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Definition

Occupation

An occupation is defined as as set of jobs that require the performance of similar or identical sets of tasks. As it is rare for two actual jobs to have identical sets of tasks, in practical terms, an occupation is a set of jobs whose main tasks are characterised by a high degree of similarity.

The similarity of tasks is defined in this statistical standard as a function of the level and specialisation of skills required to perform those tasks. Skill is defined as the ability to competently perform the tasks associated with an occupation.

It follows that ANZSCO classifies occupations according to two criteria – skill level and skill specialisation.

Job

A job is defined as a set of tasks designed to be performed by one person for an employer (including self–employment) in return for payment or profit. Individual persons are classified by occupation through their relationship to a past, present of future job.

Any particular job will typically involve an individual working for a particular employer and undertaking a particular set of tasks. People working for themselves are considered as having a job and belonging to the labour force.

People undertaking work without pay or profit, for example, voluntary work, are excluded from the concept of job. However, this is not to say that the classification cannot be used to describe the activities of persons not working for pay or profit.

Skill level

Skill level of an occupation is defined as a function of the range and complexity of the set of tasks performed in a particular occupation. The greater the range and complexity of the set of tasks, the greater the skill level of an occupation.

Skill level is measured operationally by:

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.

In general, the greater the range and complexity of the set of tasks involved, the greater the amount of formal education and training, previous experience and on–the–job training that are required to competently perform the set of tasks for that occupation.

Formal education and training refers to the level and amount of education and training required for competent performance of the tasks required in an occupation. It is measured in terms of educational qualifications as set out in the Australian Qualification Framework (AQF) or the New Zealand Register of Quality Assured Qualifications (NZ Register).

Previous experience refers to the time spent gaining work experience in related occupations or activities required for the competent performance of the tasks in an occupation. It is measured in months or years, and may be undertaken at the same time as formal training.

ANZSCO and this statistical standard do not measure the skill level of an individual, rather it refers to the level of skill that is typically required to competently perform the tasks of a particular occupation. Skill level is an attribute of occupations, not of individual sin the labour force or of particular jobs. It is irrelevant whether a particular individual working in a job in a particular occupation has a certain amount of training or a particular level of competence or not.

For example, a person who spreads mortar and lays bricks for a living has the occupation Bricklayer, regardless of whether the person is an exceptionally competent bricklayer with many years of experience and post–trade qualifications, or an inexperienced bricklayer with no formal qualifications and a low level of competence. The skill level of the occupation Bricklayer is determined on the basis of that typically required for competent performance.

Occupations are assigned to one of five skill levels. In determining the skill level of each occupation, advice was sought from employers, industry training bodies, professional organisations and others to ensure that the information is as accurate and meaningful as possible.

Skill specialisation

Skill specialisation is defined as a function of:

  • field of knowledge required
  • tools and equipment used
  • materials worked with
  • goods and services produced or provided

Components of skill

Skill level is applied as a guiding principle to differentiate between the major groups of ANZSCO and determine which major group an occupation belongs to.

The skill component of an occupation is generally recognised as having the following attributes:

  • formal qualifications
  • competencies
  • experience
  • subject matter knowledge
  • ability to use specific tools and equipment
  • ability to produce specific goods and services
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