Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia Survey
Data in this section are sourced from the Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia (HILDA) Survey. The HILDA Survey is a nationally representative, household-based longitudinal study of Australian households and individuals conducted in annual waves since 2001. Members of selected households who are Australian residents and aged 15 or over are invited to participate in a personal face-to-face interview. This section presents cross-sectional analyses of the 17th wave (2017). In 2017, almost 18,000 people from around 10,000 households participated in the HILDA survey.
The HILDA Survey defines disability as an impairment, long-term health condition or disability that restricts everyday activities and has lasted, or is likely to last, for 6 months or more. This is similar to the definition of disability used by the ABS' Short Disability Module (Summerfield et al. 2019; Wilkins et al. 2019).
How is remoteness defined?
The remoteness categories used in HILDA are based on the Australian Statistical Geography Standard Remoteness Area framework (Summerfield et al. 2019).
Disability group is a broad categorisation of disability. It is based on underlying health conditions and on impairments, activity limitations and participation restrictions. It is not a diagnostic grouping, nor is there a one-to-one correspondence between a health condition and a disability group.
The HILDA Survey collects information on 17 disability types, which have been combined into the following 6 disability groups:
- sensory: includes sight, hearing, and speech problems
- intellectual: includes difficulty learning or understanding things
- physical: includes difficulty breathing, blackouts, chronic pain, limited use of arms or fingers, difficulty gripping things, limited use of feet or legs, physical restrictions, and disfigurement or deformity
- psychosocial: includes nervous or emotional conditions, and mental illness
- head injury, stroke or other brain damage
- other: includes long-term conditions that are restrictive despite treatment or medication, and other long-term conditions.
People who operate their own enterprise or engage independently in a profession or trade are referred to as self-employed. In this section, self-employed people include:
- employers, who are owners of incorporated or unincorporated businesses who have one or more employees in addition to themselves
- solo self-employed people, who are owners of incorporated or unincorporated businesses without employees (Wilkins and Lass 2018).
The 13th Annual Statistical Report of the HILDA Survey (wave 1–16) reports that solo self-employed workers are more likely to have disability, work fewer hours per week and have a lower income than employers (Wilkins and Lass 2018).
One in 10 (10%) employed people with disability aged 15–64 are solo self-employed, 1 in 20 (4.6%) are employers and 17 in 20 (85%) are employees. Employed people with disability aged 15–64 are slightly more likely (10%) to be solo self-employed than those without disability (7.1%). Older employed people aged 65 and over are more likely to be solo self-employed, especially those with disability. One-third (33%) of employed people aged 65 and over with disability are solo self-employed, compared with around one-quarter (24%) of those without disability (DSS and MIAESR 2019).
Of employed people aged 15–64 with disability:
- females are more likely (89%) to be employees than males (82%)
- those with intellectual disability are more likely (96%) to be employees than those with sensory disability (84%) or physical disability (83%) (DSS and MIAESR 2019).
Employment contract types
This section distinguishes between 3 employment contract types:
- permanent contracts, defined as employment on an ongoing or permanent basis
- fixed-term contracts, defined as employment that ends at a specified date or upon completion of a specific task
- casual employment, which usually means no assured continuity of employment, no paid leave entitlements, and a compensating pay loading (Wilkins et al. 2019).
The most common employment contract type for employees aged 15–64 with disability is permanent employment (66%), followed by casual employment (24%) and fixed-term employment (10%). This is similar for those without disability (66%, 23% and 11% respectively). Casual employment is the most common employment type for younger employees aged 15–24 with and without disability (61% and 55% respectively) (DSS and MIAESR 2019).
Of employees aged 15–64 with disability:
- females are more likely (26%) to be in casual employment than males (21%)
- those living in Major cities are more likely (68%) to have a permanent contract than those in Inner regional areas (62%), or Outer regional, remote and very remote areas (54%)
- those with psychosocial disability are more likely (33%) to be in casual employment than those with sensory or physical disability (both 22%) (DSS and MIAESR 2019).
Satisfaction with current job
In 2017, employed HILDA Survey participants were asked to rate their satisfaction with their current job on a 0–10 scale. Ten represents the highest level of satisfaction and 0 the lowest (DSS and MIAESR 2019). In this analysis, people who indicate a satisfaction level between 8 and 10 are referred to as being totally satisfied or satisfied.
More than half (54%) of employed people aged 15–64 with disability are satisfied or totally satisfied with their current job. This is lower than for people without disability, of whom 61% are satisfied or totally satisfied. Young employed people with disability aged 15–24 are least likely (47%) to be satisfied or totally satisfied, and older people aged 65 and over are most likely to be satisfied (77%). Employed people with disability aged 15–64 living in Major cities are less likely (52%) to be totally satisfied with their job than those in Inner regional areas (62%) (DSS and MIAESR 2019).
Retirement from the workforce is a major life event. HILDA collects data on the age employed people aged 45 and over plan to retire completely from the paid workforce. Most employed people aged 45–64 with disability expect to retire at age 65 or later. Forty-four per cent expect to retire at age 65–69 and 33% at age 70 or over. This is similar for people without disability (43% and 31% respectively). Males with disability are more likely to expect to retire later in life, at age 70 or over (38%), than females (28%) (DSS and MIAESR 2019).
How are commuting times measured?
Daily commute times refer to the total time spent travelling to and from work per day worked. Three commute lengths are distinguished:
- short (less than one hour per day)
- medium (at least one hour but less than 2 hours per day)
- long (2 or more hours per day) (Wilkins et al. 2019).
In addition to personal face-to-face interviews, survey participants are asked to complete a self-completion questionnaire. The questionnaire covers the amount of time people spend on a number of activities, such as paid employment and travelling to and from paid employment.
About half (51%) of employed people aged 15–64 with disability spend less than 1 hour commuting to and from work per day worked; around 3 in 10 (29%) spend 1 hour to less than 2 hours; and 2 in 10 (20%) spend 2 hours or more. This is similar for those without disability (52%, 30% and 18% respectively). Of employed people aged 15–64 with disability:
- females are more likely (56%) to have a short daily commute of less than 1 hour than males (46%)
- those in Major cities are less likely (46%) to have a short daily commute than those in Inner regional (63%), or Outer regional, remote and very remote areas (67%) (DSS and MIAESR 2019).