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Occupation is a person variable and is mainly coded based on the write-in responses to the following questions on the Census form: occupation title and main tasks performed. Images of these questions are provided below.
Responses to the following questions on the Census form may also be used to assist quality occupation coding outcomes:
Occupation is coded using the Australian and New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations (ANZSCO), 2013, Version 1.2, which builds on a review conducted in 2009 (ANZSCO First Edition, Revision 1).
ANZSCO Version 1.2 implements changes to the occupation (6-digit) level to add newly emerging occupations; delete or merge declining occupations; change titles of occupations and amend alternative titles or specialisation within an occupation. A small set of changes at the next highest level of the classification (the unit group) were made but were limited to changes in unit group titles, relevant lead statements and lists of tasks. More information about changes are available in the ANZSCO Australian and New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations, 2013, Version 1.2.
Occupation coding is reliant on a variety of processes. All text response fields that contribute to occupation coding are first auto-repaired before being sent through an auto-coding process. The auto-repairing resulted in approximately 57.0% of all Occupation responses being captured automatically and auto-coding resulted in a further 28.7% being coded. The remaining responses (14.3%) that did not successfully achieve a code were examined by ABS clerical staff and independently assessed for an ANZSCO code.
Where insufficient information is provided in a response for assigning an ANZSIC code. an 'Inadequately described' code is allocated during processing. In 2016, 1.0% of data for Occupation were coded to 'Inadequately described'.
Targeted Supplementary Questions (TSQs)
For the online 2016 Census forms, the coding approach was different to paper forms for occupation responses. Targeted Supplementary Questions (TSQs) were introduced in the 2016 online forms to clarify responses for Occupation topics and facilitate more accurate coding at the lower levels of the classifications. TSQ is sequenced into the questionnaire when the respondent uses a 'trigger word' to describe their occupation title. This triggers extra questions with predefined radio button response options to collect more details about the respondent's occupation in addition to the response they initially provided.
For example, if the word 'nurse' was entered as the occupation, this alone is insufficient information to assign a detailed occupation code. This triggered extra questions about what type of nurse the respondent is, i.e. enrolled or division 2 nurse, nurse practitioner, midwife, nurse manager, registered nurse and midwife, registered nurse or other (please specify).
The list of 'trigger words' was created by looking at common responses in the 'not further defined' coding categories of the classifications in the 2011 Census data. These are text responses that could not be coded to a more detailed category in the classifications (for example, the Occupation category 'Nursing and midwifery, not further defined').
For example, counts of 'Midwifery and Nursing Professionals, not further defined', has decreased, while other nursing categories (Midwives, Nurse Educators and Researchers, Nurse Managers and Registered Nurses) have increased in 2016. Similarly, 'Engineering Professionals' has decreased significantly since 2011 and more detailed Occupation categories have increased (except for 'Mining Engineers' which is in line with real world changes).
Questions 38 and 39 as they appeared on the 2016 Census Household Paper Form:
A text only version of the online Census Household form is available from the Downloads tab.
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2900.0 - Census of Population and Housing: Understanding the Census and Census Data, Australia , 2016
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