Bureau of Statistics out of touch with workforce change

14 Aug 2018 |

The recent decision by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) to not review the classification of jobs in Australian workplaces puts at serious risk the accuracy of information about changes in the jobs being performed, and the level of skill needed in modern workplaces, the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry said today.

“This system, known as the Australian and New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations (ANZSCO), underpins so much about what we need to know about jobs performed in the economy.  Not only is it an important tool for labour market and population researchers and policy makers, but it touches everyday Australians through such things as the information provided to job seekers about careers, and affects access to the skilled migration program,” Australian Chamber CEO, James Pearson said.

“We have written to the Minister responsible for the ABS, Assistant Minister Sukkar, to express our concern about the implications of not undertaking a review of the job classification system.

“At the very time when public discussion is quite rightly intense about the future of work, the significant and fast paced changes that are happening to jobs and skills and our immigration and population policies, the ABS has decided not to undertake a review of the ANZSCO due to competing priorities and labour and resource constraints.

“The ABS did not even commit to a review in the future, only that it will be further considered after the 2021 Census. This means that at best, a review of occupations will not be properly reflected until the results of the 2026 census.

“This will be over 15 years since the last major review of jobs in the economy which are reflected in ANZSCO,” Mr Pearson said.

“Put simply, the ABS data is already out of date and will become even more so over the next decade.

“A review of similar systems in other countries such as the UK, USA and Canada shows that their reviews are far more frequent and are much more likely to be accurate in reflecting the currency of jobs that are emerging in modern workplaces and the changes in the skills needed to perform those jobs.

“Job seekers, employers and governments need accurate and up to date information. It’s unacceptable in a modern and rapidly changing economy that the ABS and the Federal Government choose not to provide it.

“We call on the ABS and the Government to immediately allocate the resources needed to commence a review of the jobs performed in modern workplaces.”

Duncan Bremner

Director - Public Affairs and Advocacy

P  |  0448 822 666

E  |  [email protected]

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