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National Classifications

Standard Occupational Classification
(SOC 2010)

Country / Area: United Kingdom

Classification category: Occupation classifications

General information
1 (a)Name of the current national classification (full name in official national languages and in English with acronyms in brackets, should be given)Standard Occupational Classification 2010
1 (b)In which language(s) is the classification available?English
1 (c)Can the classification (or information about it) be accessed on the Internet? If yes, please provide the URL.http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/guide-method/classifications/current-standard-classifications/index.html
Classification structure
2 (a)Please describe the structure of the classification: How many levels does the classification have? (Please provide labels, such as “Division”, “Class”) How many categories exist at each level?SOC2010:
9 major groups,
25 sub-major groups
90 minor groups
369 unit groups
2 (b)Please provide examples of the coding system used at each level.
Major GroupSub-Major GroupMinor GroupUnit GroupGroup Title
  111 Chief Executives and Senior Officials
   1115Chief executives and senior officials
   1116Elected officers and representatives
Relationship to international standards
3 (a)Is this classification based on (or linked to) an international standard classification? If yes, please describe.The divisions between major groups also reflect the important aim of aligning SOC as far as possible with the international classification (ISCO08), in which major groups are distinguished on similar criteria.
3 (b)Is the classification structure identical to the international standard or, if not, how does it differ? (e.g. have additional levels been added to the international standard or have changes been made within the level of the international structure, such as aggregations or additional breakdowns)The UK classification for coding occupation is not identical to ISCO08 but where possible during the 2010 revision it was aligned. SOC2010 is a standalone version and therefore no additional levels or breakdowns have been added.
3 (c)Please describe deviations from the international standard (in terms of structure, methodology or application rules). Please use examples, if a general statement is not possible.There is difference at the Major Group level between ISCO08 and SOC2010. At the Major Group level ISCO08 has 10 Major groups while SOC2010 has 9 Major groups
Other differences include:
• SOC2010 Major group 5 Skilled Trades Occupation is equivalent to ISCO08 Major Group 7 Craft and related workers
• SOC2010 Major Group 7 Sales and Customer Service Occupation and Major Group 6 Caring, Leisure and Other Service Occupations equates to ISCO08 Major Group 5 Service and sales workers
• ISCO08 has a separate Major Group 6 for Skilled agricultural, forestry and fishing workers whereas in SOC2010 it is not possible to have such specific groups
• ISCO08 has a separate Major Group 0 for Armed Forces Occupations. Also SOC2010 splits the armed forces into Commissioned Officers and other ranks ISCO08 splits armed forces into Commissioned Officers, Non-commissioned Officers and Other ranks.
• ISCO08 tends to automatically code 'Engineers' to Major Group 2 Professionals whereas in the UK the term engineer is not necessarily professional, and therefore SOC2010 methodology splits engineers between Major Group 2 Professional Occupations and Major Group 5 Skilled Trades Occupations
3 (d)At what level of the international standard can data be reported for international comparison? (Please provide examples of programmes / indicators if reporting takes place at different levels of the classification.)Comparisons can be reported at the four digit unit group level. All SOC Unit Groups (369) can be mapped to the lowest level of ISCO08. It has not been possible to map the UK national version to all ISCO08 Unit Groups. There are 143 ISCO08 Unit Groups that do not map to the UK nation version.
3 (e)If no links to international classifications exist or no international standard is used, please state if there are plans to use international norms in the future.There are no plans to move to the international version.
Classification uses
4 (a)Please state for which statistical purposes (surveys etc.) this classification is used and if there are users outside of the Statistical Office. Please indicate at which level the classification is used for data collection and for data publishing.The SOC is a key variable for determining a range of social statistics and is used in all major surveys and other data collections by the Statistical Office. Data is collected at the four digit level and can be released at four levels where possible.
4 (b)Please give the names of institutions that use the classification for non-statistical purposes (as opposed to statistical purposes in question 4(a)). Also indicate the kind of use (e.g. tax offices, social security, customs, enterprise register, employment services, work permits etc.)Most government departments including UK Border Agency, HMRC (tax office), the Department for Work and Pension use the national standard albeit not the most current version.
Most other departments such as the Alliance of Sector Skills Councils, local governments, county councils, universities and Departments of Media, Culture, Sport and Education use the national standard (SOC). Again data is collected at the four digit level and is released where possible at the four digit level.
Classifications & Harmonisation Unit supply the classification but do not constantly monitor who uses it and for what purpose.
4 (c)Please indicate if alternative classifications are used by other institutions of the economy. Are these classifications available and useful for the Statistical Office?No other standard is used for the collection of occupation by this statistical office.
Implementation / revision status
5 (a)Please state the date of the official adoption of the classification. If not yet adopted, please indicate the current state (e.g. in development, sent for approval, in printing, ready to be distributed etc.)The current SOC classification was adopted in 2010; The next revision will not be until 2020.
5 (b)Please state the date of use of the classification for individual statistical programmes.All statistical programmes moved to SOC2010 during 2011. Statistical programmes recoded the 2010 data to SOC2010.
5 (c)Are there existing plans for revision or update of the current classification?SOC is revised every ten years, the last revision being 2010. The next revision will be 2020.
5 (d)Name of former (previous) national classification (full name in both national tongue and in English with acronyms in brackets, should be given)Standard Occupation Classification 2000 (SOC2000)
Standard Occupation Classification 1990 (SOC1990)
5 (e)Please describe the link of the former classification to international classificationsSOC1990 and SOC2000 were mapped to a derivative of the ISCO88 (ISCO88COM). SOC 1990 and SOC2000 were aligned wherever possible to ISCO88COM.
5 (f)Please describe the structure of the former classification and indicate the number of items at each level of the classification. (similar to question 2(a))SOC2000:
9 nine major groups
25 sub-major groups
81 minor groups
353 unit groups
5 (g)Do conversion tables exist between the former and current classification?Yes, as a download from the link below:


5 (h)When was the former classification implemented?The former classification was implemented in 2000. All statistical programmes moved to SOC2000 during 2001. Statistical programmes recoded the 2000 data to SOC2000.
5 (i)Are statistical data still collected or published according to the former classification? Please indicate if this statistical data is collected or published by the Statistical Office or elsewhere.The statistical office use only the current SOC2010. We supply the former classification, we do not monitor who uses it and for what purpose.
Supporting documents
6 (a)Have national explanatory notes and/or guidelines been elaborated?Yes
6 (b)Do correspondence tables exist between the national and the international classifications (if applicable)?Yes, to be released October 2012
6 (c)Are correspondence tables between alternative and current classification available (if applicable)?No
6 (d)Does a national coding index exist?Yes
6 (e)Is the classification available in electronic form? If yes, in which formats is it available?(e.g. PDF, TXT, Excel, XML)Yes, the index is formatted in Excel while the classifications themselves are in PDF and HTML and are able from the website


6 (f)Are the correspondence tables or indexes available in electronic form?Yes, both correspondence tables and indexes are available electronically.
Contact information
7 (a)Name of institution / office responsible for the development and maintenance of the classificationOffice for National Statistics, via Classifications and Harmonisation Unit
7 (b)Contact address, phone number, e-mail or website for public information and inquiryOffice for National Statistics
Classifications and Harmonisation Unit
Segensworth Road
PO15 5RR
Tel: +44 (0)1329 444388
Email: Occupation.information@ons.gsi.gov.uk
Other comments
9 (a)Please provide any other information on this classification that you consider relevantNone

Source: UN questionnaire, 8/30/2012