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Occupation

Definition

An 'occupation' is defined as a set of jobs that require the performance of similar or identical tasks, and is collected for employed people aged 15 years and over.

A job is a set of tasks performed or designed to be performed by one person for an employer (including self-employment) in return for payment or profit.

Relationship to questionnaire(s)

Data on occupation comes from questions 35 and 36 on the individual form (PDF 395kb).

Subject population

The subject population is the people, families, households or dwellings to whom the variable applies.

The subject population for this variable is the employed census usually resident population aged 15 years and over.

Non-response rate

The 2006 non-response rate was 3.8 percent.

The 2001 non-response rate was 3.5 percent.

Quality Management Strategy priority level

Occupation is a supplementary variable.

The Census Quality Management Strategy assigns a priority level to all census variables.

Supplementary variables do not fit directly in with the main purpose of a census, but are still of importance to certain groups. These variables have third priority in terms of effort and resources.

All data must meet minimum quality standards in order to make it suitable for use.

Comparability with 1996 and 2001 Census data

There are issues affecting the comparability of this data with 1996 and 2001 Census data:

  • The comparability of the 2006 data with 1996 and 2001 data at the most detailed level has been affected by a problem with the automatic allocation of codes during processing. Time series analysis shows inconsistencies as a result of this problem.

Comparability with other data

  • The Household Labour Force Survey (HLFS) publishes employment data by occupation. The census attempts to use similar criteria and question wordings to the HLFS to determine a person's labour force characteristics, such as occupation. However, there are a number of important differences between the two data sources, which mean that direct comparison is not always possible, particularly below the national level and specifically for cross-classifications of variables. The differences between the two data sources include differences in scope, coverage (including under- and over-coverage), timing, non-response, editing practice, question wordings and method of delivery (self administered versus interviewer administered). Additionally, the HLFS is a sample survey. The HLFS is the official measure of employment and unemployment in New Zealand, but, depending on the type of analysis being undertaken, it will often be more appropriate to use census data. Statistics New Zealand can assist data users in determining the best data source for their particular data need.
  • There is a specific comparability issue to be aware of:
    • A sharp increase in 'managers' and a decrease in 'clerks' in the 2006 Census is not matched by results from the Household Labour Force Survey. This may be related to the self-administered nature of the census (compared to the interviewer-administered HLFS) and to respondents reporting their occupation as 'administrator' or 'administration', which is difficult to classify. However the two surveys show a similar pattern for other occupation groups, such as service and sales, trades, agriculture and elementary occupations.

Significant issues

Occupation data at the most detailed level of the classification has been affected by a problem with the automatic allocation of codes during processing. However, most data output on occupation is not at the most detailed level of the classification and so is not affected by this problem. About six percent of occupations at the most detailed level of the classification are believed to be classified incorrectly due to this coding problem. The error was not evenly distributed across occupational categories, so care should be taken when analysing occupation data at the most detailed level.

Other things to be aware of

  • Responses to both occupation and tasks and duties were used in the coding of occupation.
  • Data from the 2006 Census was dual coded to both the 1999 New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations (NZSCO99) and the 2006 Australian and New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations (ANZSCO). Both classifications are used in output. Cross-sectional tables (ie 2006 only) are primarily presented using ANZSCO, and time series tables (ie those that include data from 2001) are primarily presented using NZSCO99.
  • All census data was subject to considerable checks (including edits) during processing and evaluation, to ensure that it meets quality standards and is suitable for use. These checks were applied to data supplied both on paper and on Internet forms. In addition to these quality checks, the Internet form had built-in editing functionality that directed respondents to the appropriate questions and ensured that their responses were valid. As a result of this, data from Internet forms may be of higher overall quality than data from paper forms. The significance of this will depend on the particular type of analysis being done.
  • There were differences between how the forms were completed on the Internet and on paper for this variable:
    • On the Internet form, the response to the occupation question was limited to 80 characters and the response to the 'main tasks and duties' question was limited to 120 characters.
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