Work Force Characteristics

Work Force

At the 1961 and previous Censuses the work force was determined as:

    'Those who are engaged in an industry, business, profession, trade or service at the time of the Census (including those on long service leave, etc.) ............................. '; and '....those out of a job at time of the Census but who are usually engaged in an industry, business, profession, trade or service...................................'

At the 1966 Census an additional set of four questions was asked in order to obtain information on the basis of which the work force could be determined more precisely. The questions were as follows. Did the person have a job or business of any kind last week (even though he may have been temporarily absent from it)? ANSWER 'YES' or 'NO'.

Did the person do any work at all last week for payment or profit? ANSWER 'YES' or 'NO'. Persons working without pay as a helper in a 'family business' or farm and members of the clergy and of religious orders (other than purely contemplative order) should answer 'YES' to this question. Persons doing only unpaid housework should answer 'NO'.

Was the person temporarily laid off by his employer without pay for the whole of last week? ANSWER 'YES' or 'NO'.

Did the person look for work last week? ANSWER 'YES' or 'NO'. (Note: 'Looking for work' means (i) being registered with Commonwealth Employment Service, or (ii) approaching prospective employers. or (iii) placing or answering advertisements, or (iv) writing letters of application, or (v) awaiting the result of recent applications.)

The work force includes all persons for whom the answer 'yes' was given to any one of these four questions. Except that persons helping but not receiving wages or a salary who usually worked less than 15 hours a week were excluded from the work force.

This approach conforms closely to the recommendations of the Eighth 1nternational Conference of Labour Statisticians held in Geneva in 1954 and the information so obtained has been used in determining the work force for the purposes of the 1966 Census.

The net effect of the new definition is to include approximately 108,000 additional persons in the Australian work force i.e. a proportionate increase in the Australian work force of approximately 2.3 per cent. The major factor in this change was females working part-time (sometimes for only a few hours a week) some of whom, in 1961, did not consider themselves as 'engaged' in an industry, business, profession, trade or service'.

Occupational Status

Persons in the work force were asked to state occupational status in accordance with the following instructions. If working for wages or salary (including apprentices), write 'W'.

If conducting own business or profession and not at present employing others, write 'O'.

If conducting own business or profession and at present employing others, write 'E'.

If helping but not receiving wages or salary, write 'H'.

If looking for first job, write 'F'.

Persons not in the work force were asked to state activity in accordance with the following instructions:

    Persons not engaged in an industry, business, profession, trade or service.

    For- Children not attending school, write 'C'. Full-time students or children attending school, write 'S'. Mainly dependent on pension or superannuation, write 'P'. Of independent means, write 'M'. Engaged in unpaid home duties, write 'H.D.'. Inmates of institutions (e.g., for invalids and the aged, gaols, reformatories, etc.) write 'I'. Others not engaged in industry, etc. write 'N.A.'. (Young persons seeking work but not previously employed, write 'O' in answer to this question.)

Industry

Persons in the work force were asked to state industry in accordance with the following instructions.

    State the exact branch of industry, business or service in which mainly engaged last week using two or more words where possible. For example, 'Dairy Farming 'Coal Mining', 'Woollen Mills', 'Retail Grocery', 'Road Construction', etc. Employees should state the industry of their employer. For example, a carpenter employed by a coal mining company should state 'Coal Mining'. If employed by a Government Department or other public body, state also its name.

    For paid housekeepers and domestic servants in private households, write 'P.H.'.

From the answers to this question, persons were classified according to the Bureau's 'Classification of Industries' which provides for each person to be classified according to the nature of the business in which mainly engaged, regardless of whether operated by a government authority, corporation or individual. A summary of the 'Classification of Industries' is attached.

Occupation

Persons in the work force were asked to state occupation in accordance with the following instructions.

    State in precise (or award) terms the person's main occupation last week, using where possible two or more words. For example, 'BuiIder's Labourer', 'Dairy Farm Hand', 'Clothing Machinist', 'Wood Machinist', 'Motor Mechanic, 'Electrical Fitter', 'Coalwheeler', 'Dairy Farmer', etc. Employees of Government Departments or Authorities should be described by their official designation, such as 'District Employment Officer', 'Shire Clerk', etc.,and not by such terms as 'Public Servant, etc.
The precise classification of persons in the work force according to occupation and industry is extremely difficult but is subject to continuing efforts to improve the quality of the data from census to census. Consequently the comparison of data compiled at the 1966 Census with that obtained at previous censuses is not only influenced by changes in the definition and content of the work force but also by the different responses which may have been evoked by efforts to improve the questions on the census schedule, and by some changes in coding rules designed to rectify known deficiencies in the data classification according to occupation and industry is difficult mainly because of the problem of conveying through a printed form the exact nature of the information required (e.g. the conceptual difference between 'occupation' and 'industry') and the consequential inadequacy of many replies.

Classification according to occupation is particularly difficult because: (a) the range of occupations is so extensive; (b) there is a lack of uniformity in occupational terms, which vary between industries, locations and States; and (c) respondents fail to give precise descriptions, especially of other members of the family, either through carelessness or ignorance of occupational designations. Similarly, classification according to industry is complicated by the development of new fields of industrial enterprise and the splitting and overlapping of previously identifiable fields.

A summary of the 'Classification of Occupations' is attached.

 

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