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International Standard Classification of Occupations

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The International Standard Classification of Occupations (ISCO) is an International Labour Organization (ILO) classification structure for organizing information on labour and jobs. It is part of the international family of economic and social classifications of the United Nations.[1] The current version, known as ISCO-08, was published in 2008 and is the fourth iteration, following ISCO-58, ISCO-68 and ISCO-88.

The ILO describes the purpose of the ISCO classification as:[2]

a tool for organizing jobs into a clearly defined set of groups according to the tasks and duties undertaken in the job. It is intended for use in statistical applications and in a variety of client oriented applications. Client oriented applications include the matching of job seekers with job vacancies, the management of short or long term migration of workers between countries and the development of vocational training programmes and guidance.

The ISCO is the basis for many national occupation classifications as well as applications in specific domains such as reporting of teaching, agricultural and healthcare workforce information.[3] The ISCO-08 revision is expected to be the standard for labour information worldwide in the coming decade, for instance as applied to incoming data from the 2010 Global Round of National Population Censuses.[4][5]

The ISCO-08 structure

The ISCO-08 divides jobs into 10 major groups:

  1. Managers
  2. Professional
  3. Technicians and associate professionals
  4. Clerical support workers
  5. Service and sales workers
  6. Skilled agricultural, forestry and fishery workers
  7. Craft related trades workers
  8. Plant and machine operators, and assemblers
  9. Elementary occupations
  10. Armed forces occupations

Each major group is further organized into sub-major, minor and unit (not shown) groups. The basic criteria used to define the system are the skill level and specialization required to competently perform the tasks and duties of the occupations.[6]

Major group 1


  • 11 Chief executives, senior officials and legislators
    • 111 Legislators and senior officials
    • 112 Managing directors and chief executives
  • 12 Administrative and commercial managers
    • 121 Business services and administration managers
    • 122 Sales, marketing and development managers
  • 13 Production and specialized services managers
    • 131 Production managers in agriculture, forestry and fisheries
    • 132 Manufacturing, mining, construction, and distribution managers
    • 133 Information and communications technology service managers
    • 134 Professional services managers
  • 14 Hospitality, retail and other services managers
    • 141 Hotel and restaurant managers
    • 142 Retail and wholesale trade managers
    • 143 Other services managers

Major group 2


Major group 3

Technicians and associate professionals

  • 31 Science and engineering associate professionals
    • 311 Physical and engineering science technicians
    • 312 Mining, manufacturing and construction supervisors
    • 313 Process control technicians
    • 314 Life science technicians and related associate professionals
    • 315 Ship and aircraft controllers and technicians
  • 32 Health associate professionals
  • 33 Business and administration associate professionals
    • 331 Financial and mathematical associate professionals
    • 332 Sales and purchasing agents and brokers
    • 333 Business services agents
    • 334 Administrative and specialized secretaries
    • 335 Regulatory government associate professionals
  • 34 Legal, social, cultural and related associate professionals
    • 341 Legal, social and religious associate professionals
    • 342 Sports and fitness workers
    • 343 Artistic, cultural and culinary associate professionals
  • 35 Information and communications technicians
    • 351 Information and communications technology operations and user support technicians
    • 352 Telecommunications and broadcasting technicians

Major group 4

Clerical support workers

  • 41 General and keyboard clerks
    • 411 General office clerks
    • 412 Secretaries (general)
    • 413 Keyboard operators
  • 42 Customer services clerks
    • 421 Tellers, money collectors and related clerks
    • 422 Client information workers
  • 43 Numerical and material recording clerks
    • 431 Numerical clerks
    • 432 Material-recording and transport clerks
  • 44 Other clerical support workers
    • 441 Other clerical support workers

Major group 5

Service and sales workers

  • 51 Personal service workers
    • 511 Travel attendants, conductors and guides
    • 512 Cooks
    • 513 Waiters and bartenders
    • 514 Hairdressers, beauticians and related workers
    • 515 Building and housekeeping supervisors
    • 516 Other personal services workers
  • 52 Sales workers
    • 521 Street and market salespersons
    • 522 Shop salespersons
    • 523 Cashiers and ticket clerks
    • 524 Other sales workers
  • 53 Personal care workers
  • 54 Protective services workers
    • 541 Protective services workers

Major group 6

Skilled agricultural, forestry and fishery workers

  • 61 Market-oriented skilled agricultural workers
    • 611 Market gardeners and crop growers
    • 612 Animal producers
    • 613 Mixed crop and animal producers
  • 62 Market-oriented skilled forestry, fishery and hunting workers
    • 621 Forestry and related workers
    • 622 Fishery workers, hunters and trappers
  • 63 Subsistence farmers, fishers, hunters and gatherers
    • 631 Subsistence crop farmers
    • 632 Subsistence livestock farmers
    • 633 Subsistence mixed crop and livestock farmers
    • 634 Subsistence fishers, hunters, trappers and gatherers

Major group 7

Craft and related trades workers

  • 71 Building and related trades workers, excluding electricians
    • 711 Building frame and related trades workers
    • 712 Building finishers and related trades workers
    • 713 Painters, building structure cleaners and related trades workers
  • 72 Metal, machinery and related trades workers
    • 721 Sheet and structural metal workers, moulders and welders, and related workers
    • 722 Blacksmiths, toolmakers and related trades workers
    • 723 Machinery mechanics and repairers
  • 73 Handicraft and printing workers
    • 731 Handicraft workers
    • 732 Printing trades workers
  • 74 Electrical and electronic trades workers
    • 741 Electrical equipment installers and repairers
    • 742 Electronics and telecommunications installers and repairers
  • 75 Food processing, wood working, garment and other craft and related trades workers
    • 751 Food processing and related trades workers
    • 752 Wood treaters, cabinet-makers and related trades workers
    • 753 Garment and related trades workers
    • 754 Other craft and related workers

Major group 8

Plant and machine operators and assemblers

  • 81 Stationary plant and machine operators
    • 811 Mining and mineral processing plant operators
    • 812 Metal processing and finishing plant operators
    • 813 Chemical and photographic products plant and machine operators
    • 814 Rubber, plastic and paper products machine operators
    • 815 Textile, fur and leather products machine operators
    • 816 Food and related products machine operators
    • 817 Wood processing and papermaking plant operators
    • 818 Other stationary plant and machine operators
  • 82 Assemblers
    • 821 Assemblers
  • 83 Drivers and mobile plant operators
    • 831 Locomotive engine drivers and related workers
    • 832 Car, van and motorcycle drivers
    • 833 Heavy truck and bus drivers
    • 834 Mobile plant operators
    • 835 Ships' deck crews and related workers

Major group 9

Elementary occupations

  • 91 Cleaners and helpers
    • 911 Domestic, hotel and office cleaners and helpers
    • 912 Vehicle, window, laundry and other hand cleaning workers
  • 92 Agricultural, forestry and fishery labourers
    • 921 Agricultural, forestry and fishery labourers
  • 93 Labourers in mining, construction, manufacturing and transport
    • 931 Mining and construction labourers
    • 932 Manufacturing labourers
    • 933 Transport and storage labourers
  • 94 Food preparation assistants
    • 941 Food preparation assistants
  • 95 Street and related sales and service workers
    • 951 Street and related service workers
    • 952 Street vendors (excluding food)
  • 96 Refuse workers and other elementary workers
    • 961 Refuse workers
    • 962 Other elementary workers

Major group 10

Armed forces occupations

  • 101 Commissioned armed forces officers
    • 1011 Commissioned armed forces officers
  • 102 Non-commissioned armed forces officers
    • 1021 Non-commissioned armed forces officers
  • 103 Armed forces occupations, other ranks
    • 1031 Armed forces occupations, other ranks

See also


  1. ^ United Nations Statistics Division. List of international family of economic and social classifications, retrieved 29 March 2011.
  2. ^ International Labour Organization. International Standard Classification of Occupations, retrieved 29 March 2011.
  3. ^ World Health Organization. Classifying health workers: Mapping occupations to the international standard classification, retrieved 29 March 2011.
  4. ^ Hunter D et al. 2009. "Boundaries of the health workforce: definition and classifications of health workers." In: Handbook on monitoring and evaluation of human resources for health. Geneva, World Health Organization.
  5. ^ United Nations Statistics Division. 2010 World Population and Housing Census Programme, retrieved 29 March 2011.
  6. ^ International Labour Organization. Resolution Concerning Updating the International Standard Classification of Occupations. Adopted at the Tripartite Meeting of Experts on Labour Statistics, 6 December 2007.

Further reading

  • ISCO official website of the ILO.
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International Standard Classification of Occupations
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