Mnemonic: ns_sec
Applicability: Person
Type: Derived variable


The National Statistics Socio-economic Classification (NS-SEC) indicates a person's socio-economic position based on their occupation and other job characteristics.

It is an Office for National Statistics standard classification. NS-SEC categories are assigned based on a person's occupation, whether employed, self-employed, or supervising other employees.

Full-time students are recorded in the "full-time students" category regardless of whether they are economically active.


Total number of categories: 10

Code Name
1 L1, L2 and L3: Higher managerial, administrative and professional occupations
2 L4, L5 and L6: Lower managerial, administrative and professional occupations
3 L7: Intermediate occupations
4 L8 and L9: Small employers and own account workers
5 L10 and L11: Lower supervisory and technical occupations
6 L12: Semi-routine occupations
7 L13: Routine occupations
8 L14.1 and L14.2: Never worked and long-term unemployed
9 L15: Full-time students
-8 Does not apply*

*Students and schoolchildren living away during term-time, and children aged 15 years and under.

View all National Statistics Socio-economic Classification (NS-SEC) classifications.

Quality information

As Census 2021 was during a unique period of rapid change, take care when using Labour Market data for planning purposes.

Read more in our Labour market quality information for Census 2021 methodology.


Read about how we developed and tested the questions for Census 2021.

Comparability with the 2011 Census

Not comparable

This variable is derived from the occupation variable. It cannot be compared with the one from the 2011 Census because the classifications in the occupation variable have changed.

What does not comparable mean?

A variable that is not comparable means that it cannot be compared with a variable from the 2011 Census.

England, Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland comparisons

Highly comparable

What does highly comparable mean?

A variable that is highly comparable means that it can be directly compared with the variable from Scotland and Northern Ireland. The questions and options that people could choose from may be slightly different, for example the order of the options may be swapped around, but the data collected is the same.

Find out more about variables produced for Census 2021 in Northern Ireland and Census 2022 in Scotland.

Census 2021 data that uses this variable

We use variables from Census 2021 data to show findings in different ways.

You can:

Alternatively, you can also create a custom dataset.

Other datasets that use this variable