Skip to main content
All CollectionsData MethodologyTaxonomiesOccupation Taxonomies
UK Standard Occupational Classification (UKSOC) - 2020
UK Standard Occupational Classification (UKSOC) - 2020

SOC is the national occupation taxonomy of the UK

Updated over a week ago

The UK Standard Occupational Classification (UKSOC) system is a hierarchical system developed by the United Kingdom Office for National Statistics (ONS) to classify and categorize occupations in the UK.

The taxonomy's hierarchy

The 2020 UKSOC system has four hierarchical levels that increase in detail and specificity. At the top level, major group, there are nine major groups. At the second level, major groups are broken down into 26 sub-major groups. At the third level, there are 104 minor groups. At the fourth level, there are 412 unit groups.

The hierarchy of the taxonomy is Major Group (1 digit) > Sub-major group (2 digit) > Minor group (3 digit) > Unit Group (4 digit).

Some examples of occupations in the SOC system include:

  • Major group: Managers and directors

  • Sub-major group: Business, research, and administrative professionals

  • Minor group: Business, finance and related associate professionals

  • Unit group: Actuaries, economists and statisticians

How the taxonomy was developed

The UKSOC system was first developed in 1990 and has undergone several revisions since then, with the most recent version being UKSOC 2020. The development process involved extensive consultation with stakeholders, including employers, trade unions, professional bodies, and government agencies. The ONS also took into account changes in the UK labor market and the need to keep the taxonomy up-to-date with new and emerging occupations.

How it relates to the ISCO taxonomy

The UKSOC system is based on the International Standard Classification of Occupations (ISCO), which is a global taxonomy developed by the International Labour Organization (ILO). The UKSOC system uses the same four-level structure as ISCO-08, with the exception of additional levels of detail provided within the ESCO taxonomy. See more here.

The UKSOC system includes unit groups specific to the UK labor market, such as detailed occupational classifications for health and social care occupations, which are not included in the ISCO taxonomy.

What the taxonomy is used for

Employers, policymakers, educators, and researchers all use UKSOC data to make informed decisions about workforce development, job training programs, and labor market policy. The UKSOC system is also used by government agencies to monitor and evaluate the effectiveness of their policies and programs.

What types of data the UK Office for National Statistics publishes for these occupations:

The ONS publishes a wide variety of data for occupations classified under the UKSOC system, including employment and wage statistics, occupational projections, and job opening and labor turnover data. This information is available on the ONS website ( and is regularly updated to reflect changes in the labor market. Additionally, the UKSOC 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 UK. For example, the ONS uses UKSOC codes to analyze the gender pay gap across occupations and industries in the UK labor market.
More details are available here:

Did this answer your question?