1003.0 - ABS News for Libraries, Nov 2007  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 12/12/2007   
   Page tools: Print Print Page Print all pages in this productPrint All



A Look at Occupation Data

Data relating to employment, industry and occupation from the 2006 Census has been progressively released to the ABS website since 25 October 2007.
Understanding how this data is organised will help you navigate the available options and find the information you need.

About Occupation Data
On Census Night 2006 Australians were asked to list their main job held in the last week:

Screenshot - Census 2006 question 38
Fig 1: Screenshot - Census 2006 question 38

and the main tasks usually performed:

Screenshot - Census 2006 question 39
Fig 2: Screenshot - Census 2006 question 39

When this information is processed, people's responses are assigned to a standard list of occupations. This list is the Australian and New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations (ANZSCO). Using the Classification means responses are grouped according to a standard form - for example one person may list their occupation as 'hair stylist' and another as 'hairdresser', but they are both put into the ANZSCO category of 'Hairdressers'.

How data is grouped
ANZSCO enables occupations to be grouped in a hierarchy: for example,

Major group2 Professionals
Sub-major group22 Business, Human Resource and Marketing Professionals
Minor group 224 Information and Organisation Professionals
Unit group2242 Archivists, Curators and Records Managers
2246 Librarians
Occupation224211 Archivist
224212 Gallery or Museum Curator

The occupation classifications use 6 digit codes. '1 digit level' coding is the broadest categorisation, '4 digit level' provides more detailed classification, with '6 digit level' being the most detailed. This allows data to be released at different levels depending upon requirements.

Where to find the full list of occupation categories
The classification list of all the different categories for Occupation can be found to the 4 digit level in the Census Dictionary or the full classification to 6 digit level in ANZSCO (cat. no. 1220.0).

Finding data online
Often occupation data is available cross-classified with different variables or topics only at the major group level (ie Managers, Professionals, Technicians and Trade Workers, Community and Personal Service Workers etc).
For example, you can access data online about the Number of Hours worked by Professionals or Sales Workers groups, but not by Librarians.

If you required more a detailed level of occupation data, for example numbers of Library Assistants, then you would need to select the option for Occupation unit groups from the Topic List in the Census Tables product.

Screenshot - cross-classified occupation data
Fig 3: Screenshot - cross-classified occupation data

The most detailed data available
Standard occupation data is generaly released to a 4 digit level. However with the 2006 Census, occupation data is also available online at a 6 digit level via the 'Alternative View' options under the Occupation Topic in Census Tables. These are grouped into five occupation subsets: Agriculture, Culture and Leisure, Health, Hospitality and Tourism, and ICT.

For example: Where a 2006 ANZSCO (unit groups) table would provide data for the category '4522 Outdoor Adventure Guides', the Culture and Leisure Occupations table will provide data for:

452211Bungy Jump Master
452212Fishing Guide
452214Mountain or Glacier Guide
452217Whitewater Rafting Guide

Library Technicians are identified at the the 6 digit level, while at the 4 digit level they are grouped into the category '3933 Gallery, Library and Museum Technicans'. You can access this level of occupation data for areas as small as Suburbs, Statistical Local Areas, or Local Government Areas.

Comparing 2001 and 2006 data
It is important to note that since the last Census the Classification has changed. 2001 Census data was released categorised according to the 1993 ASCO (Australian Standard Classification of Occupations) 2nd edition. 2006 Census data has been released categorised according to the new 2006 ANZSCO. This means there are differences in how the data is grouped and named, which has an impact upon comparing data and measuring change over time. To assist users the ABS has made 2006 Census data also available categorised according to 1993 ASCO.

What does 'nfd' or 'nec' mean?
You will sometimes see categories with the terms 'nfd' or 'nec' at the end: for example 'Outdoor Adventure Guides nec' or 'Information and Organisation Professionals, nfd'.
Nec means 'not elsewhere classified'. It allows responses from a Census form which don't fit into a suitable category in the classification to still be included.
Nfd means 'not further defined'. This is used when a respondent has not provided adequate information for the response to be put into a category at the most detailed level. The response may have been incomplete, non-specific, or imprecise. The response is coded to the next highest level which is sufficiently broad to include all possibilities implied by the available information. Where this occurs, special nfd categories are used at the more detailed levels of the classification.

Census Occupation data compared with Labour Force Survey data
A feature article Census and the Labour Force Survey in the October 2007 issue of Australian Labour Market Statistics (ABS cat. no. 6105.0) compares 2006 Census and Labour Force Survey data. (also see Census Dictionary - Occupation)

The Labour Force Survey provides up-to-date data on a monthly basis. However Census data can provide information for small population groups and small geographic areas. The Census also allows analysis of industry and occupation data at a much greater level of detail than the Labour Force Survey. It will depend on your information need as to which is the best source to use.