and work arrangements. This variation shows that people from a wide cross section of households and walks of life are included in ABS surveys.
The bulk of my work is now based at home doing telephone interviewing. I also do face to face interviewing of people in their homes in my local area. This means I no longer have the two to three hours peak hour travelling time per day, and I also get some exercise walking to and from people's homes.