Occupation experimental update version 1 (OCCEV1P)

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Census of Population and Housing: Census dictionary
Reference period


This variable describes the primary job or occupation held by employed people in the week prior to Census Night. Occupation data in 2021 is available to the 6-digit level, allowing for a detailed look at occupation.

The classification used for the creation of this variable was an experimental Australian update to the Australian and New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations (ANZSCO). This was a targeted update limited to occupations relating to agriculture, cyber security, naval ship building and emerging occupations and relates to the Australian labour market only. The ANZSCO - Australian and New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations, 2021 represents the 2021 Australian update.

The variable Occupation (OCCP) is also available, this is coded using the Australian and New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations (ANZSCO), 2013, Version 1.3.


Employed persons aged 15 years and over


Occupation experimental update version 1 (OCCEV1P) is coded using the Australian and New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations (ANZSCO), 2021 Australian Update. The categories are listed in groups below. The full list is available from the Data downloads on this page. 

1 Managers

2 Professionals

3 Technicians and Trades Workers

4 Community and Personal Service Workers

5 Clerical and Administrative Workers

6 Sales Workers

7 Machinery Operators and Drivers

8 Labourers

Supplementary Codes

Number of categories: 

  • One digit level: 8   
  • Two digit level: 51
  • Three digit level: 137
  • Four digit level: 483
  • Six digit: 1,409

Not applicable (@@@@@@) category comprises:

  • Unemployed persons, looking for either full-time or part-time work
  • Persons not in the labour force
  • Persons with Labour force status (LFSP), not stated
  • Persons aged under 15 years
  • See Understanding supplementary codes for more information.

Question(s) from the Census form

In the main job held last week, what was the person’s occupation?

Targeted supplementary questions for occupation

What are the main tasks that the person usually performs in that occupation?

For the main job held last week, what was the employer’s business name?

What best describes the industry or business of the employer at the location where the person works?

What are the main goods produced or main services provided by the employer’s business?

How this variable is created

This variable is primarily coded based on the write-in responses to questions asking for the person’s occupation title and main tasks performed. Other occupation questions may also be used to assist with quality coding.

Not all responses easily fit into an occupation as listed in the classification. In these cases responses are coded to a higher level of the ANZSCO 2021 Australian Update which covers any possible options for that response. These are more general ‘not further defined (nfd)’ codes and end in one or more zeroes.

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 remaining responses that did not successfully achieve a code are examined by ABS clerical staff and independently assessed for an ANZSCO 2021 Australian Update code.

Responses with insufficient information to assign an ANZSCO code are coded to ‘Inadequately described’.

History and changes

This is a new variable for 2021 based on the 2021 Australian update to the ANZSCO.

Data use considerations

Collecting both occupation title and task information ensures more accurate coding of occupations. This data is essential for:

  • labour market analysis
  • policy formation

Changes in the occupational composition of the labour force are important for planning at the industry and geographic area levels.

The data is 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 introduction of targeted supplementary questions in the online Census has reduced 'not further defined' categories across some Occupations and classified responses into more detailed Occupation categories. 

Care should be taken when using this variable. The update is only relevant to occupations relating to agriculture, cyber security, naval ship building, and emerging occupations identified by the National Skills Commission. If these occupations are not relevant to your data needs, it is recommended to use the Occupation (OCCP) variable instead.

The non-response rate for Occupation experimental update version 1 (OCCEV1P) was 0.8% in 2021.


A number of regions across the country were in various stages of lockdown on Census day, and the week preceding it, resulting in a greater number of people being temporarily stood down on Census day. Guidance on how to correctly respond was provided at the time on the Census website, as follows: 

'If you were employed in the 4 weeks prior to the current lockdown period, but haven't been able to work in the last week due to COVID restrictions or requirement to self-isolate, please answer all questions reflecting your usual occupation. This includes your role (such as occupation and tasks performed) and information about your employer (such as industry and number of employees).'

Related variables and glossary terms

  • Industry of employment (INDP)
  • Occupation (OCCP)
  • Occupation skill level (OCSKP)
  • Occupation skill level experimental update version 1 (OCSKEV1P)
  • Job

Data downloads

Occupation experimental update version 1 classification

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