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Section 2: HLFS content

This section provides an overview of the regular content included in New Zealand’s Household Labour Force Survey (HLFS) after the 2016 redevelopment.

We assessed information gathered through our consultation process and international review that related to new topic needs for: level of need, compatibility with the purpose and objectives of the HLFS, and required frequency of information. This formed the basis for the topics detailed below.

Content on personal characteristics

1. Age

Description: Age of all household members

Topic type: Existing (updated)

Date of birth is collected for all household members. If date of birth is not provided, age in years is asked. The information used in outputs will be age in years, derived from date of birth, at the date of the household questionnaire interview. It is important to collect date of birth in the HLFS (not just age) to help ensure that a respondent is correctly included as eligible for the HLFS and to correctly age them (as they stay in the sample for two years).

Questions:

“What is your date of birth?”
“What is your age?”

Output categories:

  • Age: 0–120 years
  • Age in 5-year age bands

2. Sex

Description: Sex of all household members

Topic type: Existing

Sex is collected for all household members.

Output categories: Male; Female

3. Ethnic group

Description: Ethnic group(s) of all household members

Topic type: Existing

The ethnic group or groups that people identify with or feel they belong to is indicative of cultural affiliation (as opposed to race, ancestry, nationality, or citizenship). Ethnicity is self-perceived and people can belong to more than one ethnic group. An individual in the HLFS can report up to 14 ethnic groups. These are stored separately and used to produce ‘total response’ and ‘single-combination’ output measures.

Question:

“Which ethnic group or groups do you belong to?”

Output categories for ‘total response’ ethnicity:

  • European
  • Māori
  • Pacific peoples
  • Asian
  • Middle Eastern/Latin American/African
  • Other ethnicity
  • Residual categories.

4. Māori descent

Description: Indicator of Māori descent for all individuals aged 15 years or older (15+)

Topic type: New

This topic collects information on whether or not each member of the household aged 15+ is of Māori descent. Information on descent relates to biological ancestry and provides a useful addition or alternative to ethnicity in measuring the status of Māori in the labour market.

Question:

“Are you descended from Māori?”

Output categories:

  • Yes
  • No
  • Don’t know
  • Refused.

5. Country of birth

Description: Country of birth of all individuals aged 15+

Topic type: Existing (updated)

The country of birth is based on the New Zealand Standard Classification of Countries. This information can be used to investigate differing labour market outcomes for people born in New Zealand and those who are not.

Changes:

Country of birth was previously collected for all household members, including children. Now, country of birth is asked only of individuals who are 15+, and have answered “No” to “Were you born in New Zealand?”

Question:

“What country were you born in?”

Output categories:

  • A text response is collected and coded in the questionnaire using a ‘lookup’ (NZSCC4N99 V12.0), which is a three-level classification that includes nine continental regions, 27 sub-regions, and 237 individual countries.

6. Years in New Zealand (for non-NZ born)

Description: Number of years since arriving in New Zealand for all household members over 15 years

Topic type: Existing (updated)

The number of years a person has been living in New Zealand if they were not born here. This information is collected about all members of the household who are 15+.

Changes:

Years living in New Zealand was previously collected for all household members, including children, using the question “How many years have you lived in New Zealand?” The new version calculates years in New Zealand from year of arrival. This is only asked of respondents who answered “No” to “Were you born in New Zealand?” and then provided their country of birth.

Question:

“What year did you first arrive in New Zealand to live?”

Output categories for years in New Zealand:

  • 0–97 years

7. Geographical area

Description: Regional council area and urban/rural area

Topic type: Existing and new

Geographical variables are attached to the household records, based on the location of the dwelling, and are not asked of respondents in the questionnaire. A new derivation describing the rural/urban areas has been added.

Output categories for region:

  • Northland region
  • Auckland region
  • Waikato region
  • Bay of Plenty region
  • Gisborne / Hawke’s Bay region
  • Taranaki region
  • Manawatu-Wanganui region
  • Wellington region
  • Nelson / Tasman / Marlborough / West Coast region
  • Canterbury region
  • Otago region
  • Southland region.

Output categories for urban/rural:

  • Main urban areas
  • Secondary urban areas
  • Minor urban areas
  • Rural centres
  • Rural areas
  • Outlying islands.

8. Household relationships

Description: Relationship of all household members to each other

Topic type: Existing (updated outputs)

We collect the relationship of each household member to every other household member. This data is used to produce family and household output statistics. We derive a number of indicators of relationships within a family nucleus and from these indicators we produce the family code variable. A household composition variable is also derived. We also include the standard family-nucleus derived variables that are now available in all household surveys.

Output categories for family code are:

  • Parent, first family
  • Child, first family
  • Parent, second family
  • Child, second family
  • Parent, third family
  • Child, third family
  • Member of fourth or subsequent family
  • Non family member
  • One-person household.

Output categories for household composition are:

  • Couple only
  • Couple only and other(s)
  • Couple with one dependent child
  • Couple with two dependent children
  • Couple with three or more dependent children
  • Couple with dependent and adult children
  • Couple with adult child(ren) only
  • Couple with dependent child(ren) and other(s)
  • Couple with adult child(ren) only and other(s)
  • One parent with dependent child(ren) only
  • One parent with dependent and adult children
  • One parent with adult child(ren) only
  • One parent with dependent child(ren) and other(s)
  • One parent with adult child(ren) only and other(s)
  • One-person household
  • Other household
  • Household composition unidentifiable.

9. Household tenure

Description: Whether the dwelling occupied by the surveyed household is owned or held in family trust by any member of the household

Topic type: New

This topic collects information about whether anyone living in the household holds the dwelling in a family trust or whether anyone living in the household owns or partly owns the dwelling.

Questions:

“Do you, or anyone else, hold this house/address in a family trust?”
“Do you or anyone else, own or partly own this house/address?” (This can be with or without a mortgage.)

Output categories:

  • Dwelling owned or partly owned
  • Dwelling not owned and not held in a family trust
  • Dwelling held in a family trust
  • Not specified.

Content on labour market characteristics

1. Labour force status

Description: Labour force status of those aged 15 and over (15+)

Topic type: Existing (updated)

Labour force status classifies the population into three mutually exclusive groups, based on their economic activity in the week prior to the interview. The three groups are: employed, unemployed, and not in the labour force. The priority rules and definitions for grouping the population into these groups conform closely to the international standard definitions specified by the International Labour Organisation.

Changes:

Actively seeking work criteria

A person must be actively seeking work and available to work in the reference week to be classified as unemployed. ’Actively seeking work’ means an individual must use job search methods other than looking at job advertisements – for example, contacting a potential employer or employment agency. Previously, responses that specified using the internet to seek work were captured in an ‘other’ category and consequently classified as ‘active seeking’.

The updated HLFS deals with using the internet, and other electronic job search methods such as social media, differently – looking at job advertisements is ’passive’ regardless of the medium used.

Effectively this is a break in the time-series for unemployed people and people not in the labour force. We will revisit the historical data with an eye towards backdating this change. Note that this means any series that includes labour force status is potentially affected.

Questions:

“Last week, did you do any of the following?

  • Some work in your own business?
  • Some work in a paid job?
  • Some unpaid work in a family business?”

“Last week did you have a job that you were away from?”
“Have you got a job that you will definitely be starting within the next four weeks?”
“If a job had been available, could you have started work last week?”
“At any time in the last four weeks have you been looking for paid work?”
“In the last four weeks did you do any of the following to find work:

  • Look at job advertisements?
  • Contact an employer?
  • Contact an employment agency?
  • Contact Work and Income about a job?
  • Contact friends or relatives about a job?
  • Take steps to set up a business?
  • Something else to find work?”

Response options for all the questions above are:

  • Yes
  • No
  • Don’t know
  • Refuse.

Output categories:

  • Employed
  • Unemployed
  • Not in labour force.

2. Underutilisation

Description: Underutilisation of labour

Topic type: Existing (updated)

Underutilisation measures the unmet need for employment among the population. By combining information on unemployment, underemployment, and potential labour force, we can produce an estimate of the underutilisation of labour.

The underutilised labour force includes the unemployed labour force, the underemployed labour force, and the potential labour force.

  • The unemployed are those who were not employed in the reference week, but were actively seeking and were available for work.
  • The underemployed are those who were employed part-time in the reference week, wanted to work more hours, and were available to do so.
  • Potential labour force is defined as all persons of working age who, during the short reference period, were neither in employment nor in unemployment and: 
    • carried out activities to ‘seek employment’, were not ’currently available’ but would become available within a short subsequent period established in the light of national circumstances (ie unavailable jobseekers) or
    • did not carry out activities to ’seek employment’, but wanted employment and were ’currently available’ (ie available potential jobseekers).

Changes:

A new question was added for people ‘not seeking’, asking whether they want a job.

Output categories:

  • Underemployed
  • Unemployed
  • Not in the labour force – not actively seeking but available and wanting a job
  • Not in the labour force – actively seeking but not currently available, but available in the next 4 weeks.

3. Not in employment, education, or training (NEET)

Description: Not in employment, education, or training

Topic type: Existing (updated)

Identifies 15–24-year-olds who are inactive (ie not in work or education/training). Combines a range of information about the activities of 15–24-year-olds to derive their NEET status.

Changes:

The measure may be affected by changes to the questions used to determine education status and caregiving status.

Output categories:

  • Employed, in education
  • Employed, not in education
  • Employed, education not specified
  • Unemployed, in education
  • Unemployed, not in education
  • Unemployed, education not specified
  • Not in the labour force, in education
  • Not in the labour force, not in education – care giving 
  • Not in the labour force, not in education – no care giving
  • Not in the labour force, education not specified.

4. Job search methods

Description: Methods used to look for a job

Topic type: Existing (updated)

This topic covers the methods used by respondents to look for work in the last four weeks.

Changes:

The redeveloped HLFS has broader categories for job searching, which better reflect current methods of seeking employment. They will also maintain relevance as new job search methods arise. For example, the previous option of ‘looked at job advertisements in newspapers’, which was losing relevance as more people look online for job advertisements, is updated to now say ‘look at job advertisements’.

Questions:

“In the last four weeks did you do any of the following to find work:

  • look at job advertisements?
  • contact an employer?
  • contact an employment agency?
  • contact Work and Income about a job?
  • contact friends or relatives about a job?
  • take steps to set up a business?
  • something else to find work?”

Output variables:

  • Looked at job advertisements
  • Contacted an employer
  • Contacted an employment agency
  • Contacted Work and Income about a job
  • Contacted friends or relatives about a job
  • Taken steps to set up a business
  • Did something else to find work.

Output categories:

  • Yes
  • No
  • Don’t know
  • Refuse.

Content on employment characteristics

1. Multiple jobholders

Description: Indicator of holding more than one job during the reference week

Topic type: New

People are categorised as a multiple job holder if they have two or more jobs concurrently during the reference week, or if they state they do more than one type of work.

Respondents are asked the question or questions below that are appropriate for their previous responses.

Questions:

“Last week, how many businesses did you have?”
“How many paid jobs did you have last week?”
“How many family businesses did you work in last week?”

Output values:

  • Single job holder
  • Multiple job holder
  • Multiple job holder status unknown.

2. Actual hours worked

Description: Number of hours employed people actually work per week

Topic type: Existing (updated)

This topic collects information on the number of hours a respondent actually worked in the reference period, as well as the number of hours they usually work per week. Hours of work data is available for main job, second job, other jobs, and all jobs combined. Hours worked is a key labour market variable.

Change:

We now ask for average hours for the people whose number of hours worked are different each week.

Questions:

“In a typical week, how many hours do you usually work in that job/business?”
“Last week, how many hours did you work in that job?”

Output variables and values: One variable for each of: main job, second job, other jobs, and total jobs for usual hours and actual hours. Hours recorded are 0 to 168.

3. Full-time / part-time status

Description: Full-time / part-time status of the employed

Topic type: Existing

Employed individuals are classified as being in full-time employment if they usually work a total of 30 hours or more per week in all jobs. Part-time employment is defined as usually working less than 30 hours per week in all jobs. Full-time / part-time status is a key labour market variable in distinguishing between different types of employment.

Output values:

  • Full-time
  • Part-time.

4. Worked same hours as usual

Description: Worked same hours as usually work

Topic type: Existing (updated)

Indicates whether the respondent worked the same number of hours in the week prior to interview as they usually work. Available for main job, second job, and other jobs.

Change:

This was previously only asked at the total level.

Output values:

  • fewer hours
  • same number of hours
  • more hours
  • Don’t know
  • Refuse.

5. Main reason for working fewer hours

Description: Main reason for people working less than their usual hours

Topic type: Existing (updated)

For people who worked fewer than their usual hours in the week prior to interview, what was the main reason? This is collected separately for main, second, and other jobs held.

Changes:

Previously, the HLFS asked for the main reason for not working usual hours; we now ask for the main reason that fewer hours than usual were worked.

The list of reasons collected in the HLFS was reviewed, updated, and reduced from ten to seven named categories plus ’Other’. We completely removed these categories: Overtime; Industrial dispute; Casual work / on call / seasonal / relieving; and Changed / terminated job. We removed these partial categories: Mechanical breakdown, Temporary layoff, and Demands of job. We added ’Studying / attending training’ as a new category for this topic.

Question:

“What is the main reason you worked fewer hours?”

Output categories:

  • Holidays
  • Own sickness / illness / injury
  • Personal / family reasons
  • Not enough work available
  • Bad weather
  • Flexi time / shift work / rostered work
  • Studying / attending training
  • Other – please state
  • Not specified.

6. Preference for working more hours and underemployment

Description: Visible (time-related) underemployment

Topic type: Existing (updated)

Visible or time-related underemployment measures the number of people who are employed part-time but would like to work more hours than they usually do, and are available to start working those extra hours within the next four weeks. We ask questions on what actions they took to get more hours. Information is collected for all employed individuals who usually work less than 50 hours per week about their preference to work more hours, availability to do so, how many hours they would like to work, and methods used to get more hours. This will provide flexibility in the types of measures we can produce and help ensure international comparability.

Changes:

Information is asked of all people who were employed in the reference week and usually work less than 50 hours per week. Previously those who said they would like to work more hours were asked, “If more hours had been made available last week would you have worked them?” Now instead, they will be asked, “If you got more hours, could you start working those extra hours within the next four weeks?”

Questions:

“Would you like to work more hours?”
“How many hours in total would you like to work?”
“If you got more hours, could you start working those extra hours within the next four weeks?”
“In the last four weeks did you do any of the following to try and get more hours work:

  • Look at advertisements?
  • Ask your employer for extra hours?
  • Contact another employer?
  • Contact an employment agency?
  • Contact friends or relatives about a job?
  • Something else to try and get more work?”

Output categories for underemployment:

  • Underemployed – actively seeking
  • Underemployed – not actively seeking
  • Underemployed – seeking not specified
  • Not underemployed – employed part-time
  • Not underemployed – employed full-time
  • Underemployment not specified
  • Hours wanted.

7. Main reason not working more hours

Description: Main reason for people who want to work more hours not working more hours

Topic type: Existing (updated)

If people indicate they would prefer to work more hours per week than they usually do, what is their main reason for not doing so? This information is collected from people who are employed and work less than 50 hours per week.

Changes:

We reviewed and updated the list of reasons collected in the HLFS. Previously there were separate categories for ’not enough suitable full-time work’ and ’not enough suitable part-time work’. These are combined into one category.

The category ’permanent injury / disability’ is replaced by ’own sickness / illness / injury / disability’. We removed ’financial consideration’.

’Studying or training’ and ’weather conditions’ are new categories.

Questions:

“Would you like to work more hours?”
“What is the main reason you work fewer hours than that?”

Output categories:

  • Difficulty finding suitable childcare
  • Other family responsibilities
  • Own sickness / illness / injury / disability
  • Studying or training
  • Not enough work available
  • Weather conditions
  • Other reason – please state
  • Not specified.

8. Methods used to get more hours of work

Description: Activities people engaged in to get more hours of work

Topic type: Existing (updated)

If people indicate they would prefer to work more hours per week than they usually do, what methods have they used to try to get more hours of work? This information is collected from people who are employed and work less than 50 hours per week.

Questions:

“In the last four weeks did you do any of the following to try and get more hours work:

  • look at job advertisements?
  • ask your employer for extra hours
  • contact another employer?
  • contact an employment agency?
  • contact friends or relatives about a job?
  • something else to try and get more work?”

Output variables:

  • Looked at job advertisements
  • Asked employer for more hours
  • Contacted another employer
  • Contacted an employment agency
  • Contacted friends or relatives about a job
  • Did something else to try and get more hours.

Output categories:

  • Yes
  • No
  • Don’t know
  • Refuse.

9. Days of week worked

Description: The days worked in week prior to interview.

Topic type: New

The days of the week worked in each of main, second, and other jobs.

Question:

“Starting with Sunday, which days of the week did you work in that business/job?

  • Monday to Friday
  • Sunday
  • Monday
  • Tuesday
  • Wednesday
  • Thursday
  • Friday
  • Saturday
  • Didn't work last week
  • Don’t know
  • Refuse.”

Output variables:

  • Days of the week worked in main job
  • Days of the week worked in second job
  • Days of the week worked in other job(s).

Output categories:

  • The combination of days worked
  • Didn’t work last week
  • Not specified.

10. Why away from work last week

Description: The main reason for being away from work in week prior to interview.

Topic type: Existing (updated)

The main reason the respondent was away from work in the week prior to interview.

Questions:

“Last week did you have a business or job that you were away from because of sickness, holidays, or some other reason?”
“What was the main reason you were away?

  • holidays
  • own sickness / illness / injury
  • personal / family reasons
  • not enough work available 
  • bad weather
  • flexi time / shift work / rostered work
  • studying / attending training
  • other – please state
  • Don’t know
  • Refuse.”

Output categories:

  • Holidays
  • Own sickness / illness / injury
  • Personal / family reasons
  • Not enough work available
  • Bad weather
  • Flexi time / shift work / rostered work
  • Studying / attending training
  • Other
  • Don’t know
  • Refused.

11. Involuntary temporary employment and self-employment

Description: Preference for change from temporary employment relationship or self-employment

Topic type: New

This topic collects information on whether those people in temporary employment relationships or self-employment would prefer a permanent employment relationship.

Questions:

If the respondent has more than one job or business, we ask these questions about their main job or business. They are asked the version of the question appropriate to responses already given about their employment status.

“Would you prefer to continue working in your own business, or would you prefer a paid job working for someone else?”

  • Continue working in own business
  • Work for someone else.

“Would you prefer to continue being self-employed, or would you prefer a paid job working for someone else?”

  • Continue being self-employed
  • Work for someone else.

“Would you prefer to have a job that is ongoing, or would you prefer to continue doing seasonal work?”

  • Prefer ongoing
  • Prefer seasonal.

“Would you prefer to have a permanent job, or would you prefer to continue working fixed term / casual / short-term job?”

  • Prefer permanent job
  • Prefer fixed term / casual / short-term job.

Content on job characteristics

1. Employment status (main job)

Description: Employment status in main job

Topic type: Existing (updated)

The employment status of people in their main job. This topic groups the employed population into four distinct groups: paid employees, employers, self-employed (but not employing others), working without pay in a family business.

Questions:

“Would you usually work the most hours in your own business, a paid job, or in an unpaid job in a family business?”
“Last week were you employing others in that business?”

Output categories:

  • Paid employee
  • Employer
  • Self-employed and without employees
  • Unpaid family worker
  • Not stated.

2. Employment status (second job)

Description: Employment status in second job

Topic type: New

The employment status of multiple jobholders in their second job.

Questions:

“Thinking now about the remaining paid jobs, businesses and unpaid jobs in a family business last week. Out of those, which one would you usually work the most hours in?
“Last week were you employing others in that business?”

Output categories:

  • Paid employee
  • Employer
  • Self-employed and without employees
  • Unpaid family worker
  • Not stated.

3. Employment status in last job (September quarter only)

Description: Employment status in last job

Topic type: Existing

The previous employment status of people who are not currently employed but who worked within the last five years. We ask this question once a year in the September quarter.

Questions:

“Were you self-employed, working for an employer, or working unpaid in a family business?”
“Did you employ other people?”

Output categories:

4. Industry (main job)

Description: Industry in which people are employed in their main job

Topic type: Existing

The industry in which people are employed based on the main activity of the workplace of their main job. Industry data is based on the Australian and New Zealand Standard Industrial Classification, 2006.

Questions:

“What is the name of that business?”
“What is the address of that business?”
“What was the main activity of that business / employer?”

Output categories:

  • agriculture, forestry, and fishing
  • mining
  • manufacturing
  • electricity, gas, water, and waste services
  • construction
  • wholesale trade
  • retail trade
  • accommodation and food services
  • transport, postal, and warehousing
  • information media and telecommunications
  • financial and insurance services
  • rental, hiring, and real estate services
  • professional, scientific, and technical services
  • administrative and support services
  • public administration and safety
  • education and training
  • health care and social assistance
  • arts and recreation services
  • other services
  • not elsewhere included.

5. Industry (second job)

Description: Industry in which multiple jobholders are employed in their second job

Topic type: New

The industry in which multiple jobholders are employed in their second job, based on the main activity of the workplace of their second job.

Output categories:

6. Industry of last job (September quarter only)

Description: Industry of last job

Topic type: Existing

The industry in which people held their last job if they are not currently employed but have worked within the last five years. We ask this question once a year in the September quarter. Industry of last job is derived from last employer details.

Output categories:

7. Occupation (main job)

Description: Occupation in which people are employed in their main job

Topic type: Existing

The occupation in which people are currently employed based on the tasks and duties in their main job. Occupation data is based on the Australian and New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations.

Questions:

“What was your occupation in that business / job / family business?”
“What were your main tasks and duties?”

Output categories:

  • managers
  • professionals
  • technicians and trades workers
  • community and personal service workers
  • clerical and administrative workers
  • sales workers
  • machinery operators and drivers
  • labourers
  • residual categories (operational codes only).

8. Occupation (second job)

Description: Occupation in which multiple jobholders are employed in their second job

Topic type: New

The occupation in which people are currently employed, based on the tasks and duties in their second job.

Output categories:

9. Occupation of last job (September quarter)

Description: Occupation of last job

Topic type: Existing

The occupation in which people last worked if they are not currently employed but they have worked within the last five years. Occupation data is based on the Australian and New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations. We ask this question once a year in the September quarter.

Output categories:

10. Employment relationship (main job)

Description: Employment relationship of employees

Topic type: New

Employment relationship distinguishes between different types of employees, according to whether they have a permanent or temporary work arrangement (and what type of temporary work arrangement).

Questions:

“Is that job a permanent job?”
“Are you on a fixed-term contract?”
“Are you working just until a task or project is finished?”
“Were you hired to temporarily replace another worker?”
“Are you paid by, or through, an employment agency?”
“Is that job a casual job?”
“Is that job a seasonal job?”

Output categories:

  • Permanent employee
  • Casual employee
  • Temporary agency employee
  • Fixed term employee
  • Seasonal employee – permanent
  • Seasonal employee – temporary
  • Temporary employee, type of employment agreement not further specified
  • Not stated.

11. Job tenure (main job)

Description: Length of time employed in current main job

Topic type: New

The length of time people have been engaged in employment in their current main job or business.

Question:

“How long have you worked for …?” or “How long have you been self-employed?”

Output categories:

  • Less than 1 month
  • 1 month to less than 6 months
  • 6 months to less than 1 year
  • 1 year to less than 3 years
  • 3 years to less than 5 years
  • 5 years to less than 10 years
  • 10 years or more
  • Not specified
  • Number of weeks worked.

12. Type of employment agreement (main job)

Description: Type of employment agreement employees have in main job

Topic type: New

This topic collects information on what type of employment agreement employees have in their main job.

Questions:

“Do you have a written employment agreement?” If yes, then:
“Is that an individual agreement that only applies to you, or is it a collective agreement?”

Output categories:

  • Individual agreement
  • Collective agreement
  • Don’t know
  • Refuse.

13. Union membership (main job)

Description: Whether an employee belongs to a union in their main job

Topic type: New

This topic collects information on whether an employee belongs to a union in their main job.

Question:

“In that job are you a member of a union?”

Output categories:

  • Yes
  • No
  • Don’t know
  • Refuse.

Content on educational characteristics

1. Highest secondary school qualification

Description: Highest secondary school qualification held

Topic type: Existing (updated)

The highest secondary school qualification held by people 15 years and over.

Changes:

The list of secondary school qualifications was reviewed and has minor updates.

Question:

“What is your highest completed secondary school qualification?”

Output categories:

  • NZ School Certificate / NCEA Level 1
  • NZ Sixth Form Certificate / NCEA Level 2 / NZ University Entrance before 1986
  • NZ Higher School Certificate / NZ A or B Bursary or Scholarship / NCEA Level 3 / NZ University Entrance from 1986
  • Other NZ school qualification
  • Overseas secondary school qualification
  • Not specified.

2. Post-school qualifications

Description: All post-school qualifications held and when they were obtained

Topic type: Existing (updated) and new

All post-school qualifications held by people of working-age and the year each qualification was completed.

Changes:

We reviewed and updated the categories. We collect date of completion for each post-school qualification, and derive number of years since qualification obtained.

We also now collect information on each formal qualification (ie, takes longer than three months full-time study), so we may collect information on more than one qualification at the same level from respondents. For example, if a person has two bachelor’s degrees, previously we would have noted they had a qualification at that level. We will now know how many qualifications at that level are held, and the year each was completed.

Questions:

“What is the name of that qualification?”
“And in what year did you complete that qualification?”

Output categories for type of qualification:

  • Certificate/diploma Level 1
  • Certificate/diploma Level 2
  • Certificate/diploma Level 3
  • Certificate/diploma Level 4
  • Trade certificate
  • Certificate/diploma Level 5
  • Advanced trade certificate
  • Certificate/diploma Level 6
  • Bachelor’s degree/graduate certificate/diploma (Level 7)
  • Bachelor’s degree with Honours/Postgraduate certificate/diploma (Level 8)
  • Master’s degree (Level 9)
  • PhD or other doctorate degree (Level 10)
  • Certificate/diploma level unknown
  • Other New Zealand qualification
  • Other overseas qualification
  • Post-school qualification not specified.

3. Highest qualification

Description: Highest qualification held

Topic type: Existing (updated)

The highest qualification held by all working-age people.

Changes:

The categories were reviewed and updated.

Output categories for highest qualification:

  • NZ School Certificate / NCEA Level 1
  • NZ Sixth Form Certificate / NCEA Level 2 / NZ University Entrance before 1986
  • NZ Higher School Certificate / NZ A or B Bursary or Scholarship / NCEA Level 3 / NZ University Entrance from 1986
  • Other New Zealand school qualification
  • Overseas secondary school qualification
  • Certificate/diploma Level 1
  • Certificate/diploma Level 2
  • Certificate/diploma Level 3
  • Certificate/diploma Level 4
  • Trade certificate
  • Certificate/diploma Level 5
  • Advanced trade certificate
  • Certificate/diploma Level 6
  • Bachelor’s degree/graduate certificate/diploma (Level 7)
  • Bachelor’s degree with Honours/Postgraduate certificate/diploma (Level 8)
  • Master’s degree (Level 9)
  • PhD or other doctorate degree (Level 10)
  • Certificate/diploma level unknown
  • Other New Zealand qualification
  • Other overseas qualification.

4. Participation in education and training

Description: Participation in education and training

Topic type: Existing (updated) and new

This topic collects information on whether respondents are currently participating in study (either school or post-school) and, for post-school only, whether it is formal or informal study.

Changes:

Clarification of the formal/informal distinction. We now ask people under 20 years if they are still at school. New variable is derived for whether they’re studying or not.

Questions:

“Last week were you doing any study or training?”
“Were you working towards a qualification?”
“If you are studying full-time, will the qualification take at least 3 months in total to complete?” 
(Note: full-time is 20 hours a week or more)
“Can I just check, are you still at secondary school?”

Output categories for currently in study:

  • Yes
  • No
  • Don’t know
  • Refuse.

Output categories for study status (post-school):

  • Study – formal
  • Study – not formal
  • Studying – formal status not specified
  • Not studying
  • Study status not specified.  

Content on people not in employment

1. Availability for work in next four weeks

Description: Whether an individual would be available to start work in next four weeks

Topic type: Existing

This topic asks individuals who were not employed in the reference week, and who were not available to start work in the reference week, if they would be available to start work in the next four weeks. This information is used in the underutulisation measure.

Question:

“If a job was available, could you start work within the next four weeks?”

Output categories:

  • Yes
  • No
  • Don’t know
  • Refuse.

2. Desire to work

Description: Whether an individual wants a job

Topic type: New

This topic collects information on whether individuals who are not employed and not seeking work would like to work. This information is used in the measure of underutilisation.

Question:

“Although you are not currently looking for work, would you like to have a paid job?”

Output categories:

  • Yes
  • No
  • Don’t know
  • Refuse.

3. Main reason not available for work last week

Description: Main reason people were unavailable to start work

Topic type: Existing (updated)

This topic collects information on the main reason people who had looked for work in the last four weeks, or had a job to start within the next four weeks, were not available to start work in the reference week. Must answer ‘No’ to question about availability for this to be collected.

Changes:

We reviewed and updated the list of reasons collected in the HLFS. The previous category ’temporary illness or injury’ is expanded to include sickness and disability, and clarified as ’own’. ’Personal or family responsibilities’ is now divided into two separate categories – ‘looking after children’ can be collected independently of ’other family responsibilities’. ’Attending educational institution’ is simplified to ’study or training’.

Questions:

“If a job had been available could you have started work last week?” If ‘No’ then:
“What is the main reason you couldn’t have started [work] last week?”

Output categories:

  • Own sickness / illness / injury / disability
  • Study or training
  • Looking after children
  • Other family responsibilities
  • Other
  • Not specified.

4. Main reason not looking for work

Description: Main reason people are not looking for work

Topic type: Existing (updated)

The main reason people who are not in the labour force have not looked for work in the four weeks prior to the survey. This is only asked of people who stated they would like to have a paid job even though they are not currently looking.

Changes:

Previously we only asked this information of those who stated they had not looked for work in the four weeks prior to the survey, and if a job was offered, they would have been available to start last week or within the next four weeks. Now we’ll ask this question of all respondents who had not looked in the previous four weeks but state they would like to have a paid job.

We reviewed and updated the list of reasons for not looking for work, and considered the list in relation to the ’Main activity last week’ question – to ensure respondents do not feel we’re asking the same question twice. We added the ‘retired’ category here and removed it from ‘main activity’.

Question:

“Is there any particular reason why you haven’t been looking for work recently?”

Output categories:

  • Retired
  • Studying or training
  • Don’t need to work
  • Own sickness / illness / injury / disability
  • Looking after children
  • Looking after others
  • There is no work available
  • Lack of skills / experience / qualifications
  • Too young / too old
  • Other
  • Don’t know
  • Refuse.

5. Main reason job not wanted

Description: Main reason respondent does not want a job

Topic type: New

The main reason that people who are not in the labour force and not looking for a job do not want to work.

Questions:

“Although you are not currently looking for work, would you like to have a paid job?” If ‘No’ then: “Why is that?” [If necessary: “What would the main reason be?”]

Output categories:

  • Retired
  • Studying or training
  • Don't need to work
  • Own sickness / illness / injury / disability
  • Looking after children
  • Looking after others
  • Other
  • Don’t know
  • Refuse.

6. Intention to look for work

Description: Intention to look for work for those not currently seeking

Topic type: Existing (updated)

This topic collects information on whether people who have not looked for work in the previous four weeks, and who do not have a job to start within the next four weeks, intend to look for work within the next two years. In addition, if they do intend to look in the next two years, will that be within the next three months, in three months to a year’s time, or in over a year’s time. This is not asked of respondents who state they are retired in previous questions.

Changes:

We reviewed the categories and made minor changes. ‘Within 12 months’ was previously ’3 months to 1 year’, and ‘in more than a year’s time’ was ‘over 1 year’.

Questions:

“Do you intend to look for work within the next two years?”
“When do you think you will start looking for work? Will it be:

  • within the next 3 months?
  • within the next 12 months?
  • in more than a year’s time?”

Output categories:

  • Within three months
  • Within 12 months
  • In more than a year’s time
  • Don’t know
  • Refuse.

7. Duration of unemployment

Description: Number of weeks that unemployed people have been looking for work

Topic type: Existing (updated)

This topic collects information on the number of weeks unemployed people have been looking for work. This lets us measure both short-term and long-term unemployment. We also ask those who were seeking work but were not available in the reference week for information.

Change:

We also collect this information from unemployed people who had a job to start in four weeks or less (the ‘future starters’).

Questions:

“How long have you been looking for work”, or
“Before getting a job, how long were you looking for work?” if the person has a job to start in the next four weeks.

Output categories:

  • 1–4 weeks
  • 5–8 weeks
  • 9–13 weeks
  • Less than 3 months – not further specified
  • 3–6 months
  • Over 6 months–1 year
  • Less than a year – not further specified
  • Over 1 year
  • Didn't look for work
  • Not specified
  • Number of weeks (for those looking less than 3 months)
  • Number of months (for those looking less than 1 year but more than 3 months)
  • Number of years (for those looking for longer than 1 year).

8. Length of time since last worked

Description: Length of time since last worked – for those not currently employed

Topic type: Existing (updated)

This topic identifies the length of time since they last worked – for people who are not employed in the reference week.

Changes:

We reviewed the categories used to capture and output information and now have two categories for less than a year (previously only one), and only one category for over 10 years (previously two).

Question:

“How long is it since you last worked in a job or business?”

Output categories:

  • Never worked
  • Less than 3 months
  • 3 months – 1 year
  • Over 1 year – 2 years
  • Over 2 years – 5 years
  • Over 5 years – 10 years
  • Over 10 years
  • Not specified.

9. Main reason for leaving last job

Description: Main reason for leaving last job – for those not currently employed

Topic type: Existing (updated)

This topic collects information about the main reason people left their last job, if they are not currently employed but had been employed within the last five years. This can help distinguish voluntary reasons for leaving a job from involuntary reasons.

Changes:

We reviewed and updated the current list of reasons collected in the HLFS. For most output categories the wording has changed, but the general idea is similar to the previous version. We removed the category ’Travel / took a holiday / resigned to have a break’.

Question:

“What was the main reason you stopped working?”

Output categories:

  • Retired
  • Parental / family responsibilities
  • End of temporary / seasonal / contract job
  • Own sickness / illness / injury
  • Made redundant / laid off / business closed
  • Enrolled in education / training
  • Moved location
  • Dissatisfied with job / conditions
  • Other
  • Don’t know
  • Refuse.

10. Main activity of those not in the labour force

Description: Main activity in the reference week for those not in the labour force

Topic type: Existing (updated)

This topic collects information on the main activity of people not in the labour force in the week prior to the survey.

Changes:

We reviewed, updated, and increased the list of activities collected in the HLFS to better capture the range of main activities. We moved the category ’Retired’ from this topic to the ’Reason not looking for work’ topic. ’At home not looking after children’ was removed.

We added six new categories: Free-time activities, looking after an adult, Household work for own household, Household work for someone else, Voluntary work, and Own care due to sickness/injury/disability.

We now collect information from all individuals who are not in the labour force. Previously people who had sought work in the previous four weeks, or who had a job to start in four weeks or less but were not available in the reference week, were not asked about their main activity.

Question:

“Last week, what was your main activity?”

Output categories:

  • Looking after a child
  • Looking after an adult
  • Household work for own household
  • Household work for someone else
  • Voluntary work
  • Study or training
  • Free-time activities
  • Own care due to sickness / injury / disability
  • Other
  • Don’t know
  • Refuse.

Content on income (collected annually)

Some New Zealand Income Survey (NZIS) content has been integrated into the HLFS and will be collected annually in the June quarter.

Income from employment and from government transfers will now be collected in the HLFS.

Income from private transfers and investments (other private income), which was previously available in the NZIS, will now only be collected in the Household Economic Survey (HES). This means HES is now the only comprehensive measure of total income.

The main changes for employment income are:

  • Extra pay (eg overtime, bonuses, commission) is now collected as a single figure, rather than separating the components.
  • There is more flexibility in the questionnaire for reporting self-employment income.
  • We collect self-employment income from all people – regardless of the time spent self-employed (previously we only collected income details for people self-employed for more than a year).
  • Frequency of pay will be collected for all respondents.
  • Respondents can report an after-tax value for their latest pay, which we rate-up to their before-tax income.

The main changes for government transfers are:

  • People receiving NZ Superannuation or a veteran’s pension report their pension payment together with any supplementary payment(s) from Work and Income.
  • ‘Inland Revenue payments received’ is an overall yes/no indicator – rather than a yes/no indicator on each payment type. Income will continue to be collected as the total amount received from Inland Revenue.
  • ‘Work and Income payments received’ is an overall yes/no indicator – rather than a yes/no indicator on each payment type. Income will continue to be collected as the total amount received from Work and Income.

Because the income content is now integrated into the HLFS questionnaire, the same eligibility and proxy rules apply as for the HLFS.

1. Earnings from employment (June quarter only)

Description: Weekly and hourly earnings from employment

Topic type: Previously collected in NZIS

This topic collects information on the weekly and hourly earnings from employment (wages or salaries and self-employment income) for all respondents employed at the interview time. Respondents can choose whether to talk about their income as an annual salary, hourly rate, latest pay, or profit or loss.

We make calculations to determine weekly and hourly income from main job or business, and where applicable, from second job or business. In cases with income from a second job or business, total earnings are also calculated – by adding together main and second earnings.

Output variables:

  • Main job regular weekly income
  • Main job extra weekly income
  • Main job total weekly income
  • Main job weekly hours
  • Main job regular hourly rate
  • Main job total hourly rate
  • Second job regular weekly income
  • Second job extra weekly income
  • Second job total weekly income
  • Second job weekly hours
  • Second job regular hourly rate
  • Second job total hourly rate
  • Total jobs regular weekly income
  • Total jobs extra weekly income
  • Total jobs total weekly income
  • Total jobs weekly hours
  • Total jobs regular hourly rate
  • Total jobs total hourly rate.

2. Income from government transfers (June quarter only)

Description: Weekly income from government transfers

Topic type: Previously collected in NZIS

This topic collects information on weekly income from government transfers (superannuation, Inland Revenue, Work and Income, student allowance, Accident Compensation Corporation (ACC)) for all respondents receiving government transfers at the interview time.

Output variables:

  • Total weekly income from government transfers
  • Weekly income from superannuation
  • Weekly income from Inland Revenue
  • Weekly income from Work and Income (Ministry for Social Development)
  • Weekly income from student allowance
  • Weekly income from ACC.

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