ALIA Blog: Updating ANZSCO

ALIA has taken advantage of the rare opportunity of a review of the Australian and New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations (ANZSCO) to advocate for updates that will improve the accuracy of descriptions and ongoing data collection and reporting for the library and information sector, including recommending a specific occupation for teacher librarians. 

ANZSCO is a skill-based classification of jobs and occupations across the diverse Australia and New Zealand labour market. For the library industry it includes Librarians, Library Technicians, Library Assistants and Teacher Librarians.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) manages the ANZSCO classification system, and it is widely used to gain insights into the labour markets and to gauge the need for education and training programs. It is also used in recruitment and assessment of overseas applicants’ eligibility for skilled visas. Each occupation is assigned a unique code. As an example, the code for Librarians is 2246 and the link in the ANZSCO system to the existing section is here.

A quick check of the existing library-related descriptions will reveal that the ANSZCO classification system of jobs and occupations has become outdated since the 2006 version. Although there have been some minor updates over the years, it is timely for the comprehensive national review and update that is currently underway. 

Along with other professional associations, ALIA was invited to contribute to this major review. ALIA formed dual working groups to focus our submissions in two key areas: a) Teacher Librarians and b) Librarians, Library Technicians and Library Assistants.

The working group for Teacher Librarians compromised Dr Lyn Hay and Pru Mitchell, together with Jacqui Lucas, Trish Hepworth, Heather Brown and Lisa Lynch (ALIA) who provided invaluable communication and technical support. This group focused on the need for the occupation of Teacher Librarian to be identified separately with a unique unit group code, instead of being subsumed under Primary and Secondary School Teachers. The submission highlighted that the current lack of a specific ANZSCO occupation of Teacher Librarian means that we do not currently have solid data on a significant profession within the education system and cannot effectively track trends.

The second working group comprised Julie Barkman (TAFE NSW), Sae Re Germaine, Sara Davidson and Darren Ryan (CAVAL), Frances ONeil (representing CAUL), Gemma Siemensma (ALIA HLA), Pru Mitchell, along with Jacqui Lucas, Trish Hepworth, Heather Brown and likewise supported by Lisa Lynch (ALIA). The working group also liaised with several other professional organisations including NSLA and LIANZA. The priorities of the second working group’s submission were focused on updating the definitions and tasks of Librarians, Library Technicians and Library Assistants. Our submission noted that all roles are increasingly working in the digital space. Our aim was to highlight the range of unique technical knowledge and skills in evaluating, sourcing, organising, managing and preserving information and collections throughout their whole lifecycle. We also referred to the research skills and delivery of high quality customised trustworthy sources of information to users. We noted that the existing inaccurate descriptions of the Librarian, Library Technician and Library Assistant occupations impact on the industry at various levels: including attracting and retaining people in the profession, understanding of the qualifications, skills and knowledge required and understanding of the breadth depth and variety of work within the industry. 

Thanks are due to everyone who contributed to the working groups and colleagues across the sector who helped to shape and support ALIA’s submission. 
The submission is now with ANZSCO, and we look forward to hearing the outcome in due course.

Heather Brown
Librarian, Education and Sector Standards