2901.0 - Census Dictionary, 2006 (Reissue)  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 17/11/2006  Reissue
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Contents >> Glossary >> Occupation


Occupation is collected in the Census for all employed people aged 15 years and over. Two questions are used in the Census:

    • 'In the main job held last week, what was the person's occupation - Give full title', and
    • 'What are the main tasks that the person usually performs in the occupation...'

Collecting both occupation title and task information ensures more accurate coding of occupations.

Occupation data are essential for labour market analysis and policy formation. Changes in the occupational composition of the labour force are important for planning at the industry and geographic area levels. The data are used in analyses of education and training needs, and as indicators for industry assistance programs. Small area data on occupation are important in regional planning; in examining the occupational mobility of ethnic and other minority groups; and in measuring socioeconomic status variability between regions.

The Australian Standard Classification of Occupations (ASCO) First Edition was published in 1986 and was used in both the 1986 and 1991 Censuses. ASCO Second Edition was used for the 1996 and 2001 Censuses. The 2006 Census sees the introduction of a new occupation classification called the Australian and New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations (ANZSCO). For the 2006 Census, occupation data will be dual coded. This will give users of occupation data, the option to use either classification (ANZSCO or ASCO Second Edition) when requesting data. However occupation data in standard Census output products will be ANZSCO based.

The occupation classifications use six digit codes. The first digit in the code represents the major group. The first and second digits indicate the sub-major group. The first, second and third digits indicate the minor group. The first, second, third and fourth digits indicate the unit group, whilst all six digits indicate occupation.

The following example from ANZSCO illustrates the coding conventions:

Major group:
Sub-major group:
    Education professionals
Minor group:
    School teachers
Unit group:
    Primary school teachers
    Primary school teacher
Where the respondent does not provide adequate information for the response to be coded to occupation level, 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 'not further defined' (nfd) categories are used at the more detailed levels of the classification. These categories are represented by codes ending in one or more zeros.

Standard output for occupation data is at the 1, 2, 3 or 4 digit level of the classification. However, in some cases 6 digit level data can be made available from ABS Information Consultancy.

See also Australian and New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupation (ANZSCO), Labour force.

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