Standards and Classification systems (1)

One thing I frequently get asked questions about is classification systems. How are jobs classified and where does the classification system come from? Are classification systems the same in the UK and in other countries? How are job classifications related to courses? And how does LMI for All use classification systems?

In this and a following post I will try to answer some of those questions. In the UK jobs are classified according to the Standard Occupation System 2010 (SOC 2010) which was an updated version of the previous SOC2000 classification. The Standard Occupational Classification, first introduced in 1990, is maintained by the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

Occupations are divided into groups and ONS explains that “the major group structure is a set of broad occupational categories that are designed to be useful in bringing together unit groups which are similar in terms of the qualifications, training, skills and experience commonly associated with the competent performance of work tasks.

SOC 2010 has nine major groups and 25 sub-major groups with 90 minor groups and 369 unit groups. The following table provides a list of the major groups and the general nature of qualifications, training and experience for occupations in the major group.

Major group General nature of qualifications, training and experience for occupations in the major group
Managers, directors and senior officials A significant amount of knowledge and experience of the production processes and service requirements associated with the efficient functioning of organisations and businesses.
Professional occupations A degree or equivalent qualification, with some occupations requiring postgraduate qualifications and/or a formal period of experience-related training.
Associate professional and technical occupations An associated high-level vocational qualification, often involving a substantial period of full-time training or further study.  Some additional task-related training is usually provided through a formal period of induction.
Administrative and secretarial occupations A good standard of general education.  Certain occupations will require further additional vocational training to a well-defined standard (e.g. office skills).
Skilled trades occupations A substantial period of training, often provided by means of a work based training programme.
Caring, leisure and other service occupations A good standard of general education. Certain occupations will require further additional vocational training, often provided by means of a work-based training programme.
Sales and customer service occupations A general education and a programme of work-based training related to Sales procedures. Some occupations require additional specific technical knowledge but are included in this major group because the primary task involves selling.
Process, plant and machine operatives The knowledge and experience necessary to operate vehicles and other mobile and stationary machinery, to operate and monitor industrial plant and equipment, to assemble products from component parts according to strict rules and procedures and subject assembled parts to routine tests. Most occupations in this major group will specify a minimum standard of competence for associated tasks and will have a related period of formal training.
Elementary occupations Occupations classified at this level will usually require a minimum general level of education (that is, that which is acquired by the end of the period of compulsory education). Some occupations at this level will also have short periods of work-related training in areas such as health and safety, food hygiene, and customer service requirements.

The next edition of SOC is expected in 2020 and work is already underway. The revisions are undertaken both to help employers and other users in using SOC and also to reflect the changing use of job descriptions and changes in employment. For instance, many more jobs include manager in the job title than would have been 20 years ago. At the same time there has been a rapid growth of jobs in the service sector and in computer based occupations, with the need for new descriptions to reflect this.

Standard Occupational Classification is sometimes mixed with the Standard Industrial Classification system (SIC). As the names imply while SOC describes and classifies occupations SIC provides a classification system for different industries.

One question that we are frequently asked about with LMI for All is why we cannot provide a breakdown of employment in different occupations at a city or local level. Certainly, it would be useful for job seekers and for people planning their career. But employment figures in occupations are derived from a quarterly survey – the Labour Force Survey – and the sample size is simply too small to provide reliable data at local level.

Also in some occupations we do not have sufficient data to provide numbers at a unit group level. In this case we revert to minor group data.

In the next article I will look at the relation between SOC 2010 and other international classification systems.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jisc Innovation Lab

The UK JISC organisation which supports universities in the development and use of new technologies has also initiated an innovation Laboratory working with data. They are investigating how the huge and diverse sources of data that are now available be better used to address and inform key policy decisions in education and training, in ways that meet both the requirements of national and regional agencies and also the local nuances and concerns of colleges serving immediate communities (Footring, 2017).

The Jisc College Analytics Lab[1] digital modelling environment provides a means to address complex practice and policy questions using highly diverse sources of data. By engaging both with colleges, with their command of the details of learner data, and regional and national planning agencies, that need to aggregate intelligence across wider areas in order to generate policy recommendations.

In particular, Jisc are focusing on local area data to inform strategic planning and decision making. They say “presenting the information in a visual and interactive way helps leaders to communicate their vision and ideas to their funders, staff teams, students and the wider community.” However, they have found is that there is a wide variation in the effectiveness of the way in which colleges make use of the data available to them and a significant duplication of similar core processes across colleges.

The Analytics Lab environment provides a secure technical, legal and project management framework to enable the creation of new, experimental data dashboards. Participants use a mix of open and secure data from both new and established sources, to create visualisations and dashboards which address key business questions.

[1] https://innovationfes.jiscinvolve.org/wp/2017/04/03/college-analytics/

Data update schedule

As new data is published the LMI for All Database is regularly updated. The table below provides the schedule for updates in the next nine months.

Dataset to be updated

Description

Date of API update

O*NET Update using O*Net version 21 data relating to skills,
interests, knowledge and abilities by occupation
January 2017
Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings (ASHE) ASHE November 2016 data for pay and hours estimates May 2017

LMI for All to move to Department for Education

Since the last post on the future of LMI for All, Robert Halfon (Minster of State for Education) provided a statement to parliament on the future of UKCES.  He confirmed that LMI for All will now move to the Department for Education following the reorganisation of the Department for Business Innovation and Skills.  We expect the transfer to take place in September.

To cover the period of the transfer and beyond, Warwick Institute for Employment Research (IER) and its partners have been reappointed to provide the LMI for All service.  In the year ahead, the existing service will be developed in a number of ways including, improved infrastructure and reliability, new engagement and dissemination activities, and a redeveloped ‘Careerometer’ widget.  Data in the API will continue to be refreshed when updates are available. DfE will also take stock of the project and consider its next phase of development.

Please keep an eye on the website and twitter feed for information.   In the meantime you can still contact us at LMIforAll.dfe@education.gov.uk.

UKCES’s LMI for All moves to BIS

The UK Commission for Employment and Skills’ (UKCES) LMI for All online data portal will continue to operate under the management of the Department for Business Innovation and Skills (BIS).

UKCES has announced that the running of their LMI (Labour Market Information) for All tool, which gives easy access to labour market data, will be transferred to BIS. This transfer will take place over the next year and allow LMI for All to remain after funding for UKCES is withdrawn.

Peter Glover, Project Manager for LMI for All, said:

“We intend to fulfill our existing plans around data development and refreshment as set out on the LMI for All website.  We will also endeavour to ensure that there is continuity of service throughout the transition period.”

LMI for All is a tool which brings together existing sources of high quality, reliable labour market information. It is used by employers, career service providers and individuals to access data which forms the basis of careers advice and business decisions.

It was announced funding would be withdraw from UKCES in the Autumn Statement last year. This means any continuing UKCES products or services will have to be transferred elsewhere.

Until further notice the project will be contactable via LMIforAll.dfe@education.gov.uk.