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Status in employment


'Status in employment' classifies employed people aged 15 years and over according to whether they are working for themselves or for other people.

Relationship to questionnaire(s)

Data on status in employment comes from question 34 on the individual form (PDF 395kb).

Subject population

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

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

Non-response rate

The 2006 non-response rate was 2.9 percent.

The 2001 non-response rate was 2.8 percent.

Quality Management Strategy priority level

Status in employment is a defining variable.

The Census Quality Management Strategy assigns a priority level to all census variables.

Defining variables cover key subject populations that are important for policy development, evaluation or monitoring. These variables are given secondary priority in terms of quality, time and resources across all phases of the 2006 Census.

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

Comparability with 1996 and 2001 Census data

There are no significant issues affecting the comparability of this data with 1996 and 2001 Census data.

Comparability with other data

The Household Labour Force Survey (HLFS) publishes employment data by status in employment. The census attempted to use similar criteria and question wording to the HLFS to determine a person's labour force characteristics, such as status in employment. However, there are a number of important differences between the two data sources that mean that direct comparison is not always possible, particularly below the national level and specifically for cross-classifications of variables. The differences between the two data sources include differences in scope, coverage (including under- and over-coverage), timing, non-response, editing practice, question wording and method of delivery (self administered versus interviewer administered). Additionally, the HLFS is a sample survey. The HLFS is the official measure of employment and unemployment in New Zealand, but, depending on the type of analysis being undertaken, it will often be more appropriate to use census data. Statistics New Zealand can assist data users in determining the best data source for their particular data need.

Significant issues

There are no significant issues that users need to be aware of.

Other things to be aware of

  • There are some inconsistencies between this and some other employment variables (especially with the sector of ownership variable) caused by coding and respondent errors. For example, there were a number of cases where people were coded to a sector of central or local government but had a status in employment of unpaid family worker, employer or self-employed. This was because of status in employment being coded independently of sector of ownership. All people coded to the central or local government sector should be employees.
  • All census data was subject to considerable checks (including edits) during processing and evaluation, to ensure that it meets quality standards and is suitable for use. These checks were applied to data supplied both on paper and on Internet forms. In addition to these quality checks, the Internet form 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 Internet forms may be of higher overall quality than data from paper forms. The significance of this will depend on the particular type of analysis being done.
  • There were differences between how the forms were completed on the Internet and on paper for this variable:
    • On the Internet form, only people who answered that they were in employment in question 32 were able to respond to the status in employment question.
    • The Internet form allowed only one response to be selected for the status in employment question. If a further response was selected, the response given previously disappeared. Multiple responses to this question were possible when forms were completed on paper.
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