How should we change the Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) in response to the changing world of work?

I’m on the steering group for the revision of the Standard Occupational Classification (S0C). If your aren’t already familiar with the SOC, it is basically a list of occupations that people do. As the economy evolves and develops this standard list becomes less relevant as jobs change and the relative size of occupations shift. This is a problem because the SOC is used by government, researchers and careers professionals to describe the labour market. If it goes out of date it reduces our capacity to describe the labour market accurately.

Some users of SOC have expressed a need for a greater level of detail than is currently available. In response to this, the Office of National Statistics (ONS) is working with The University of Warwick’s Institute for Employment Research (IER) to launch a stakeholder engagement exercise exploring the level and nature of requirements. 

For now, the remit of the work remains exploratory and there are currently no plans to publish statistics to this level. However, to help ensure the extended SOC is fit for user need, we want to hear from as many users as possible.

So if you use the SOC in any way, we’d like you to tell us what you think about how it should develop.

  • You can share your views by completing the online survey here
  • More information relating to the project can be accessed here
  • You can contact the project team directly by emailing

This project could help shape the workforce of the future… so don’t miss your chance to be involved!

One comment

  1. I have used the NOC in Canada which is the equivalent although it is not always a critical piece of my coaching. More likely to use what is available in Alberta through Occupation Profiles or the LMI reports. It is apparently a difficult report to keep up to date and in Canada at the Federal level it is typically several years between updates. Definitely important to keep up with the changing nature of specific types of work and in some cases the actual job title has been altered if only because of automation and ICT. Important to remember that statistics are indicators and often little more than opinions not facts and may not be important until they become a trend. A questions that is not asked often enough is whether it matters to a young person now that some occupation they are interested in may be eliminated in 5 or 10 years. If career path change theory is accurate they will have moved on anyway

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