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ANZSCO update to help the IT sector | information age

Changes to ANZSCO should help the IT sector. Photo: Shutterstock

The Australian IT industry has the opportunity to better target visa policies and industry development activities by using the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) updated official skills list to ensure that official classifications skills reflect contemporary technologies.

The overhaul of the Australian and New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations (ANZSCO) – a classification system to model the local labor market which was last fully updated in 2013 – comes almost a year after A parliamentary committee has recommended that the system be replaced with an alternative that is “more flexible in adapting to new labor market needs”.

Given that ANZSCO is used to formulate visa policy for skilled migrants in specific sectors, this review highlighted the challenges presented by overly broad skill classifications that did not allow visas to be properly targeted.

At a time when the IT industry needs skills related to important new technologies such as cloud computing, blockchain, cybersecurity, quantum computing, etc., the myriad of IT industry positions ICT is always grouped into a few categories.

These include business and systems analysts and programmers (ANZSCO Group 261); database and system administrators and ICT security specialists (262); ICT networks and support professionals (263); and ICT and telecommunications technicians (313).

These old descriptors, which were created at a time when technologies such as cloud computing and smartphones were in their infancy, only loosely align with many of the areas most in demand today. including emerging technologies such as cloud architectures and mobile application development.

The failure to focus skills development efforts has left companies largely filling roles with a limited pool of entrepreneurs demanding ever-increasing wages for ever-harder-to-find skills.

This situation recently prompted David Fredericks, Secretary of the Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources (DISER), to state that Australia’s ICT sector is “fundamentally a contractor-based industry”. who relies on this pool of talent “to cope with a wave of work that is coming”. the grant process.

ANZSCO for the better

Ensuring that official skills lists reflect current labor market and industry requirements can be important for industry funding and development, but the fast pace of the ICT industry has made it a moving target for government instruments like ANZSCO and the Skilled Occupations List (SOL), which lag industry practice by up to ten years.

Despite acknowledging in August 2018 that a classification review “is desirable”, the ABS has put its overhaul of ANZSCO on the back burner to focus its resources on the 2021 Australian Census.

Early last year, ABS began exploring options for a “phased approach” to updating ANZSCO after announcing it had the “necessary support and resources” to explore new new ways to classify jobs in cybersecurity, agriculture, forestry, fishing and shipbuilding.

This was consistent with work already undertaken by ACS, which in mid-2020 revised its approach to classifying cybersecurity jobs so that applications for skilled migration visas could be properly assessed against specific criteria at cybersecurity.

It is also seeking views on a new way to maintain ANZSCO – tested over the past year – which would avoid infrequent major updates for more regular and phased reviews of industry capabilities conducted with bodies. industries concerned.

In November, the ABS released a partial Australian-only ANZSCO update that reflected the fruits of this approach, introducing changes to several areas, including priority ’emerging professions’ and new codes for specializations. in cybersecurity which were previously grouped under a single ANZSCO code (262112).

The updated ANZSCO now lists the likes of 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 (262116), and more – enabling recruiters, migration specialists and others to better fill the cybersecurity skills gap by offering visas for these specific roles .

This update “represents the first incremental step in a broader program of work”, the ABS said at the time – and with the release of the first large datasets from the 2021 census finally behind it, the organization is now diving into the full ANZSCO. revision.

“In 2021, ABS tested a new targeted approach to updating ANZSCO,” said ANZSCO Director of Review Chris Hinchcliffe, noting that ABS is now accepting submissions on the new approach. and will take a similar approach to reclassify the roles of the construction industry.

“ABS continues to develop the new approach to maintaining ANZSCO to reflect the contemporary labor market and better meet stakeholder needs,” Hinchcliffe said. “Comments will determine a set of proposed changes… [and] help plan future ANZSCO updates. »

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