Occupational descriptions


Data source: Office for National Statistics

Provision: Description of occupational role and common tasks associated with the role based on UK Standard Occupation Classification (SOC) index at 4-digit level

Update: minor updates when required

Questions you can ask of the data:

  • What is this occupation about?
  • What are the common tasks associated with a particular occupation?

Example of visualised data:

Example of occupational descriptions data visualised in Careerometer

Source: Careerometer 2

Description of the dataset and provenance

The Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) is a common classification of occupational information for the UK. Within the context of the classification jobs are classified in terms of their skill level and skill content. It is used for career information to labour market entrants, job matching by employment agencies and the development of government labour market policies. SOC2010 is the latest update.

The occupational descriptions dataset provides a detailed structure of SOC2010 occupations together with descriptions for each occupation. An occupational description is an account of the main tasks and duties in a set of jobs, which are characterised by a high degree of similarity. More information is available here.
More details on the methodology, structure and descriptions are available online:

  • Volume 1 outlines the background, resources, concepts, and processes of the Standard Occupational Classification.
  • Volume 2 consists of a detailed alphabetical index of job titles, giving both the SOC2000 and SOC2010 Unit Group to which each is assigned.

SOC2010 structure is available from the ONS website.

Details of the owner / curator

The Standard Occupational Classification in one of three widely used classifications in the UK used and promoted by the Office for National Statistics (ONS). Other classifications available include the Standard Industrial Classifications (SIC) and National Statistics Socioeconomic
Classification (NS-SEC). These common statistical frames, definitions and classifications are promoted and used the Office for National Statistics. See: Elias, P. and Birch, M. (2010). SOC2010: Revision of the Standard Occupational Classification. IER, University of Warwick.

Known quality issues with data

The index may not always yield an appropriate code. Jobs are not static and change with innovation and the introduction of new technologies, changes in the organisation of work, revisions to occupational training and qualification requirements. Therefore, the classification will need to adjusted from time to time to ensure the classification reflects new areas of work, associated training and qualification requirements.

Quality control processes

Not applicable.

Accuracy of data

See above, Known quality issues with data.

Frequency of update

Does the data underlying the API change over time?

Regular reviews of standard classifications are conducted to ensure that economic and social changes are reflected in the classification and, where relevant and possible, that the classification is comparable with European and international standards.

To date, a ten year cycle has been adopted by ONS for the revision of the UK national occupational classification. The next revision is due in 2020. The LMI for All team are preparing for this change.

Will the data go out of date?

The occupational structure and descriptions are as accurate as they can be at the time they are produced. It is reviewed regularly by ONS.

Does the data you capture change on at least a daily basis?

Not applicable.

What type of dataset series is this?

Not applicable.

Is a feed of changes made available?


How frequently do you create a new release?

This will be reviewed when a new the standard occupational classification is released.

What is the delay between creating a dataset and publishing it?

To be decided.

Do you also provide dumps of the dataset?


Will the data be corrected if they contain errors?


Disclosure and confidentiality

The Department for Education complies with all applicable Data Protection laws in the UK.