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2023 ANZSCO Payroll Survey

The ANZSCO (Australia & New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations) is a skilled-based classification register to categorise all
occupations and jobs in Australia including payroll.

The Australian Government uses this register to collect and disseminate all official stats on jobs and it is a key tenet of the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS). Its data is used to inform and support Government policy, some of which

  • The National Census of population and professional occupations,
  • Housing,
  • Vocational education and training,
  • Education funding (billions) for Universities and RTOs,
  • Skilled migration programs.
  • Funded initiatives to improve the uptake of education and workers in targeted segments.

The ANZSCO “groups” occupations and every four years, (between each census) a brief window opens up for consultation whereby the public including associations can make a case for change in the register.

Payroll is considered by the Australian Government as a low skill profession, which is part of the wider 551 series of occupations (Accounting Clerks and Bookeepers).

AWCC decided to conduct a survey designed on assessing the current skill and education level of the payroll profession.

Click here to read more about ANZSCO and the AWCC’s payroll survey.

Payroll Clerks are listed as a skill level 4 occupation, which is the second lowest skill level occupation in the ANZSCO. 

Additionally, this low skill level and underrepresented classification causes the following problems for the payroll profession.

  • Allows it to be partitioned by other professions, including HR and accounting.
  • Does not ensure it has a clear and recognised function with regard to Workforce Compliance, including policy and advocacy for new laws which payroll must administer, these range from superannuation to awards and currently “under draft” federal wage-theft legislation.
  • Provides barriers for the profession to grow, in both the eyes of the state (all nine Australian Governments) for policy development, to educational funding and assistance (no Australian University teaches payroll, or intends to), and the ability to grow and identify specialisations such as shift roster/time and attendance.
  • Lack of recognition for the only group of experts responsible for the operational application of Australia’s labour and related legislation, including its payroll, taxation and superannuation.
  • Misalignment of payroll within job seeking platforms that list payroll as a part of accounting or bookkeeping and not as its own profession, further prohibiting payroll to list existing or emerging specialisations.

The purpose of the survey was to commence work on the current education and skilling level of the profession, in addition to identifying any specialisations, and gaps pertaining to both education and skilling.

Click here to see the full survey results including the summary infographic.

From the survey results, AWCC concluded the following:
1. The ANZSCO job desciption was so far out of date, it was unrecognisable when compared to what payroll currently does.
2. Skill level 4 is incorrect, payroll is at least skill level 2. Skill level 1 could not be assigned as there is no degree currently available which adequately encapsulates the education required to be proficient in payroll.
3. There were at least four specialisations identified in payroll.
4. Payroll is a profession (not a specialisation) and therefore, should be classified or group as its own profession within ANZSCO.

The submission to Government based on the survey results contained the following recommendations:

  1. The disbandment of Payroll Clerks (skill level 4) under Accounting Clerks & Bookkeepers,
  2. The creation of Payroll Professionals (skill level 2) within the ANZSCO Professional Stream (2 series),
  3. The creation of x4 specialisations under Payroll Professionals and
  4. The creation of Payroll Managers within the 132 (Business Administration Managers) Stream.

Click here to read the full submission.

AWCC Ltd was successful in its submission for the following updates to be made for the Payroll Profession.

– Creation of Payroll Manager, and at skill level 2,
– Disbandment of Payroll Clerks,
– Creation of Payroll Officer (however this is to remain at skill level 4), and
– Removal of Payroll from ANZSCO 551 series (Accounting Clerks and Bookkeepers) and creation of a new separate classification for Payroll and its Specialisations (this is to be tabled for a later date whereby Payroll may become part of a new cluster along with Safety, Workforce Compliance and Industrial Relations).

Click here to read the full response.