How ANZSCO works

The Australian and New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations (ANZSCO) is a skill-based classification used to categorise all occupations.


ANZSCO defined

ANZSCO is the skill-based classification used to categorise all occupations and jobs undertaken for profit in the Australian and New Zealand labour markets. It is used in the collection and dissemination of all official statistics on occupation and is a key tenet of Australia’s statistical infrastructure. ANZSCO is applied to a range of data sets, including the Census of Population and Housing, that inform and support government policy settings and programs – from vocational education and training to skilled migration programs.

The custodians of ANZSCO are ABS and Stats NZ. These agencies developed ANZSCO as a joint project which was first published in 2006. While the ANZSCO has had some minor updates, it still largely reflects the original 2006 version of ANZSCO, which was based on the 2001 labour market.

Figure 1 Structure of ANZSCO, by occupation group

Structure of ANZSCO, by occupation group
Examples of ANZSCO classification

How ANZSCO works

ANZSCO is a hierarchical classification system that categorises 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. The hierarchical structure of ANZSCO is illustrated in Figure 1. This includes examples of how that structure works for each of the major groups.

These hierarchical levels have a corresponding reference number (‘code’) with a specific number of digits:

  • major groups are represented by a single digit code
  • sub-major groups by a 2 digit code
  • minor groups by a 3 digit code
  • unit groups by a 4 digit code
  • occupations by a 6 digit code.

Workforce data is captured at the lowest level, the 6-digit ‘occupation’, through data collections such as the Census and the Labour Force Survey. However, data tends to be presented at a higher level such as at the sub-major group (3 digit categories) or unit group (4 digit categories). For example, the 2016 Census Employment Data Cube (ABS 2018) (see table 8) provides numbers of workers at the unit group (4 digit) level.

Definitions and specialisations

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.

Information on industries and sectors is captured using a separate classification system, the Australian and New Zealand Standard Industrial Classification (ANZSIC). ANZSIC is used to classify the activity of organisations undertaking productive activities such as businesses, companies and not-for-profit organisations. It enables information about businesses, including employee data, to be grouped by reference to their industry and supports comparisons between industries.

Some occupations are unique to an industry or sector, for example, shearer is an occupation that is unique to the agriculture sector while miner is unique to the mining industry. Other occupations, such as accountant and human resource manager, are common to multiple industries or sectors. These occupations can only be aligned to a specific industry or sector if there are underlying tasks and skills which are distinct to that industry. Box 1 shows how some occupations in ANZSCO are defined.

Data on the number of people undertaking a particular occupation are only captured at the 6-digit occupation level. Data are not able to be further delineated to show the number of people that are undertaking a specialisation nor an occupation that is included in a catch-all ‘nec’ (not elsewhere classified) category. To ensure that all occupations are represented in the ANZSCO, some which do not meet the threshold for the number of people undertaking them are gathered into catch-all ‘nec’ (not elsewhere classified) categories across the classification.

Examples of occupation definitions and specialisations
133211 Engineering Manager        
Definition:Plans, organises, directs, controls and coordinates the engineering and technical operations of an organisation.   
252312 Dentist        
Alternative Titles:

· Dental Practitioner
· Dental Surgeon

Definition:Diagnoses and treats dental disease, injuries, decay and malformations of the teeth, periodontal tissue (gums), hard and soft tissue found on the mouth and other dento-facial structures using surgery and other techniques.
Registration or licensing is required.
399911 Diver        
Definition:Swims underwater to undertake tasks such as seafood gathering, research, salvage and construction. Registration or licensing may be required.
Specialisations:· Abalone Diver
· Clearance Diver (Navy)
· Fisheries Diver
· Hyperbaric Welder Diver
· Offshore Diver
· Onshore Diver
· Pearl Diver
· Saturation Diver
· Scientific Diver
431112 Barista         
Definition:Prepares and serves espresso coffee and other hot beverages to patrons in a cafe, coffeeshop, restaurant or dining establishment.     
551211 Bookkeeper        
Definition:Maintains and evaluates records of financial transactions in account books and computerised accounting systems.
Specialisations:· Financial Administration Officer        
612114 Real Estate Agent        
Definition:Coordinates the activities of real estate representatives in selling and leasing real estate, ensuring compliance with legislative requirements. Registration or licensing is required.
721916 Streetsweeper Operator        
Definition:Operates plant to clean streets and gutters of litter and debris. Registration or licensing is required.
851211 Pastrycook's Assistant        
Definition: Assists a pastrycook by performing routine tasks in the kitchen such as preparing ingredients, and cleaning and storing equipment.
Specialisations:· Bakery Assistant        

Skill levels

Each occupation is assigned a skill level. The skill level reflects the range and complexity of the set of tasks undertaken in the occupation. These skill levels measure the level or amount of formal education and training, the amount of previous experience in a related occupation and the amount of on-the-job training required to competently perform the set of tasks required for that occupation. The 5 broad skill levels used in ANZSCO are outlined in Figure 2.

Figure 2 Structure of ANZSCO by skill level

Structure of ANZSCO by skill level
ANZSCO skill level categories

Categories at all levels – major group, sub-major group, minor group and unit group – also have an indicative skill level which describes the skill level for most occupations in that category. For example, occupations in the Managers major group are at skill level 1 or skill level 2 and occupations in the Labourers major group are at skill level 4 or skill level 5. The indicative skill level associated with occupations in each major group is outlined in Table 1.

Table 1 Indicative skill levels attributed to major occupation groups in ANZSCO
Major groupPredominant skill levels
1 – Managers1 and 2
2 – Professionals1
3 – Technicians and Trade Workers2 and 3
4 – Community and Personal Service Workers2, 3, 4 and 5
5 – Clerical and Administrative Workers2, 3, 4 and 5
6 – Sales Workers3, 4 and 5
7 – Machinery Operators and Drivers4
8 – Labourers4 and 5
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