About the noc

Who uses the National Occupational Classification?

The National Occupational Classification (NOC) is a system for describing the occupations of Canadians. It gives statisticians, labour market analysts, career counsellors, employers, and individual job seekers a standardized way of describing and understanding the nature of work. Each group uses the NOC for various reasons:

  • Economists and statisticians, to guide the collection and compilation of data.
  • Labour market researchers, to understand the underpinnings of the statistics they use.
  • Government analysts, to guide policy decisions, to develop systems for training, for recruiting and job matching, to allocate spending for labour market programs, and for immigration selection procedures.
  • Educational counsellors and students, for career planning and exploration purposes.
  • Job seekers, employment counsellors, and employers, to make effective use of labour market information services.

How can I learn more about the National Occupational Classification?

A National Occupational Classification tutorial is available online for individuals who wish to develop an understanding of the classification system. This tutorial is self-directed and allows individuals to study specific parts of the NOC.

About the noc unit group

Why can't I find my job title in the National Occupation Classification?

The National Occupational Classification (NOC) contains about 30,000 job titles in each of Canada’s official languages. While the listing in the Index is not meant to be exhaustive, it does provide extensive coverage of commonly used and understood titles in the economy and of more specific titles found in many occupational areas.

The list is updated on an ongoing basis to add emerging job titles and remove obsolete ones. Still, many job titles used everyday in the labour market are not included in the list of job titles found in the NOC. Here are a few reasons why:

  • The job title is very specific and not used often enough to be added to the list. Instead, a more generic job title, which encompasses these very specific job titles, is used. For instance, in unit group 4011 – University professors and lecturers, there are currently 117 different job titles. Yet, many existing job titles are not included because they are too specific and they can be linked to a more generic one. This is the case for the job title “biology professor – university” which is used in the NOC to capture all job titles associated with distinct biology teachers such as all microbiology teachers and their subspecialties (molecular virology, molecular biology, immunology, genetics, etc.).
  • The job title is fairly recent and more analysis is required before including it in the list of job titles.

Why is my occupation combined with other occupations?

One of the objectives of the National Occupational Classification (NOC) is to provide a system to describe and organize occupations in Canada for data collection and data analysis purposes. As such, when the NOC was first developed and during each revision since then, several factors where taken into account to define each unit group found within the NOC. A given unit group may represent one or more occupations according to the following criteria:

  • Broad occupational category;
  • Skill level;
  • Main duties;
  • Employment requirements and;
  • Education level in the occupation(s) considered.

Basically, occupations in the same broad occupational category and skill level and that have very similar duties and employment requirements will tend to be combined together. This is notably the case for all university professors and lecturers (associated with NOC code 4011) and all specialist physicians (associated with NOC code 3111).

In some instances however, even after combining several occupations together, the number of workers in the unit group is still too low. As a result, occupations found under the same broad occupational category and skill level but with different duties and/or different employment requirements, such as air pilots, flight engineers, and flying instructors (associated with NOC code 2271) can be combined together into one unit group.