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Standard occupational classification (SOC 2000) and NS-SEC on the labour force survey

The March to May Labour Force Survey (LFS) dataset released on 18 July 2001 contained several new classifications for the first time.

These notes examine two of these; the Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) 2000, which replaced SOC 90, and the National Statistics Socio-economic Classification (NS-SEC), which is now used in place of Social Class (SC) and Socio-economic Group (SEG).

SOC 2000

SOC 2000 was introduced because SOC 90 had become outdated.

The extensive revisions to the SOC included a tighter definition of managerial occupations and the movement of many job titles between major groups to reflect the repositioning of certain jobs.

New occupations have been introduced in the fields of computing, environment and conservation and customer service occupations.

Most of the major groups have been renamed and all have a different composition in terms of job titles compared with their SOC 90 counterparts.

From spring 2001, the LFS classified people's occupations to SOC 2000.

Information about the key differences between this and the previous (SOC 90) classification were published in the July 2001 issue of Labour Market Trends (1.89 Mb Pdf) .

The article was based on data from the LFS summer 2000 quarter that was dual-coded to both SOC 90 and SOC 2000 and on the LFS winter 1996/97 quarter that was recoded to both classifications.

SOC 2000 is available on micro-datasets from the LFS spring 2001 quarter.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) has produced a limited set of historic time series estimates on a SOC 2000 basis to meet users’ needs; these are considered the best available.

These estimates are based on the LFS winter 2000/01 dual-coded quarter, because there is no direct mapping between the two classifications.

The table shows the LFS data for all in employment for spring 2001 at the major group level of the classification.

SOC 2000 - All in employment, 16 and over, UK, Spring 2001

All People Male Female
All in employment* 28,066 15,459 12,607
1. Managers and senior officials 3,834 1,142 2,692
2. Professional occupations 3,337 2,012 1,324
3. Associate professional and technical 3,718 2,012 1,706
4. Admin and secretarial 3,748 789 2,960
5. Skilled trades 3,348 3,071 277
6. Personal services 2,020 311 1,709
7. Sales and customer services 2,188 693 1,495
8. Process, plant and machine operatives 2,400 1,984 416
9. Elementary operations 3,412 1,851 1,561

 * includes people who did not state their occupations


The NS-SEC is an occupationally-based classification designed to categorise the whole adult population.

It is available from the spring 2001 micro-datasets and the summer 2001 LFS quarterly supplement. This concept relied on new questions introduced in the spring quarter and, as such, it is difficult to provide any historic data on a consistent basis.

The version of the classification, which is used for most analyses, has 8 classes, the first of which can be subdivided.

The table presents data from the LFS in these categories.

NS-SEC on the LFS, 16 and over, UK, Spring 2001

The National Statistics Socio-economic Classification NS-NEC category title Numbers in thousands
1 Higher mangerial and professional occupations 4,026
1.1 Larger employers and higher managerial occupations 1,569
1.2 Higher professional occupations 2,457
2 Lower mangerial and professional occupations 8,296
3 Intermediate occupations 4,335
4 Small employers and own account workers 2,898
5 Lower supervisory and technical occupations 3,795
6 Semi-routine occupations 5,663
7 Routine occupations 4,473
8 Long-term unemployed and those who have never worked 13,346


Content from the Office for National Statistics.
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