This paper introduces a new occupational status scale, the Australian Socioeconomic Index 2006 (AUSEI06), which can be used to explore a wide range of equity issues relating to educational aspirations, early school leaving, access to higher education, literacy and numeracy levels, and other aspects of educational access, achievement, and attainment. AUSEI06 was developed in response to the introduction of the Australian and New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations (ANZSCO) by the Australian Bureau of Statistics. The scale provides a simple means for educational researchers to convert ANZSCO codes into more sociologically meaningful occupational status scores. The aims of this paper are fourfold: to outline AUSEI06’s theoretical underpinnings; to describe the development of the scale; to validate it for use in educational contexts; and to offer some practical suggestions for its use. AUSEI06 is a socioeconomic index. The scaling of occupations is based upon the assumption that occupations provide the means of converting a person’s human capital (education) into material rewards (income). That is, the relationships between education, occupation, and income are conceptualized in terms of a simple causal chain whereby educational effects on earnings are mediated, as far as possible, by occupational attainment. Data from the 2006 Census were used to generate the AUSEI06 scale. An iterative scaling algorithm, first developed for the International Socioeconomic Index (ISEI), was used to scale occupations in such a manner as to maximize the indirect effect of education on earnings (via occupation) while simultaneously minimizing its direct effect on earnings. The resultant AUSEI06 scale ranges from zero to 100, with labourers at the bottom of the scale and medical practitioners at the top.
- Occupational status scale,
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