ANZSCO Maintenance Strategy: Core Components
The ABS rarely publishes statistics below the unit group level. Labor force time series are produced at the unit group level. Changes to the time series outside of a scheduled major annual update can be extremely expensive to backcast.
Therefore, the most restrictive requirement for a minor annual update is that the changes cannot affect the unit group time series data. This largely limits minor annual updates of occupancy level changes.
Changes that can be made to groups (which include all levels of the ANZSCO hierarchy) are:
Text changes only
Text-only changes refer to changes to selected descriptions and attributes. Examples of selected attributes are tasks, specializations, titles, and alternate titles.
The textual change improves visibility and reflects contemporary terminology to improve the usefulness of the classification. Changes to codes and changes that affect the scope of base groups or above do not fall within the definition of text only. Text-only changes may be made in a minor annual update.
Skill Level Changes
Professions are grouped by skill level and skill specialization. Where a group of occupations is known to contain jobs at different skill levels, the ABS will likely create a new occupation.
Since the predominant skill level defines each of the ANZSCO major groups, the new occupation may be classified in a different branch. In most cases, a change in skill level will result in retirement or splitting from the original profession.
As a result, skill level changes will often result in base group scope changes and will be stored for a major end-of-cycle update.
This is where a group becomes a distinct identification of mandates within ANZSCO, such as emerging professions. The creation of new professions is possible during a minor annual update as long as the scope of the parent base group remains unchanged. In some cases, the creation of new groups will need to be required at the base group level or above. These changes will be applied in a major end-of-cycle update.
Created from ‘Not Elsewhere Classified’
This is where occupations are separated from the NEC “not elsewhere classified” categories. NEC occupational categories are often where emerging occupations will be included until they reach a size where they can be separately identified.
Being “residual” categories, the NECs are often less specific, less homogeneous and more difficult to describe. They are often excluded from the qualified visa program and time series analyses.
ABS will carry out a comprehensive review of all NECs every five years.
When a group no longer describes a sufficient number of workers, it can be removed and the code deleted. This generally affects occupations and less frequently unit groups.
The remaining workers would be coded into another relevant group, most likely a “Not Elsewhere Classified” (NEC) category. This is done to ensure a manageable and balanced classification. If the removal of a profession does not affect the scope of its parent base group, the change may be implemented in an annual minor update.
Split, removal of the original code
This is where the original group and code are removed and new groups and codes are created. In most cases, splitting with retirement occurs at the occupation level. The splitting and removal of the original code is done to accommodate the request for increased detail.
If the new profession groups remain in the original core group, the split can be done in a minor annual update.
Divide, without removing the original code
This is where groups are created within the same parent group without deleting the original category and code. Workers previously coded to the existing occupation are now coded to a new occupation within the same parent group. For example, splitting without retirement occurs when a specialization of an existing profession is separately identified as a separate profession.
Non-retirement profession splits that do not affect the base group scope can be done during a minor annual update.
Moved between unit groups
There are constraints on how many codes can fit in a given unit group. Therefore, some occupational groups may change codes and unit groups without any conceptual changes. These changes will not have a significant impact on the time series data at the unit group level (except for a code change).