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2901.0 - Census Dictionary, 2006 (Reissue)  
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 29/10/2007  Reissue
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Contents >> Short Definitions and Classifications - 2006 >> Occupation - Characteristics 2006

Occupation

On this page:
Description
Image of Question
Classification
Quality Statement


Description

Occupation is collected in the Census for all employed people aged 15 years and over. Two questions are used in the Census:

    • 'In the main job held last week, what was the person's occupation - Give full title', and

    • 'What are the main tasks that the person usually performs in the occupation...'
Collecting both occupation title and task information ensures more accurate coding of occupations. Occupation data are essential for labour market analysis and policy formation. More Detailed Description


Image of Question

2006 Household Form - Question 38

Classification

Applicable to: Employed persons

1. Managers
2. Professionals
3. Technicians and Trades Workers
4. Community and Personal Service Workers
5. Clerical and Administrative Workers
6. Sales Workers
7. Machinery Operators and Drivers
8. Labourers

Supplementary codes:
0998 Inadequately described
&&&& Not stated
@@@@ Not applicable
VVVV Overseas visitor

Total number of categories:
one digit level 8
two digit level 51
three digit level 134
four digit level 478

More Detailed Description
Quality Statement - Occupation (OCC06P)


There are many aspects which can affect the quality of Census data; the following information should be considered when viewing data on Occupation (OCC06P).

Occupation (OCC06P) is based on the
Australian and New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations (ANZSCO) 2006 (cat. no. 1220.0), and was coded using written responses on occupation (Question 38 on the household form) and on tasks performed (Question 39). Where possible standard procedures are used to obtain an occupation code, however the level of detail provided in response to these questions, and therefore the ease with which they can be coded, varies.

The non-response rate for this variable in 2006 was 0.8% compared with 1.2% in 2001. Unlike some other census variables the non-response rate is not affected by persons who were imputed into dwellings that did not return a Census form, as the occupation variables are only applicable for persons with a labour force status of employed.

A principle of coding occupation data is to allocate responses to the most descriptive and detailed level possible, where justifiable from the information supplied. If a response was not detailed enough to allow coding to the 6-digit occupation level (or 4-, 3-, or even 2- digit levels), a Not Further Defined (nfd) code was allocated. As shown in Table 1, an improvement in detailed coding outcomes has been achieved for 2006 data in total, and across most classification levels. In 2001, 8.4% of applicable occupation records were not able to be coded to 6 digit outcomes. For 2006, 7.7% of occupation records were unable to be coded to the most detailed level.

Table 1: Quality of Occupation response coding, 2001 and 2006 (a)
level of coding
2001
2006
fully coded to ASCO2 (6 digit resolution)
91.6%
92.3%
not fully coded:
- not stated (@ 1 digit level)
1.2%
0.8%
- inadequately described (@ 1 digit level)
0.8%
1.0%
- nfd (@ 2 digit level)
1.5%
1.4%
- nfd (@ 3 digit level)
0.9%
1.0%
- nfd (@ 4 digit level)
1.5%
1.5%
- nfd (@ 6 digit level)
2.5%
2.0%
total not fully coded
8.4%
7.7%
(a) comparison based on ASCO2

2006 occupation data was coded to both ANZSCO and the Australian Standard Classification of Occupations (ASCO) 2nd edition (cat. no. 1220.0) - as used in 2001. Table 2 shows how the two classifications relate, at the Major Group level:

Table 2: Occupation: Major groups, 2006 (ASCO2 and ANZSCO)
ASCO2ANZSCO
Number of people
1 Managers and Administrators1 Managers
(97.6%) 798838
2 Professionals
19150
3 Technicians and Trades Workers
113
5 Clerical and Administrative Workers
6
total
818107
2 Professionals1 Managers
14346
2 Professionals
(97.6%) 1705987
3 Technicians and Trades Workers
2590
4 Community and Personal Service Workers
22875
5 Clerical and Administrative Workers
1497
6 Sales Workers
814
7 Machinery Operators And Drivers
107
total
1748216
3 Associate Professionals1 Managers
(35.5%) 386793
2 Professionals
80589
3 Technicians and Trades Workers
222913
4 Community and Personal Service Workers
139495
5 Clerical and Administrative Workers
193508
6 Sales Workers
67417
8 Labourers
3
total
1090718
4 Tradespersons and Related Workers1 Managers
1980
2 Professionals
89
3 Technicians and Trades Workers
(96.8%) 1066780
4 Community and Personal Service Workers
18976
5 Clerical and Administrative Workers
998
6 Sales Workers
3
7 Machinery Operators And Drivers
7143
8 Labourers
6571
total
1102540
5 Advanced Clerical and Service Workers1 Managers
4
3 Technicians and Trades Workers
1522
4 Community and Personal Service Workers
7849
5 Clerical and Administrative Workers
(92.3%) 266651
6 Sales Workers
12809
total
288835
6 Intermediate Clerical, Sales and Service Workers1 Managers
304
2 Professionals
198
3 Technicians and Trades Workers
12642
4 Community and Personal Service Workers
549422
5 Clerical and Administrative Workers
(52.7%) 809464
6 Sales Workers
158958
7 Machinery Operators And Drivers
49
8 Labourers
5787
total
1536824
7 Intermediate Production and Transport Workers3 Technicians and Trades Workers
1360
4 Community and Personal Service Workers
145
5 Clerical and Administrative Workers
22600
6 Sales Workers
666
7 Machinery Operators And Drivers
(80.7%) 594289
8 Labourers
117274
total
736334
8 Elementary Clerical, Sales and Service Workers3 Technicians and Trades Workers
1341
4 Community and Personal Service Workers
62905
5 Clerical and Administrative Workers
71081
6 Sales Workers
(76.3%) 655540
7 Machinery Operators And Drivers
2876
8 Labourers
64929
total
858672
9 Labourers and Related Workers1 Managers
3
4 Community and Personal Service Workers
240
7 Machinery Operators And Drivers
152
8 Labourers
(99.9%) 757954
total
758349


Just under 0.5% of occupation codes were automatically allocated during the Data Load phase, prior to the commencement of the main data coding process. Standard automated coding (AC) processes were then used to determine codes for a further 62.4% of all occupation responses (including where the respondent supplied no information), up from 57% in 2001. (Table 3 shows the proportion of Major Group occupations that were automatically coded in 2001 and 2006.) More complex responses were coded using clerical procedures and this accounted for the remaining 37.1% of the data. All coding processes were subject to sample checks to ensure an acceptable level of quality. Despite these checks, a clerical transcription error occurred during the early stages of processing - before all vetting systems were fully established. A small number of Program or Project Managers (386 in total) had their occupations coded to the correct ANZSCO code but the incorrect ASCO2 code (as Veterinarians). The mistake was not identified before processing was completed, and the records remain in error in ASCO2 output.

Table 3: Automated coding (AC) of stated responses for Occupation, 2001 and 2006 Census (ASCO2)
2001
2006
2006
Major Group
% coded
by AC process
% coded
by AC process
% coded by
DataLoad or AC process
Managers and Administrators
48.8
50.7
51.0
Professionals
58.6
67.1
67.4
Associate Professionals
54.7
60.3
60.6
Tradespersons and Related Workers
64.7
71.9
72.2
Advanced Clerical and Service Workers
64.6
78.1
78.2
Intermediate Clerical, Sales and Service Workers
54.5
58.6
59.0
Intermediate Production and Transport Workers
59.4
68.4
68.8
Elementary Clerical, Sales and Service Workers
63.5
66.6
66.9
Labourers and Related Workers
53.0
57.6
59.2
Inadequately Described
6.1
5.5
7.9
Total all stated
57.1
62.9
63.4


In 2006, the ASCO2 Major Groups most frequently coded automatically were 'Advanced Clerical and Service Workers', followed by 'Tradespersons and Related Workers'. Those Major Groups least likely to be coded automatically included 'Managers and Administrators' and 'Labourers and Related Workers'. The Sub-Major Groups recording the greatest improvement in automated coding results were '51: Secretaries and Personal Assistants' (an AC rate of 85%, up 22 percentage points from 2001) and '91: Cleaners' (an AC rate of 65%, up 16 percentage points from 2001).

For those records subject to clerical coding, occupations listed simply as Manager, Supervisor, Coordinator, Technician, Team Leader, Service Person, Customer Service, Installer, Labourer, IT, Analyst, and Clerks were the most difficult to classify at anything other than Major Group level.


Comparisons with other data sources

Census data can be used for the analysis of population characteristics at finer geographic levels and for smaller sub-groups than would be reliably available from household surveys. However, at small area data levels outliers (unusual results) may become more apparent to users. This becomes more probable as other data items are incorporated in the analysis, and users are reminded that almost all census data is as originally reported by the respondents. For some variable combinations, the use of interview-based, correlated survey results at a broader geographic level may therefore be more appropriate.

The table below compares occupation data from the 2006 Census at the broader Major Group with that from the August 2006 Labour Force Survey (LFS). The LFS provides Australia's official estimates of employment and unemployment, and includes quarterly information on occupation. Differences in the scope, coverage, timing, measurement of underlying labour force concepts and collection methodologies of the two collections are the major contributors to the differences in the counts of persons in different types of occupations they produce. Labour Force Survey occupation estimates are generally higher as Census data is unadjusted for underenumeration and only includes those usual residents present in Australia on Census Night. In addition Census counts are also affected by non-response (persons imputed into dwellings that do not return a Census form, as well as persons who are included on a completed form but do not respond to relevant labour force questions). Labour Force Survey estimates only include fully responding questionnaires and are adjusted to account for any non-response. (In the table below, persons for whom OCC06P was not stated have been removed to facilitate comparison). In comparing the two data sources below, the proportions of persons in each occupation category are similar at this broad level.


Table 4: Comparison of 2006 Census and Labour Force August 2006, Major Groups (a) ('000)

2006 Census (b)
Labour Force, August 2006
Occupation
Number
%
Number
%

Managers
1,202.3
13.5
1,285.9
12.6
Professionals
1,806.0
20.2
2,038.7
20.1
Technicians and Trades Workers
1,309.3
14.6
1,551.4
15.3
Community and Personal Service Workers
801.9
9.0
862.2
8.5
Clerical and Administrative Workers
1,365.8
15.3
1,603.4
15.8
Sales Workers
896.2
10.0
1,003.7
9.9
Machinery Operators And Drivers
604.6
6.8
667.5
6.6
Labourers
952.5
10.7
1,155.2
11.4
Total
8,938.6
100.0
10,168.0
100.0


(a) Using ANZSCO classification
(b) excludes inadequately described responses, and records where occupation was not stated.

The Census can provide occupation data for small geographic areas or population groups, together with a range of other characteristics. It also produces data at the 6 digit level while the LFS only produces estimates at the 4 digit level (and LFS estimates below the national level can be subject to high sample errors). However, users of Census data at this more detailed level should be mindful of the limitations of collecting information via a census self-completed paper or e-form questionnaire where the responses provided are sometimes not sufficiently detailed to obtain an appropriate occupation code, for example descriptions such as "consultant", "manager" or "clerk". The LFS is conducted via personal interviews (either face-to-face, or over the telephone) which allows interviewers to clarify concepts and questions for respondents.


Additional sources of information regarding occupation can be found in other ABS publications and associated collections, including:
  • Employee Earnings and Hours, Australia, 2006 (cat. no. 6306.0) and associated electronic products, which provides information about earnings, working hours, and methods of setting pay for employees by detailed ANZSCO 4-digit occupation;
  • Labour Force, Australia (cat. no. 6202.0) and associated electronic products in 6291.0.55.001;
  • Australian Labour Market Statistics (cat. no. 6105.0);
  • Forms of Employment, Australia (cat. no. 6359.0), released April 2007, presents information about the nature of employment arrangements in the Australian workforce. It also presents information about different types of employment which can be cross-classified by characteristics such as hours worked, industry and occupation and demographic characteristics;
  • Australian Social Trends (cat. no. 4102.0, various years) containing a variety of articles that incorporate occupation information.

Selected Theme Pages on the ABS Website may also contain links to alternative data sources that may be of relevance to users.

The ABS aims to produce high quality data from the Census. To achieve this, extensive effort is put into Census form design, collection procedures, and processing procedures. More details regarding these efforts can be found in:
All are available from the ABS Website.


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