Extended Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) 2020

The Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) is a coding framework used to classify occupations, enabling comparisons of occupations across different datasets. It assigns all jobs a four-digit code based on the skills and qualifications needed for the job. The Office for National Statistics (ONS) is responsible for maintaining and updating the SOC.

Many Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) users reported that the existing four-digit structure is not detailed enough for their needs.

The extended SOC has addressed this need by creating an additional level of detail within SOC 2020. This level of the classification is termed “Sub Unit Group” (SUG) and is comprised of six digits. An initial version of the extended framework was released for publication in April 2021. Following ongoing development and refinement, a final version of the framework is now available.

This final version increases the number of occupational groups from 412 within the four-digit structure to 1,369 at six digits. To help support use of the framework, ONS have developed supporting materials including:

  • Sub Unit Group descriptions which provide greater clarity about the types of occupation included within each Sub Unit Group and will aid both the automatic and manual matching of data.
  • A version of the SOC 2020 index of job titles, matched to the extended six-digit SOC. This includes over 30K UK job titles now matched to their corresponding six-digit identifier.

The extended SOC framework, supporting materials and more information about the project can be found on the on the ONS website.

You can contact the SOC Extension Team at SOCExt@ons.gov.uk.

Further information relating to SOC 2020 at four digits, including the structure, coding index and unit group descriptions can be accessed via the ONS website.