Standard Occupational Classification: SOC 2020 is based upon the same classification principles as the 2008 version of its international equivalent ISCO-081. This is the classification used by most countries when reporting occupational statistics to the United Nations Statistics Division. It is also the common standard adopted by Eurostat, the Statistical Office of the European Union, for reporting. As such, it is important that occupational statistics from the UK can be reclassified from SOC 2020 to ISCO-08.

There is no simple mapping from SOC 2020 to ISCO-08, even at the most detailed (unit group) level of the classification. Many job titles classified to a single unit group within SOC 2020 are split across two or more unit groups in ISCO-08. Similarly, some job titles classified within one unit group of ISCO-08 are found in different unit groups of SOC 2020. Therefore, for SOC 2010 a mapping was produced by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) at the unit group level only2.

Further investigations were conducted by the Warwick Institute of Employment Research (IER)3 to determine how severe these classification problems were. They indicated the best approach was to map the two classifications at the level of job titles, and the index of job titles in SOC 2010 was dual coded to both classifications by IER.

In the process of revising SOC 2010 to SOC 2020, the existing index of job titles in SOC 2010 was coded to SOC 2020 in order that the ISCO-08 code attached to the SOC 2010 index entry would be associated with the SOC 2020 index entry.

New job titles added to the SOC 2020 index needed to be coded to ISCO-08. This was done with the assistance of Computer Assisted Structured Coding Tool4 (CASCOT), a software program that codes occupational text information. The new job titles in the SOC 2020 coding index5 were input into CASCOT and the ISCO-08 classification file used to code them. If the job title matched very closely to an existing entry in the ISCO-08 classification file, then this ISCO-08 code was assigned. Where there was no close match to an existing index entry then the other jobs in the SOC 2020 unit group were assessed to see which ISCO-08 code they had been given and these rules followed for the new entry.

On completion of this work, the entire SOC 2020 index of job titles was recoded in CASCOT to ISCO-08 to ensure consistency and to remove any clerical errors.

Further information on the mapping of SOC 2010 to ISCO-08 can be provided by the IER. Please contact


  1. ISCO-08
  2. SOC 2010 to ISCO-08 mapping (XLS, 2.69MB)
  3. IER
  4. Computer Assisted Structured Coding Tool
  5. SOC 2020 volume 2: the coding index