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Updates to Canada NOC coding in job postings
Updates to Canada NOC coding in job postings

The way that Lightcast encodes job postings to NOC occupation categories in Canada is changing.

Updated over a week ago

We recently launched the Lightcast Occupation Taxonomy, but to further improve the way clients can use our postings data we are also updating the Canadian National Occupational Category (NOC) coding from the current 2016 version to the newly released 2021 version. This upgrade brings with it some improvements in how the taxonomy is built, but also how we encode postings data to it.

The 2016 version of the NOC taxonomy was a four-level hierarchical taxonomy – it used codes to divide occupations into four levels: major groups (one digit), minor groups (two digit), broad occupations (three digit), and detailed occupations (four digit). In the 2021 version, greater granularity has been incorporated into the hierarchy with a new level. The five-level hierarchy is arranged as follows: 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).

Improved taxonomy – Greater granularity

There are 516 Unit groups (or detailed occupation) concepts in the NOC 2021 taxonomy – an increase from 500 in the 2016 taxonomy. This increase in granularity reflects some occupations that have been split out from previously combined concepts.

One example of this is the 2016 four-digit concept “Home support workers, housekeepers and related occupations”. This concept included home support workers but also light duty domestic cleaners, two quite different occupations. Analysts were previously required to separate these concepts manually using job title. This concept has been split in the 2021 taxonomy, with “Light duty cleaners” being moved to a new separate concept. Lightcast data is reflecting this shift – the most common titles in the 2021 “Home support workers” occupation are “Live-in caregiver”, “Family care giver” and “Home health aide”, very different from the top titles in the 2021 “Light duty cleaners” occupation: “Housekeeping attendant” and “House cleaner”.

Improved classification of postings – Greater recall and accuracy

Lightcast is changing the way that we code postings to occupation concept for Canada NOC. Previously coding was achieved by direct mapping, which resulted in some codes being under-represented in data. With the launch of NOC 2021 we are also improving our classifier systems, using a machine learning model specifically trained with Canada job postings. This means codes that were previously under-represented will now be more accurately represented within postings data.

Examples of codes that were previously under-represented in Lightcast data include:

  • “Cable television service and maintenance technicians” which in the 2021 taxonomy has been split into two occupations: “Telecommunications line and cable installers and repairers” (which has job titles such as “Cable installer” and “Cable technician”, and “Telecommunications equipment installation and cable television service technicians” (with job titles such as “Telecommunications technician”).

  • The occupation “Customer and information services supervisors” (which remains unchanged in the updated 2021 taxonomy) was not represented at all in the Lightcast data previously. This concept is now populated with postings with titles such as “Customer Service Manager”, “Customer Success Manager”, and “Customer Service Coordinator”.

  • Another occupation unchanged in the taxonomy upgrade but previously unrepresented in Lightcast data is “Geological engineers”. With the classification improvements this concept is now populated with postings with titles such as “Geotechnical Engineer”, “Field Engineer (Geotechnical, Geological)” and “Geotechnical Design Engineer”.

  • The occupation “Employment counsellors” was previously underrepresented in Lightcast data, but with improvements to the classification system, the equivalent 2021 occupation “Career development practitioners and career counsellors (except education)” now has good representation in the data, with top titles such as “Employment Counsellor” and “Career Coach”.

Improved behind-the-scenes classification systems

Coding to Lightcast Occupation Taxonomy and the Canadian NOC will now be made by the same classifier system, so consistency between the two taxonomies is guaranteed. Furthermore, the upgrades to our systems for coding postings to occupations also include better ways to fix coding errors as they occur. Miscodes can be identified and corrected when required, meaning that continuous improvements to the data are possible. Such improvements will be made to both NOC and Lightcast Occupations coding simultaneously.

Consolidation of Senior Manager codes

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.

Read more here.

More details on the Canada NOC 2021 taxonomy here:

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