The Australian and New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations (ANZSCO) is the product of a development program undertaken jointly by a project team from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), StatsNZ and the then Australian Government Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations for use in the collection, publication and analysis of occupation statistics. Revisions were undertaken in 2009, 2013 and in 2019 a refresh of skill levels was conducted by the ABS and StatsNZ.
ANZSCO provides a basis for the standardised collection, analysis and dissemination of occupation data for Australia and New Zealand. The use of ANZSCO has resulted in improved comparability of occupation statistics produced by the two countries.
ANZSCO replaces the Australian Standard Classification of Occupations (ASCO) Second Edition and the New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations (NZSCO) 1999 used in Australia and New Zealand, respectively. ANZSCO is intended to provide an integrated framework for storing, organising and reporting occupation-related information in both statistical and client-oriented applications, such as matching job seekers to job vacancies and providing career information.
ANZSCO has been used in ABS and StatsNZ censuses and surveys where occupation data are collected from 2006. ANZSCO has also been progressively introduced into administrative data collections.
Background to the development of ANZSCO
In support of the Australia-New Zealand Closer Economic Relations Trade Agreement, the ABS and StatsNZ have a policy of working towards developing harmonised statistical classifications.
The benefits of developing a joint occupation classification were noted as being the ability to produce a more up-to-date, relevant and conceptually sound classification, and the improved capacity for analysis of trans-Tasman labour market data.
The development of ANZSCO commenced in 2002 as a joint project between the ABS, StatsNZ and the then Australian Government Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations.
Formal consultations with stakeholders in Australia and New Zealand were undertaken between 2002 and 2005. These consultations informed stakeholders of progress and sought their views on a number of key issues affecting the overall design and structure of ANZSCO.
Early in the development of ANZSCO, it was necessary to agree on a common basis for harmonising the classification across the two countries recognising that some restructuring, expansion and contraction of the existing classifications would be necessary. For Australian users, a high level of comparability was maintained with ASCO Second Edition, by minimising the extent to which ASCO Second Edition unit groups were split and re-aggregated when designing ANZSCO unit groups.
To assist users to understand the detailed structure and content of ANZSCO, and to assist in interpreting statistics classified to it, the following information has been provided:
- explanation of the conceptual basis of ANZSCO
- description of the principal differences between ANZSCO and ASCO Second Edition and NZSCO 1999
- explanation of the classification structure and codes
- explanation of the format of the ANZSCO occupation and group definitions
- definitions for all major, sub-major, minor and unit groups and occupations
An important consideration when developing a statistical classification is the need to build in sufficient robustness to allow for long-term usage. This robustness facilitates meaningful time series analysis of data assigned to that classification.
It is recognised that, for non-statistical uses of ANZSCO, there is a need for a classification which reflects the contemporary labour markets in Australia and New Zealand. To meet this need, minor updates to ANZSCO have been undertaken.
To minimise disruption to time series data, updates are made at the occupation and possibly the unit group level. Updates take the form of including newly-emerged occupations and/or unit groups, merging occupations and/or unit groups with other occupations and/or unit groups, deleting declining occupations and/or unit groups or changing titles or descriptions of occupations and/or unit groups.
ANZSCO Version 1.3
In 2019, the ABS and StatsNZ undertook a refresh of skill level statements in ANZSCO which focussed on updating, where necessary, the skill levels assigned to occupations. Each occupation in ANZSCO is assigned an Indicative Skill Level to reflect the range and complexity of tasks usually performed in that occupation. Skill Level is measured by the level of formal educational attainment, relevant work experience and on the job training. The term Indicative Skill Level is deliberately used throughout ANZSCO to alert users to the fact that skill level is not simply a function of formal education and that the skills possessed by workers classified to a particular occupation are not identical. Occupations are assigned a skill level ranging from Skill Level 1 (highest) to Skill Level 5 (lowest). Over time, the skills required for competent performance of occupations can change and the main purpose of the Refresh was to reflect this change.
The creation or deletion of occupations or moving occupations to a different part of the classification was out of scope of the 2019 refresh. Changes that would affect the classification's structure or conceptual basis were also out of scope.
Changes were made by way of promoting or demoting the skill level or the inclusion of a note stating that some roles within an occupation are at a higher skill level to the indicative skill level. To illustrate, some single occupation categories contain a range of jobs (ie. sets of tasks) which vary in terms of their complexity. For example, Aged and Disabled Carers is a single occupation in ANZSCO covering both carers for the aged and the disabled, with some workers requiring more and/or different skills. While there is an overlap of tasks performed by these workers there are differences which should be recognised. Because splitting occupations was out of scope, the ABS and StatsNZ agreed on the indicative skill level required for workers employed in this occupation category and added a note that some roles in that occupation would require a higher skill level. For Aged and Disabled Carers, the indicative skill level was left at Skill Level 4 but it is now noted some roles in that occupation are Skill Level 3.
Occupation registration and licensing requirements were updated for some occupations and other minor changes involved adding, deleting or changing the name of example occupation titles in the Not Elsewhere Classified occupations. This was done on the basis of occupation title responses in Australian and New Zealand Censuses. Instances of (Aus) or (NZ) appearing after an occupation title (to denote that a title applies in only one country) have been removed except where deletion is likely to cause confusion.
Coding occupation information
By themselves, the classification structure and the definitions are not intended as the primary means of assigning information about particular jobs to ANZSCO classes. Care needs to be taken when assigning information about particular jobs to ANZSCO classes because the same job titles can be used in different industries to describe different occupations (e.g. business analyst). Additionally, the titles used in ANZSCO are not an exhaustive list of all titles used by people to describe an occupation (e.g. brickie).
To consistently and reliably allocate occupation information from responses in statistical collections to the correct position in the ANZSCO structure, the minimum information required is occupation title and tasks performed. Restricted use can also be made of industry of employment and employer information when it is available.
Further information on ANZSCO can be obtained from the ABS National Information and Referral Service (1300 135 070) or firstname.lastname@example.org or StatsNZ Information Centre on 0508 525 525 or email@example.com.