Occupation (OCCP)

This variable describes the occupation or main job held by employed people aged 15 years and over in the week prior to Census Night.

The questions relating to Occupation (OCCP) were first asked in the 1911 Census. Prior to the 1986 Census, a single question was asked about title of occupation. In 1986 a second question on main tasks or duties that a person usually performed in his or her job was included to improve the quality of coding. The questions have remained the same for subsequent Censuses with some revision of the examples and instructions only. Further information on Census Topics 1911–2011, can be found in How Australia Takes a Census (cat. no. 2903.0).

The non-response rate for this variable was 0.8% (0.8% in 2006). Unlike some other Census variables the non-response rate is not affected by persons imputed into dwellings that did not return a Census Form, as OCCP is only applicable for persons with a labour force status of employed. More information is available from the 2011 Census non-response quality statement.

OCCP is mainly coded based on written responses for occupation title and main tasks performed (questions 38 and 39 on the Census Household Form). Employer's business name (question 40), employer's industry (question 42) and main goods or services produced (question 43) may also be used to assist quality occupation coding outcomes.

The Australian and New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations (ANZSCO), First Edition, Revision 1 (cat. no. 1220.0), released in 2009, was used to code data for OCCP. Revision 1 included the addition of 24 new occupations (categories at the 6-digit level) and the deletion or merging of eight occupations. It also included minor changes to the classification structure and definitional changes for some occupations.

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. This text repair and automatic coding process resulted in approximately 67% of all responses being coded. The remaining records that did not successfully achieve a code in auto-coding were examined by ABS clerical staff and independently assessed for an ANZCO code. When completing their Census Form, some people provide responses which cannot be coded. In these instances, an 'Inadequately Described' code is allocated during processing. There was little change in the overall proportion of these responses, which for 2011 comprised 0.51% of the data (increasing from 0.46% in 2006).

More information on OCCP is available in the 2011 Census Dictionary (cat. no. 2901.0).

Questions 38 and 39 as they appeared on the 2011 Census Household Form

Data for this variable is mainly derived from questions 38 and 39 on the Census Household Form.

Text only versions of these questions are also available.

Back to Person classification