1220.0 - Australian Standard Classification of Occupations (ASCO) Second Edition, 1997  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 31/07/1997   
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Contents >> 01 Overview of ASCO Second Edition >> 3 Summary of ASCO Criteria




The structure of ASCO is defined in terms of two broad criteria-skill level and skill specialisation.


The skill level of an occupation is a function of the range and complexity of the set of tasks involved.

This is measured by the:
  • formal education and/or training
  • previous experience
usually required for entry into an occupation.

Formal education
Formal education and/or training consists of three types: primary, secondary and tertiary education. Primary and secondary education are measured in years of schooling. Tertiary education is divided into categories consistent with those stated in the AQF.

Previous experience
This variable is defined as the number of years of relevant experience gained in other occupations which contribute to the satisfactory performance of the set of tasks.

Where these criteria are not sufficient for determining the skill level of a particular occupation, the range and complexity of the set of tasks involved is determined by application of a secondary set of criteria (for which on-the-job training may be a useful measure):
  • breadth/depth of knowledge required
  • range of skills required
  • variability of operating environment
  • level of autonomy as determined by the degree of discretion and choice which may be required to perform the set of tasks.


This criterion is used to group occupations according to type of skill. It is measured by:
  • field of knowledge required
  • tools and equipment used
  • materials worked on
  • goods or services provided.

Field of knowledge
This variable indicates the subject matter which is essential to the tasks performed.

Tools and equipment used
This variable includes the plant, machinery or tools used in the performance of the tasks. It also includes all forms of computer-based equipment, personal interaction, and art or design techniques.
Materials worked on
This variable indicates the materials which are processed, refined or fabricated as an essential part of the tasks performed. It also includes data, and individual or group services.

Goods or services provided
This variable indicates the goods or services provided as a result of the tasks performed, and includes data and personal services.

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