Understanding the Australian Skills Classification

Understanding the Australian Skills Classification


In today's dynamic job market, understanding and categorising skills is crucial for both job seekers and employers. With the emergence of new technologies and evolving fields, a standardised framework for classifying skills is essential.

The Australian Skills Classification complements the Australia and New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations (ANZSCO). The Australian Skills Classification (ASC) system provides guidelines and terminologies to better understand and acknowledge various skills across industries and occupations.

What is the Australian Skills Classification?

The Australian Skills Classification (ASC) is a comprehensive framework designed to classify and categorise skills within the Australian labour market. It provides a structured approach to identifying and organising the core skills and tools required across various occupations. By establishing a common language for skills assessment, the ASC facilitates efficient communication between employers, job seekers, training providers, and policymakers.

The Australian Skills Classification methodology involves the following steps:

  • Identification of core skills
  • Mapping specialist tasks
  • Integration of technology tools
  • Creation of skills clusters

By following this methodology, the Australian Skills Classification offers detailed information on skills and occupations, enabling stakeholders to articulate skills effectively, assess workforce needs, and support workforce development initiatives.

Skills categories

The Classification identifies the following key categories of occupation skills:

Core competencies

Common to all roles, core competencies are fundamental 'soft skills' or 'employability skills' that are essential for performing tasks across multiple occupations. They serve as the foundation upon which specialised skills are built. The Classification highlights ten core competencies that are necessary across all job roles in Australia.

Examples include 'teamwork' or 'problem solving'. Recognising candidates with strong soft skills like 'emotional intelligence' and 'adaptability' helps identify the right culture fit, which is crucial in maintaining a positive company culture.

Core competency values

While the 10 core competencies are necessary for all industries, varying levels of proficiency is required for different roles. The Australian Skills Classification employs a 10-point scale to determine the proficiency requirements for each occupation title. A corresponding definition accompanies each point on the scale, clarifying what this value means in practical applications. However, it's worth noting that these are generic definitions and not job specific.

Specialist tasks

Skills and competencies might seem interchangeable, but in fact differ in many ways. Specialist tasks refer to specific activities performed on a daily basis that are associated with a particular occupation, for example 'preparing financial documents' or 'administering immunisations'.

The Classification indicates instances where different occupations may utilise similar specialist tasks (but this does not imply a straightforward transferability among those roles). Employers can refer to specialist tasks to pinpoint essential skills and spot areas where skills are lacking. These gaps can then be addressed through practical training on the job, short courses, or focused training programmes.

Skills clusters and skills cluster families

Skills clusters are groups of similar specialist tasks across related occupations. Clusters are further grouped into a cluster family. These tasks can be applied broadly - if you're capable of one task in the cluster, you're likely able to handle the others as well. It's worth noting that skills clusters don't consider the qualifications, registrations, or licenses necessary for specific tasks.

By clustering occupations based on common skill sets, the ASC facilitates comparisons across different roles and enables stakeholders to identify transferable skills and career paths. Comparing skills is key to understanding skill gaps. It helps decipher if the skills people have matched the skills needed, and if the current workforce can fill these gaps. This approach helps guide the creation of training and education programmes, helping decide which skills can be taught together for the best results and cost-effectiveness.

Technology tools

Technology plays a pivotal role in shaping job roles and skill requirements. The ASC acknowledges the importance of technology tools by categorising them based on their relevance to different occupations – in turn, reflecting the evolving nature of the workforce.

Categories of technology tools relevant for most occupations:

  • software
  • hardware
  • equipment

Examples of occupation-specific specialised tools:

  • computer-aided design (CAD)
  • carbon monoxide analysing equipment 

Why do we classify skills?

Classifying skills serves a variety of purposes for employers, recruiters, job seekers and educators.

  • Understand role requirements when publishing job descriptions
  • Streamline recruitment processes to source top talent
  • Facilitate training programmes
  • Identify career progression pathways
  • Adapt to evolving technological advancements
  • Identify trends and high-demand skills

By understanding the importance of skill classification in today's labour market, job seekers and employers can leverage this knowledge to thrive in their respective fields. Trying to fill a skills gap in your team? Register a vacancy today and an expert Hays recruiter can source the essential talent your business needs.


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