Executive summary

The National Skills Commission (NSC) has released the beta version of its Australian Skills Classification in an interactive online interface.

To encourage take up of this new resource, the CSV files of the complete classification are also available for download.   

The Classification offers a common language of skills, enabling stakeholders to identify and articulate skills using a comprehensive and universal taxonomy.        

The NSC developed the classification system using a mix of machine learning and human judgement and drew on different data sources including O*Net and the Australian Employability Skills Framework. Employer surveys, Australian job advertisement data, and education and training course documentation were used for validation and refinement purposes.

The NSC will continuously expand and amend the Classification using stakeholder feedback and a data driven methodology.

The dynamic nature of the Classification means it can be used to help identify changes to occupations not yet picked up in traditional labour market data.

The Classification offers a deeper understanding of the labour market. Rather than using occupations or qualifications as proxies for skills, it offers a new way of identifying the range of skills linked to occupations.

The Classification also identifies common and transferable skills between occupations, and reveals the connections within, and across, occupations at the level of skills. 

The Australian Skills Classification structure

The Classification contains three categories of skills:

  • core competencies: commonly used in all occupations (sometimes called ‘soft skills’ or ‘employability skills’)
  • specialist tasks: work activities a person undertakes specific to a job
  • technology tools: a technology, such as software or hardware, used within an occupation.

Occupation profiles

The Classification currently provides occupation profiles outlining the core competencies, specialist tasks and technology tools for 600 occupations.

These profiles are detailed but not fully comprehensive, as granular-level detail can make it harder to recognise common and transferable skills.

Instead, this framework facilitates comparisons, offering data-driven insights into the relationships of skills and occupations.

Skills clusters

The Classification shows how skills are distributed across occupations, forming skills clusters of similar specialist tasks.  

Skills clusters provide another way to conceptualise the distribution of skills across the labour market at a deeper level than occupation classifications or qualifications.

This new perspective illustrates the relationships – and potential transferability – of specialist tasks across occupations.

Practical and strategic applications

The Classification can improve job matching by systematically linking the skills required in one occupation to another. This can help workers identify common and transferable skills, skills gaps and training opportunities.

The Classification also provides a more detailed framework to identify critical skills and potential labour market skills gaps. Combined with other information, this resource can help stakeholders including training sectors, industry and governments to research and develop new training options. 

Widespread adoption of this skills framework can help employers in multiple sectors to better access skilled workers, and offer working-age Australians opportunities for skills development, employment and career advancement.

Stakeholder engagement

The NSC introduced the Australian Skills Classification in its July 2020 report, A snapshot in time: The Australian labour market and COVID-19. This report included a chart outlining the competency level required for core competencies within the 10 largest employing occupations in Australia.

The NSC received stakeholder feedback on one of these occupations and expanded and amended the occupation profiles using this feedback and data driven methodology.

With the release of the online interface and downloadable CSV files, the NSC invites further stakeholder engagement.

The NSC encourages stakeholders to explore the classification and see how it can add value to their operations.

Please provide feedback here.