3.5 Technology tools

Technology tools are a technology, such as software or hardware, used within an occupation. Common technology tools, such as search engines and email, are featured across most occupations, and these are captured in the core competency of digital engagement. The remaining technology tools are highly specialised and occupation-specific, such as computer-aided design and carbon monoxide analysing equipment.

The data for the technology tools is originally sourced from a combination of ‘software’ and ‘tools’ found in the O*NET occupation data for the United States Standard Occupational Classification.

These occupations have been mapped to the Australian occupational classification (ANZSCO), and the technology tools have been adjusted for the Australian context by cross-reference with the Burning Glass Technologies Australian job ads data.

While O*NET contains a vast dictionary of technology tools, there are three significant drawbacks:

  • it was not developed for the Australian context
  • the list is extensive with over 16,000 tools (which is contrary to the idea of transferability)
  • it does not provide a level of importance for the skill.

We only wanted to consider tools that are in common use in Australia, so we used Burning Glass job advertisement data to filter out low relevance skills. For example, for Accountants we removed ‘Sage 50 Accounting’ (software popular in the USA) because it is minimally referenced in Australian job advertisements. However, MYOB is in high demand in Australia despite being absent from the O*net taxonomy, so we added it to the Classification.

This process required significant data cleaning and natural language processing. We used fuzzy matching for skills which are in both taxonomies. We then manually searched for digital skills in Burning Glass which are not in O*NET, such as MYOB, Xero, etc. Then we conducted an extensive review of the results to ensure the matchings and the name of the skills were correct.

As a parallel refinement process, we also used other data sources to identify whether O*NET captures all the technology tools. This involved examining results from the NSC’s ‘Survey of Employers Recruitment Experiences’ which asked employers the digital skills they use in their work, as well as exploring popular skills in Burning Glass Technologies data. The research identified several skills for supplementation.  

The technology tools were then manually checked to confirm that they met the definitions of technology tools we had determined. Some were found to not match this definition and so were manually removed.

Lastly, individual technologies with similar functionalities were aggregated together to produce the final technology tools by using the technology family-level of O*Net. For example, the technology tool ‘Accounting software’ consists of Xero, MYOB BusinessEssentials, Fund accounting software, Tax software and more. Noting the challenges of the O*NET and Burning Glass matching, aggregation makes the results more robust as well as improving transferability between occupations.

Ranking the technology tools

The technology tools are ranked according to an intensity score which measures their prevalence in job ads using Burning Glass. For a technology tool we measure the proportion of job ads in an occupation that require that technology tool. For individual technology tool examples within a technology tool, we measure its prevalence across all occupations. 

This approach allows us to rank the prevalence of technology tools within an occupation, and of technology tool examples within a technology tool. In some cases, however, technology tools were manually supplemented and not available in Burning Glass data and have an intensity score of zero, leading them to have the lowest possible rank.

An example of technology tools used by a specific occupation is shown (see Table 4) as well as examples of technology tools commonly used in Australia (see Table 5).

Table 4. Example of Technology Tools by Occupation
ANZSCO Code ANZSCO Title Technology Tool Technology Tool Ranking
221111 Accountant (General) Enterprise resource planning ERP software 1
221111 Accountant (General) Accounting software 2
221111 Accountant (General) Data base reporting software 3
221111 Accountant (General) Data base user interface and query software 4
221111 Accountant (General) Financial analysis software 5
Table 5. Technology Tools Examples
Technology Tool Technology Tool Examples Technology Tool Ranking
Accounting software MYOB BusinessEssentials 1
Accounting software Fund accounting software 2
Accounting software Intuit QuickBooks 3
Accounting software Xero 4
Accounting software Tax software 5

Deduplicating technology tools

Since O*Net maintains such a large taxonomy of individual technologies, in some cases their groupings can have significant overlap, resulting in technology tools that are highly related or even duplicate. This presents a problem for consistency between occupations – for example, the O*Net occupation ‘Cashiers’ has the technology ‘Point of sale POS software’, while the occupation ‘Travel Agents’ has the technology ‘Point of sale POS terminal’, ultimately limiting their transferability. In the Skills Classification we’ve attempted to reconcile these inconsistencies by combining technology tools that are deemed too similar.

Table 6. Examples of Duplicate Technology Tools
EFTPOS and card reading machines GPS receivers
Electronic funds transfer point of sale equipment Global positioning system GPS receiver
Bar coding software Vehicular GPS
Point of sale POS terminal Route navigation software
Point of sale POS software GPS receivers
Point of sale POS receipt printers Mobile location-based services software
Magnetic stripe readers and encoders  

Common technology tools

Several technology tools are so universal in 2021 that they are likely to be used by most or all occupations.

Rather than being individually listed against each occupation, we felt these common technology tools were best represented through the Digital Engagement core competency. This has the effect of ensuring the remaining technology tools only refer to more specialised technologies that are likely to be meaningfully different between occupations. It also prevents exaggerated transferability between occupations when they share only common technology tools.

The common Technology Tools included in the Digital Engagement core competency are:

  • Email and calendar software
  • Word processing software
  • Spreadsheet software
  • Presentation software
  • Search engine and information retrieval software