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Hours worked in employment per week


Hours worked in employment is the total number of hours usually worked in employment each week by a person aged 15 years and over who:

  • worked one hour or more for pay, profit, or payment in kind, in a job, business, farm, or professional practice, or
  • worked one hour or more without pay in work that contributed directly to the operation of a business, farm, or professional practice operated by a relative, or
  • had a job or business they were temporarily absent from.

Hours worked in employment is derived by adding together hours worked per week in main job and hours worked per week in other jobs.

Related variables

  • Work and labour force status

Where the data comes from

Question 40 on the individual form.

How this data is classified

Data on hours worked is available for the main job, for other jobs, and for total hours worked in employment per week. It is output by single hours as well as in 10-hour groups.

For further information on these classifications, refer to the:

For background information on classifications and standards, refer to the Classifications and related statistical standards page.

Subject population

The subject population for this variable is the employed census usually resident population aged 15 years and over.

The subject population is the people, families, households, or dwellings to whom the variable applies.

Non-response and data that could not be classified


'Non-response' is when an individual gives no response at all to a census question that was relevant to them. The non-response rate is the percentage of the subject population that was coded to ‘Not stated’.

  • Non-response rate for 2013: 4.1 percent.
  • Non-response rate for 2006: 5.1 percent.
  • Non-response rate for 2001: 4.5 percent.

Not elsewhere included

Non-response and responses that could not be classified or did not provide the type of information asked for are usually grouped together and called 'Not elsewhere included'.

  •  4.5 percent of the subject population was coded to 'Not elsewhere included' in 2013, compared with 7.7 percent in 2006 and 6.1 percent in 2001.

For more information on non-response, refer to the 2013 Census data user guide.

How this data is used

Data from this variable is used:

  • by organisations involved in policy formulation such as government departments (eg Treasury, Department of Labour, Ministry of Women's Affairs, Ministry of Youth Affairs), economic research institutions, and local government
  • widely within Statistics NZ outputs, and generally cross-tabulated with age, sex, ethnic group, industry, occupation, and sector of ownership. For example, hours worked data is used in the official productivity statistics.

Data quality processes

All census data was checked thoroughly during processing and evaluation, to ensure that it met quality standards and is suitable for use. These quality checks included edits.

All data must meet minimum quality standards to make it suitable for use.

Quality level

quality level is assigned to all census variables: foremost, defining, or supplementary.

Hours worked in employment per week is a defining variable. Defining variables cover key subject populations that are important for policy development, evaluation, or monitoring. These variables are given second priority in terms of quality, time, and resources across all phases of a census.

Mode of collection impacts – online form compared with paper form

The online forms had built-in editing functionality that directed respondents to the appropriate questions and ensured that their responses were valid. As a result of this, data from online forms may be of higher overall quality than data from paper forms. There were differences between how the forms were completed online and on paper for this variable:

  • The online form allowed a total of 0 to 168 hours over each of the numeric boxes (hours worked per week for 'Main job', and 'All other jobs').
  • On the online form, only people who answered that they were in employment in question 32, were 15 years of age or older, and gave a New Zealand address in question 5 were able to respond to the hours worked per week question. When forms were completed on paper, it was possible for people who were not working, younger than 15 years, or overseas visitors to answer this question.

Quality assessment of data and data quality issues for this variable

Overall quality assessment

Moderate: fit for use – with some data quality issues to be aware of. 2013 Census variable quality rating scale gives more detail.

Issues to note

  • Non-response rate for 2013: 4.1 percent.
  • In the 2013 Census, 11.9 percent of those giving a valid response to 'Hours in all other jobs' gave the same figure for hours in main job. In the 2006 Census, 9.9 percent gave the same figure. Testing showed that some respondents interpret the 'Hours in all other jobs' category as asking for total hours worked – with the result that they give the same hours figures twice (eg '40', '40'). This had the impact of inflating the total hours figure in the census, and inflating derived measures like multiple job holders. It was not possible to determine in these cases whether the respondent had intended other hours as total hours or not, so the responses were left as reported.

For more information on non-response, refer to the 2013 Census data user guide.

Comparing this data with previous census data

This data is fully comparable with data from the 2006 and 2001 Censuses. Changes in the data over this time period can be interpreted as real changes because there have been no changes in the way the data has been collected, defined, and classified.

Comparing this data with data from other sources

Census is the only information source that provides comprehensive information for small areas and small populations. However alternative sources of information about this subject are available:

Data from these alternative sources may show differences from census data for several reasons. These could be due to differences in scope, coverage, non-response rates, data being collected at different periods of time, alternative sources being sample surveys and as such subject to sampling errors, or differences in question wordings and method of delivery (self-administered versus interviewer-administered). Data users are advised to familiarise themselves with the strengths and limitations of individual data sources before comparing with census data.

Further information about this data

All percentages in census publications have been calculated using 'Total stated' as the denominator.

When using this data, be aware that:

  • This data includes hours worked in unpaid work in a business, farm, or professional practice but excludes hours spent on other forms of unpaid work or activities, such as voluntary work for a community organisation.

Contact our Information Centre for further information about using this variable.

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