[WWW - 2023.07.31]
Identifying and Definitional Attributes
QH 040812 v3
Data Element
Data Element
The job or duties in which the person is principally engaged.
Injury surveillance: There is considerable user demand for data on occupation-related injury and illness, including from WorkSafe Australia and from industry, where unnecessary production costs are known in some areas and suspected to be related to others in work-related illness, injury and disability.
Occupation of person
Main occupation
Representational Attributes
Permissible Values


A valid code from the corporate reference data system (CRDS) ANZSCO (Aust & NZ Standard Classification of Occupations) General Reference data set maintained by the Statistical Standards Unit (SSU), Health Statistics Centre.
Supplementary Values


Collection and Usage Attributes
A job in any given establishment is a set of tasks designed to be performed by one individual in return for a wage or salary. An occupation is a set of jobs with similar sets of tasks. For persons with more than one job, the main job is the one in which the person works the most hours.

Caution is advised in its use with regard to service providers as their activity as a service provider may not be their main occupation.
This data element should only be collected from people whose Labour force status is employed.

Occupation is too complex and diverse an issue to fit neatly into any useable small group of categories. Therefore the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) recommend that this data element be collected by using the following two open-ended questions:
Q1. In the main job held last week (or other recent reference period), what was your/the person's occupation?
Q2. What are the main tasks that you/the person usually perform in that occupation?

The information gained from these two questions can then be used to select an appropriate code from the ANZSCO at any of the available levels (see Comments field). Accurate data are best achieved using computer assisted coding. A Computer Assisted Coding system is available from the ABS to assist in coding occupational data to ANZSCO codes.

Data coded at the 4 and 6 digit level will provide more detailed information than that collected at the higher levels and may be more useful. However, the level at which data are coded and reported will depend on the purpose of collecting this information. If only one question is asked, question one should be used. The use of question one only, however, sometimes elicits responses which do not provide a clear occupation title and specification of tasks performed. As a result accurate coding at unit group or occupation level may not be possible.

While agencies are encouraged to use the recommended questions described above, it is acknowledged that this is not always possible in practice. For example, where the data collection is a by-product of the provision of a health or community service, the information may be ascertained using different means. However, due to the complexities of the data element 'Person-occupation (ANZSCO 2009)', this will result in inaccurate information. The recommended questions should be used wherever possible.
This data element may be useful in gaining an understanding of a client's situation and needs. For example, the occupation of a person with a disability may be directly relevant to the type of aids that they require. The structure of the ANZSCO has five levels: Major group: 1-digit codes Sub-major group: 2-digit codes Minor group: 3-digit codes Unit group: 4-digit codes Occupation: 6-digit codes For example: Level: Code Title Major group: 2 Professionals Sub-major group: 25 Health Professionals Minor group: 254 Midwifery and Nursing Professionals Unit group: 2544 Registered Nurses Occupation: 254424 Registered Nurse (Surgical)
Relational Attributes
Related Metadata References

Related Metadata References_IR

  • 1 - 3
ViewRelationshipMetadata Item TypeMetadata Item SubtypeNameIdentifier & VersionApproval Status
SupersedesData ElementData ElementOccupation of personQH 040812 Version 2Superseded
SupersedesData ElementData ElementOccupation of personQH 040812 Version 1Superseded
Has been superseded byData ElementData ElementPerson-occupation (ANZSCO 2013, 1st edn, v1.2)QH 040812 Version 4Current
Implementation in Metadata Sets


  • 1 - 1
ViewMetadata Item TypeMetadata Item SubtypeNameIdentifer & VersionObligationApproval StatusEffective FromEffective To
Information AssetData CollectionQueensland Cancer Registry (QCR) Data CollectionQH 020002 Version 1Superseded01-Jul-201130-Jun-2013
Source and Reference Attributes
Australian Bureau of Statistics; Australian Institute of Health and Welfare
ABS cat. no. 1220.0 Australian and New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations (ANZSCO), First Edition, Revision 1, 2009; Person-occupation (main), code (ANZSCO 1st edition) N[NNN]{NN} METeOR data element, identifier 350899, health standard 04/07/2007 https://meteor.aihw.gov.au/content/index.phtml/itemId/350899/meteorItemView/long