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Occupation is collected in the Census for all employed people aged 15 years and over. Two questions are used in the Census. The first of these asks for occupation title (in main job held in the week prior to Census Night). The second asks for the main tasks usually performed by the person in their occupation. Collecting both occupation title and task information ensures more accurate coding of occupations.
Since the 1996 Census occupation data have been classified in accordance with the Second Edition (1996) of the Australian Standard Classification of Occupations (ASCO), and are coded to the occupation level. In ASCO, a job is defined as a set of tasks performed by one individual, and an occupation is defined as a set of jobs sufficiently similar in their main tasks to be grouped together.
Occupation data are essential for labour market analysis and policy formation. Changes in the occupational composition of the labour force are important for planning at the industry and geographic area levels. The data are used in analyses of education and training needs, and as indicators for industry assistance programs. Small area data on occupation are important in regional planning; in examining the occupational mobility of ethnic and other minority groups; and in measuring socioeconomic status variability between regions.
See also Australian Standard Classification of Occupations (ASCO), Labour force.