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), Statistics New Zealand (Statistics NZ) and the Australian Government Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations for use in the collection, publication and analysis of occupation statistics.
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 Statistics NZ 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 Statistics NZ 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, Statistics NZ and the 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.
However, for New Zealand users, moving from NZSCO 1999 to ANZSCO will involve structural change as well as a significant increase in the number of occupations. It is acknowledged that a consequence of this will be a time series break from NZSCO 1999 at all levels of the classification.
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
- correspondence tables between ANZSCO and ASCO Second Edition and NZSCO 1999.
UPDATES TO ANZSCO
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 will be considered every two to three years.
To minimise disruption to time series data, updates will only be made at the occupation and possibly the unit group level. Updates will take the form of including newly emerging occupations and/or unit groups, merging declining occupations and/or unit groups with other occupations and/or unit groups, or changing titles of occupations and/or unit groups.
ANZSCO REVISION 1
In November 2007, representatives of the ABS, Statistics NZ and the Australian Government Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations met and agreed to undertake the first minor review of ANZSCO.
The aim of the revision was to help ensure that ANZSCO remains a contemporary reflection of the Australian and New Zealand labour markets. This aim was constrained by the need to minimise disruption to data already classified to ANZSCO.
To achieve this, the primary focus of the review was to make changes at the occupation (6-digit) level of the classification, and included the addition of new occupations and specialisations within occupations, changes to the titles of existing occupations, and amendments to definitions to update and help clarify the scope and content of certain occupations. Changes to the position of occupations within the structure were not considered because of the associated negative consequences for time-series occupation data. No changes were made to the skill level of occupations already existing in ANZSCO.
New occupations were only added where they were found to be statistically viable. That is, they met the minimum size guideline (as outlined in 'Statistical balance') and they would be able to be accurately and consistently identified in statistical surveys, censuses and administrative collections.
In the interests of maintaining data comparability at major, sub-major, minor and unit group levels, no structural changes were made to these levels. A number of title and definition changes were made to improve clarity. No new unit or minor groups were added.
The number of occupations identified in ANZSCO Revision 1 is a net increase of 16 occupations compared to ANZSCO, 28 occupations compared to ASCO Second Edition and 449 occupations compared to NZSCO 1999.
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, such as responses from statistical collections, to any level of the ANZSCO structure, the minimum information required is occupation title and task. Restricted use can also be made of industry and employer information when it is available.
To enable easier and faster coding of occupation information, the ABS and Statistics NZ have developed their own Windows-based coding systems. These coding systems are based on an index (or codefile) of responses given in ABS and Statistics NZ collections and are rule-based to ensure that coding is performed in an accurate, consistent and efficient manner. Primary importance is given to the occupation title. Extensive use is also made of main tasks performed in the job.
Further information on the ABS and Statistics NZ coding systems can be obtained from the ABS National Information and Referral Service on 1300 135 070 or Statistics NZ's Information Centre on 0508 525 525.
While the main classification structure of ANZSCO Revision 1 should be used for output covering the whole labour force, at times, it may be useful to look at alternative (or thematic) views of specific groups of occupations on the basis of the main goods and services produced or provided by an employee. Such alternative views span different parts of ANZSCO.
Alternative views are seen to be a useful adjunct to the main ANZSCO structure. Therefore, a set of alternative views has been developed to facilitate meaningful and consistent comparison of employment in various 'industry' sectors between different data sources and across time.
At this stage, alternative views have been developed for agriculture, health, culture and leisure, hospitality and tourism, and information and communication technology (ICT). These alternative views are available in electronic format from the ABS website.
This page last updated 30 June 2009