tion as does ISCO-88 and has eight major groups, 52 minor groups, 282 unit groups, and 1,079 occupations. An occupation is defined as a set of jobs with similar sets of tasks. In 1993, changes likely to be made to ASCO were seen as including (Madden and Tam, 1993):

  • Developing procedures for monitoring changes in industry, vocational education, and training to keep ASCO up to date,
  • A movement toward the use of competencies (specific skills, knowledge, and training designed to meet industry standards) rather than educational qualifications and duration of training and experience as indicators of skill level,
  • Increasing use of job tasks rather than job titles for classifying into occupations, because jobs are becoming broader and titles less reliable indicators of job content, and
  • Modifying the major group structure of ASCO to meet user problems, including the need for career path analysis.
The Netherlands

The Netherlands Standard Classification of Occupations 1992 (NSCO'92) also classifies occupations by skill level and specialization, but it differs primarily in its operational definition of those concepts. This system uses the "most adequate training program, that is the training program that best prepares for the tasks and duties in the job" (Bakker, 1993:273) as the method to identify skill level and specialization for each job. To do this, the Netherlands Standard Classification of Education is used as the basic information to conduct the coding. Skill specialization coding is made according to the major (and minor) educational sectors in the Netherlands, e.g., agriculture, mathematics and natural sciences, and language and culture. Skill level is coded with a five-point scale that combines formal education and length of on-the-job experience. Beyond these higher-level criteria for coding, they include two interesting concepts: main tasks and specific skills. If level and specialization are not adequate, then a list of 128 main tasks is used to differentiate the occupation. Examples of these 128 "task clusters" include "managing supervisors and decision-making general policy," "check, inspect, examine, verify,

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