ANZSCO describes data for governments, industry, and businesses to inform and shape educational pathways, skilled migration programs and workforce strategies that equip Australians with skills to get jobs and stay employed.
Learn more about ANZSCO and the comprehensive review
The Australian and New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations (ANZSCO) provides a basis for the standardised collection, analysis and dissemination of occupation data for Australia and New Zealand.
ANZSCO is intended to provide an integrated framework for storing, organising and reporting occupation-related information in both statistical and other analytical applications.
The ABS is undertaking a comprehensive review of the classification to reflect the contemporary labour market and better meet stakeholders’ needs. While ANZSCO has previously had some minor updates, it largely describes the original 2006 version, which was based on the 2001 labour market.
Public consultation rounds exploring where changes to the classification may be required will be held across 2023 and 2024 with each round targeting selected occupations grouped by focus area. Find the public consultation schedule and information on how to participate.
Updates to the classification will be reflected progressively in official labour market statistics from August 2026, including Labour Force time series, Employee Earnings and Hours and Jobs in Australia statistics to improve visibility of new and emerging occupations. The updated classification will be released by December 2024, in time for use by Census 2026.
2026 Census Content consultation is planned for the first half of 2023. If your submission to the comprehensive review and update of the ANZSCO is relevant to the Census Content consultation too, it will be provided to the 2026 Census Content team - stakeholders do not need to provide their submission again.
We will invite submissions on particular focus areas through the ABS Consultation Hub. Suggested changes received from each consultation round will be considered and balanced with the need to maintain mutual exclusivity of occupation groups (that is, a job can only be assigned to one occupation), and stability of the classification for analysis across time.
Changes also need to adhere to the principles of statistical classifications to ensure ANZSCO continues to support the production of reliable occupation-base statistics. These principles will guide the development of changes throughout the comprehensive review and beyond, ensuring the classification is well structured, clearly defined, comparable, robust, and representative.
The ABS will ask for feedback on the complete set of proposed changes prior to finalising the classification update. The updated classification will be released by December 2024, in time for use by Census 2026.
The review will focus on the Australian labour market with changes made in consultation with other Australian Government agencies and a range of external stakeholders. Statistics NZ (Stats NZ) have elected not to participate in the review at this stage and are considering whether to maintain joint custodianship of the classification with the ABS. Occupation changes will therefore be considered in respect of the Australian labour market only. New Zealand labour market references will remain largely unchanged.
Other ANZSCO Projects
A whole-of-government occupation coding capability will be made available to industry and private sector to enable data producers to apply ANZSCO consistently and improve comparability and coherence of labour market data and advice.
Currently, we are in the requirements gathering phase of developing an Intelligent Coder. This project involves building an API service that utilises machine learning to automatically assign ANZSCO codes to occupations based on users' input within source systems or applications. It aims to provide a more efficient and automated method of coding occupations to the ANZSCO classification, including the ability to code larger datasets by making multiple API calls.
The ABS has also commenced investigation of a Customised Viewer Tool (CVT) that would allow users to manipulate and rearrange classification metadata to create customised views of the ANZSCO classification. It is intended to support data analysis by enabling users to link ANZSCO occupations with specific industries using ANZSIC and ANZSCO codes.
In ANZSCO, skill level is defined as a function of the range and complexity of the set of tasks performed in a particular occupation. The greater the range and complexity of the set of tasks, the greater the skill level of an occupation.
Occupations may be separately identified from other similar occupations where the skill level or specialisation is sufficiently distinct. Skill level is therefore one of several factors used to form occupation groups.
In ANZSCO, the skill level assigned to an occupation is based on the requirements to perform the tasks associated with that occupation, regardless of the characteristics or qualifications of the individual performing it. For example, if someone with a university degree is driving a taxicab, the skill level of the occupation remains unchanged and is not determined by the individual's qualifications.
The ABS is working closely with Jobs and Skills Australia (JSA) to ensure alignment between ANZSCO as an occupation classification, and how skills are reflected in the Australian Skills Classification (ASC). The ASC, developed by JSA, describes a set of skills required to undertake each occupation and helps define the skills that underpin jobs in Australia. It plays a pivotal part in enabling new skills-based approaches to workforce and talent strategies, learning and development, and policy. Currently, it covers 870 of the Occupations in ANZSCO and JSA continues development to ensure exhaustive coverage.
For more information on the concept and recognition of skills in ANZSCO read the Position on Skills in ANZSCO article.
Skill Level Groupings over Industry-Based Categories
In ANZSCO jobs are grouped by skill level rather than by industry. This approach allows for a more comprehensive and flexible categorisation of occupations based on the skills and qualifications required to perform them, rather than solely focusing on the specific industry in which they are found.
Classifying jobs based on skill levels acknowledges that many skills are transferrable across different industries. While certain occupations may be more commonly associated with a particular industry, skills such as problem-solving, communication, and leadership can be applicable across various segments of the labour market. Grouping jobs based on skill level, facilitates a better understanding of the distribution of skills and qualifications within the workforce, regardless of the specific industry in which individuals are employed.
With the rapid pace of technological advancements and evolving industries, job roles and requirements can change significantly over time. Grouping occupations by skill level also allows for greater flexibility in accommodating emerging industries and occupations that may not fit neatly into traditional industry categories. This approach ensures that the classification remains relevant and adaptable to the shifting needs of the labour market.
For more information on the concept and recognition of skills in ANZSCO read the Position on Skills in ANZSCO article.
Changes to the structure of the classification are being considered as part of the ANZSCO review. This may involve reorganising or consolidating existing occupation groups, creating new groups for emerging occupations, or adapting the structure to better reflect the relationships between occupations.
The specific details of the structural changes will be determined as part of the review process, including input from stakeholders, industry experts, and relevant data analysis. The goal is to create a more robust and adaptable classification system that accurately represents the changing nature of occupations and supports informed decision-making.
2021 and 2022 targeted updates
In 2021, a targeted update of ANZSCO related to selected areas of the Australian labour market was undertaken by the ABS. This update was limited to occupations relating to agriculture, cyber security, naval ship building and selected emerging occupations.
A further update was undertaken in 2022 with a focus on construction-related trades occupations and additional emerging occupations. The ANZSCO 2022, Australian Update is the fifth revision since ANZSCO was established in 2006. In addition to the classification, this publication contains a summary of the classification and concordances to the previous revision (2021 Australian Update).
These updates were based on priority areas for the Australian labour market and made in consultation with other Australian Government agencies and a range of external stakeholders.
More frequent updates
Census data has been the primary data source for review work and informs decisions on classification updates, including minimum size thresholds for inclusion or exclusion of occupations and changes to the way occupations are described. The Census dataset has several limitations, most notably its five-yearly frequency with detailed data from Census often only available to the reviewers when it is released publicly, approximately one year after collection.
New methods and data sources will be incorporated into the comprehensive review process to improve the timeliness, relevance, and alignment with labour market and other statistical and non-statistical occupation classifications and lists.
A new update approach is under development to ensure that the highest priority areas of the classification are reviewed every year. The model aims to ensure that all categories in ANZSCO are reviewed, at a minimum, every five years, and that a version with any major changes is published in time to support adoption by the Census. The aim is to balance the need for timely revision with long-term stability.
The ANZSCO Maintenance Strategy outlines the annual, ongoing maintenance of ANZSCO. It will continue to be shaped by stakeholder feedback through the comprehensive review and update over the next two years, with a final version to be released in early 2025.
Labour Force and other market data
Labour market analysts have indicated a particularly strong need to adopt a balanced approach to ANZSCO revisions – to ensure that occupation statistics are contemporary but also comparable over time.
The ABS expects to begin coding Labour Force statistics using an updated ANZSCO after the full review and updates have been completed. This will most likely occur from August 2026, in line with its implementation with the 2026 Census, but could potentially be earlier.
Initially, occupation data will be coded on both a current and new ANZSCO basis. After a period of time, which could be as short as four quarters, the ABS would then undertake a backcasting process, to produce a longer time series for occupation statistics for the new version of ANZSCO.
In line with more frequent updates to the classification, the ABS will also explore a process for more frequent updates to its occupation statistics. This could involve a regular five yearly update and backcasting approach, to coincide with the accumulated full review of the classification.
For other labour statistics, including Employee Earnings and Hours and Jobs in Australia, there is generally no backcasting undertaken. As with Census data, occupation statistics in these collections use the latest available version of ANZSCO that has been incorporated into their occupation coding systems and processes (including the adoption of the changes by the ATO, in the case of Jobs in Australia).
Volume of changes
The intention is to review the remaining 85% of the classification that was not addressed by the 2021 and 2022 updates. However, this is subject to the volume and complexity of the changes required. A thorough consultation plan to work with stakeholders has been developed to prioritise and develop changes.
The updated classification will be released by December 2024 and will transition into an annual, ongoing maintenance model from 2025. Any occupations that were unable to be reviewed across 2023 and 2024 will be prioritised and addressed through subsequent incremental, targeted updates.
Classifying jobs in ANZSCO
ANZSCO uses a hierarchical classification system to categorise occupations according to one of 8 major groups and then into increasingly smaller sub-categories: sub-major group; minor group; unit group, before resulting in the specific occupation.
Each job must belong exclusively to only one occupation. That is, each occupation in ANZSCO must be mutual exclusive from other occupation groups to maintain the stability of the classification for analysis across time.
Each occupation in ANZSCO is defined by its primary tasks. Each occupation’s definition may also include alternate titles for the occupation as well as note specialisations. For large datasets such as the Australian Census of Population and Housing, a coding index is used to map textual job descriptions to an occupation group.
Each occupation is also assigned a skill level. The skill level reflects the range and complexity of the set of tasks undertaken in the occupation. Skill level and specialisation help determine the major group (and smaller sub-categories) to which the job should be classified.
For more information on ANZSCO please read How ANZSCO works.
Workers with multiple jobs
ANZSCO is a classification used to categorise occupations, not individuals.
'Occupation' is operationally defined as a set of jobs whose main tasks are characterised by a high degree of similarity. That is, sets of jobs with similar sets of tasks are grouped together to form an occupation. The degree of similarity between two occupations is measured in terms of the skill level and skill specialisation associated with the sets of tasks involved in each occupation.
Data on the occupations of individuals are collected in a wide variety of ABS social and labour statistical collections, usually in the form of an individual’s ‘main’ or ‘last’ job. Where an individual holds multiple jobs, the occupation of an individual would generally be classified in respect of their main job.
For more information on how the ABS collects occupation statistics read the Occupation Standard.