The National Occupational Classification (NOC) system is used by Federal statistical agencies to classify workers into occupational categories for the purpose of collecting, calculating, or disseminating data. Occupations with similar job duties, and in some cases skills, education, and/or training, are grouped together. The NOC 2021 system uses codes to divide occupations into five levels: Broad Category (one digit), Major groups (two digit), Sub-major groups (three digit), Minor groups (four digit), and Unit groups, or detailed occupations (five digit).
Read this introduction article on their website for greater depth of information:
NOC 2021 Hierarchy
Number of categories
1-digit and first digit of all codes
The Broad Category (first digit) of the classification represents the occupational categorization which is defined by the type of work performed, the field of study, or the industry of employment. There are 10 Broad categories in NOC 2021 Version 1.0.
2-digit representing the broad category code and the TEER code
The Major Group (first and second digits) of the classification is represented by the Broad occupational categorization (first digit) and TEER categorization (second digit) together. A major group also encompasses several sub-major groups and thus represents the two-digit code used by the NOC. There are 45 major groups in NOC 2021 Version 1.0.
The Sub-major Group (3-digit) of the classification represents the aggregation of several minor groups and thus represents the three-digit code used by the NOC. There are 89 sub-major groups in NOC 2021 Version 1.0.
The Minor Group (4-digit) of the classification represents the domain in which an occupation is carried out (occupational domain). It is an aggregation of several unit groups and thus represents the four-digit code used by the NOC. There are 162 minor groups in NOC 2021 Version 1.0.
The Unit Group (5-digit) of the classification is the most detailed level of the classification and represents one or several occupations combined together within the NOC. There are 516 units groups in NOC 2021 Version 1.0.
Example of Hierarchy
NOC 2021 V1.0 Code
NOC 2021 V1.0 Title
Broad occupational group
Occupations in education, law and social, community and government services
Professional occupations in law, education, social, community and government services
Professional occupations in law
Judges, lawyers and Quebec notaries
Lawyers and Quebec notaries
Similar to LOT “Requirement Levels” and ONET “Job Zones”. NOC TEER’s differ in that their “highest” tier uses a lesser digit (0), while ONET JobZones use a greater digit (5) to represent it’s highest tier.
TEER stands for Training, Education, Experience and Responsibility. The TEER categorization defines the requirements of the occupation by considering the type of training, education and experience required for entry, as well as the complexities and responsibilities typical of an occupation. Each TEER category reflects commonly accepted paths to employment in an occupation. In general, the greater the range and complexity of occupational tasks, the greater the amount of formal education and training, previous experience, on-the-job training, and in some instance’s responsibility, required to competently perform the set of tasks for that occupation. There are 6 TEER categories in NOC 2021 Version 1.0. The TEER Category is represented by the second digit of the NOC code.
NOC TEER’s for 2021 4-digit Minor Group occupations and 5-digit Unit Group occupations and can be viewed here.
See more on NOC’s website here.
When the second digit in the NOC code is:
The NOC 2021 V1.0 Training, Education, Experience and Responsibility (TEER)
Completion of a university degree (bachelor's, master's or doctorate);
Completion of a post-secondary education program of two to three years at community college, institute of technology or CÉGEP;
Completion of a post-secondary education program of less than two years at community college, institute of technology or CÉGEP;
Completion of secondary school;
Short work demonstration and no formal educational requirements.
Senior Management NOC Occupations
The Lightcast data leadership team has decided to classify Senior Managers for NOC 2021 into a consolidated code.
The following NOC codes; 00011, 00012, 00013, 00014, and 00015, have been consolidated into one code, 00018, for
Senior managers - public and private sector.
This has been done to align with LMI government released data and demand data
NOC 2021 CODE
NOC 2021 NAME
Senior government managers and officials
Senior managers - financial, communications and other business services
Senior managers - health, education, social and community services and membership organizations
Senior managers - trade, broadcasting and other services
Senior managers - construction, transportation, production and utilities
LIGHTCAST CONSOLIDATED NOC 2021 CODE
LIGHTCAST CONSOLIDATED NOC 2021 NAME
LIGHTCAST CONSOLIDATED NOC 2021 DESCRIPTION
Senior managers in the private sector are government managers and officials, appointed by elected representatives or legislative bodies to plan, organize, direct, control, and evaluate the major activities of municipal, regional, provincial, territorial, or federal departments. They work alongside middle managers to establish objectives and develop policies in accordance with legislation. Senior managers in the private sector are upper level chief’s and executive’s who lead senior managers in various industries such as telecommunications, finance, insurance, real estate, data processing, and business services, where they plan, organize, and evaluate operations to achieve set goals, formulating policies, and work with a board of directors. This NOC code has been created by Lightcast for the consolidation of NOC codes 00011, 00012, 00013, 00014, 00015 to follow Canadian government publishing standards.
TEER Information for consolidated code 00018:
When a unit group ends with a “9”, it is used to classify occupations in an appropriate “other” occupation when a grouping does not account for all the workers in a group, even though such workers may perform distinct sets of work activities. These occupational groups are identified in their title by ‘‘Other’’ appearing at the beginning of the title. “Other” titles exist at the sub-group, minor group or unit group level, for example, Sub-major group 729 – Other technical trades; Minor group 2139 – Other engineers; and Unit group 32209 - Other practitioners of natural healing.
This “Unclassified” NOC code is custom made by Lightcast for the purpose of document classification and was not developed or officially released by the makers of the NOC taxonomy. When a posting, profile, or government taxonomy occupation concept is unidentifiable or inadequately detailed, is it classified or mapped to the Unclassified NOC Unit Group concept (5-digit taxonomy ID X9999). There is an “Unclassified” concept for every level of the NOC (5 levels).
Unclassified Broad Category
Unclassified Major Group
Unclassified Sub-major Group
Unclassified Minor Group
Unclassified Unit Group
How the taxonomy was developed:
The NOC system is developed by the Government of Canada in consultation with stakeholders, including employers, trade unions, and professional associations. The development process involves extensive research and analysis of labour market trends, as well as consultation with experts in the field. The NOC system is revised periodically to reflect changes in the Canadian labour market.
How it relates to the U.S. SOC taxonomy
The NOC system and the U.S. Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) system share a common structure of hierarchical levels, but the specific occupations and codes differ. For example, the NOC system includes a broader range of occupational categories specific to the Canadian labour market, such as natural resources, agriculture, and related production. The SOC system, on the other hand, includes a broader range of categories specific to the U.S. labour market, such as transportation and material moving. Additionally, the SOC system is more granular, with their lowest tier having 867 detailed SOC occupations at level 4. The O*NET system further expands the U.S. SOC system to 1,016 occupation concepts.
What the taxonomy is used for
The NOC system is used by employers, policymakers, educators, and researchers to make informed decisions about workforce development, job training programs, and labour market policy. It is also used by government agencies to monitor and evaluate the effectiveness of their policies and programs.
What types of data the Government of Canada publishes for these occupations
The Government of Canada publishes a wide variety of data for occupations classified under the NOC system, including employment and wage statistics, job vacancies, and labour force survey data. This information is available on the Government of Canada's Job Bank website (https://www.jobbank.gc.ca/). Additionally, the NOC system is used to classify data collected through surveys, such as the Labour Force Survey, which provides detailed information on employment and unemployment in the Canadian labour market. For example, the NOC codes are used to analyze the gender wage gap across occupations
Lightcast currently uses this 2021 version of NOC. The switchover from NOC 2016 to NOC 2021 was enabled in June 2023.