Changes to ANZSCO should help the IT sector. Photo: Shutterstock
The Australian IT industry has the opportunity to better target the industry’s visa policy and development activities by using the updated Official Skills List from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) to ensure that official skill classifications reflect contemporary reflect technologies.
The revision of the Australian and New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations (ANZSCO) – a classification system for modeling the local labor market that was last fully updated in 2013 – comes almost a year after a parliamentary commission recommended that the system is being replaced by an alternative that is “more flexible to adapt to the needs of the emerging labor market”.
Since ANZSCO is used to formulate visa policies for skilled migrants in specific sectors, that assessment highlighted the challenges of comprehensive skill classifications that prevented visas from being properly targeted.
At a time when the IT industry is clamoring for skills related to key new technologies such as cloud computing, blockchain, cybersecurity, quantum computing and more, the myriad functions of the IT industry are still grouped into just a few categories.
These include business and systems analysts and programmers (ANZSCO Group) 261† Database and system administrators and ICT security specialists (262† ICT Network and Support Professionals (263† and ICT and Telecommunications Technicians (313†
Created at a time when technologies such as cloud computing and smartphones were in their infancy, those ancient descriptors only vaguely match many of the most frequently requested fields – including emerging technologies such as cloud architectures and mobile app development.
Failure to focus on skills development efforts has resulted in companies largely filling their positions with a limited pool of contractors demanding ever-higher salaries for increasingly hard-to-find skills.
That situation recently led Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources (DISER) Secretary David Fredericks to declare Australia’s ICT sector “fundamentally a contractor-based industry” that relies on that talent pool “to create a to tackle wave of work that comes through the grant process.”
ANZSCO for the better
Ensuring that official skills lists reflect current job market and industry requirements can be important for funding and industrial development, but the rapid pace of the ICT industry has made it a moving target for government instruments such as ANZSCO and the Skilled Occupation List (SOL), That run regularly up to a decade behind industry practice.
Despite acknowledging in August 2018 that a revision of the classification is “desirable”, the ABS puts its ANZSCO overhaul on the back burner to focus its resources on the Australian Census 2021†
Early last year, the ABS began exploring options for a “phased approach” to updating ANZSCO after to announce that it had “necessary support and resources” to explore new ways of classifying jobs in cybersecurity, agriculture, forestry, fisheries and naval shipbuilding.
This fitted in well with the work that ACS is already carrying out, which will be completed in mid-2020 rated its approach to classifying cybersecurity jobs so that applications for skilled migration visas can be properly assessed against specific cybersecurity criteria.
It also gathers opinions on a new way of servicing ANZSCO – tried in the past year – that would avoid rare major updates to more regular, phased industry capability assessments conducted with relevant industry bodies.
In November, the ABS released a partial update, for Australia only from ANZSCO which reflected the fruits of this approach, introducing changes in several areas, including priority”emerging professionsand new codes for cybersecurity specializations previously lumped together one ANZSCO code (262112).
The updated ANZSCO now lists Cyber Security Engineer (261315), Devops Engineer (261316), Penetration Tester (261317), Cyber Governance Risk and Compliance Specialist (262114), Cyber Security Advice and Assessment Specialist (262115), Cyber Security Analyst at. (262116), and more – so recruiters, migration specialists and others can better respond to the gap in cybersecurity skills by offering visas for those specific roles.
That update “represents the first incremental step of a larger work program,” the ABS said at the time — and with the release With the first major datasets from the 2021 census finally behind us, the organization is now diving into the full ANZSCO overhaul.
“In 2021, ABS has tried a new, focused approach to update ANZSCO,” said Chris Hinchcliffe, director of ANZSCO Review. accept submissions on the new approach and will adopt a similar approach for the reclassification of construction sector roles.
“The ABS continues to develop the new approach to sustaining ANZSCO to reflect today’s job market and better meet stakeholder needs,” said Hinchcliffe. “Feedback will determine a series of proposed changes… [and] help plan future updates for ANZSCO.”